Custom Search
Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Does your overweight horse have hooves that are 'starving'?

Lower half free access to grazing and overweight,
upper half same grazing but muzzled and correct weight

Hard to see, but hoof has 'dessicated' texture,
 horse overweight

Dessicated hoof has split (outer hoof wall only).
New growth - horse correct weight is coming in much

Solar view of split hoof above, pre trim,
you can see crack is outer hoof only

I freely admit some uses of the English language freak me out a little. One of which is 'you need to get after him' - more of which in a future post, and another is: 'I don't feed any supplements in the summer, he is out on the grass.' This latter phrase, in tandem with the to my mind somewhat romantic notion that horses (in the UK) can get what they need from their environment can lead to problems.

The hooves above are attached to horses belonging to the very best type of carers. Dedicated to the welfare of their companions and prepared to research and investigate how to optimise their health. Both horses are 'metabolically challenged' - so are more difficult than the average horse to look after.  So all credit to the carers for putting in the extra effort it takes to look after them.

Unfortunately both horses got a bit on the round side. It happens. Most of the time the results are no more than a bit of porkiness and a shortness of breath. But with horses there are times when the outcome is a bit more unfortunate.

As you know long term overweight in a horse can lead to Insulin Resistance and Laminitis (2/3 lami cases are linked to obesity). But what doesn't seem to be recorded in any data I have found is any material on the fat but 'starving' horse.

There is growing awareness, but it is still low, that in the UK our forage tends to be short of copper, zinc and magnesium. So if your porker is reliant on forage alone they may well be short of these vital minerals.

The hooves above have succumbed to fungal infections which have damaged the outer hoof walls. This happened when they were overweight and reliant on grazing alone. Put on a diet and given a modest amount of supplementation and you can see the hooves are improving.

It's early days for one of the hooves, but although it will take a few months for the cracks to grow out, the quality of the new horn is good.

So keep an eye on the texture of your horse's hooves. Dry and crumbly or dessicated coconut hooves don't really need hoof dressings*, but they probably do need 'feeding', with a correct mineral balance not more sugar.

*Which unless carefully chosen can make the type of fungal infections seen in these hooves worse

1 comment:

Laura Lee said...

Here in NW US we have some copper and selenium deficiencies, and some of the vets still don't use that info while diagnosing some skin/mane/hoof problems! Thank you for your insightful blogs :o)

About Me

My photo
Southern England, United Kingdom