Originally Posted by trailhorserider View Post
I have utmost respect for you and you obviously have tons of experience (I assume you are a professional farrier).
Thanks and yep, I am.
So I hope you don't mind me remarking on your above post. I love discussing feet!
Nope, don't mind.
I would argue that the hoof supplements /better nutrition/ what have you, is for the future hoof growth. It may take a year, but it should have positive effects on hoof quality. Obviously nothing fed now will effect the cracks that are already there.
It's a valid argument but probably doesn't apply in the original posters case. The feet as presented in the photos appear to suffer more from environmental and hoofcare issues than dietary.
I agree the horse needs more frequent trims to keep the hoof quality from deteriorating while the (hopefully) stronger hoof wall grows down, and that is the main factor in improving these feet.
It was someone else who suggested more frequent trims. I suggested a more appropriate trim. It is extremely rare for me to encounter a horse that needs hoofcare maintenance with greater frequency than 6 week intervals. Most such cases are therapeutic.
I think the point you were trying to make is that proper hoof care alone should correct these hooves, and that it likely isn't a nutritional problem, correct?
The point I was making was that the horses feet lack proper hoof care and that a correct trim would probably clean them up nicely. I can't speak to any nutritional needs the horse may have other than to say the condition of the feet is less due to diet and more due to environment and hoof care.
That is a lovely, lovely shoe and trim job by the way. If I had access to a quality farrier like you I would likely not be doing barefoot!
Thanks. Horses need what they need... sometimes shoes, sometime not. If you can't find someone to provide a proper shoeing, the horse is likely better off barefoot.
You know what I have always wondered and it is probably the subject for a separate post, but does high protein hay (such as alfalfa) promote better quality hooves? I am thinking it does.
If feeding high protein forage/feeds created good quality hooves I wouldn't have to shoe so many thoroughbreds. Some of the toughest, thick walled feet I work on belong to arabs, morgans and halflingers living on scrub in poorly managed pastures.
Press me to prioritize and I'd guess genetics first, then environment followed by hoofcare and diet.
I have only owned a few horses, but out here in Arizona we feed mainly alfalfa, and all the alfalfa fed horses have strong feet. That doesn't mean they are always perfectly healthy feet, they can still have issues, but in general cracking and breaking up isn't one of them. In other words, the horn quality is very tough. (I have never seen hooves that look like the OP's). Do you think alfalfa promotes hoof quality? Or do you have an experience with it?
I can walk into any large barn and pick out 20 horses. They all eat about the same thing, live in the same environment and often have the same 1 or 2 farriers taking care of their hoof care needs. I'll see everything from thin walled, flat footed horses that couldn't walk a gravel drive if their life depended on it to other horses that could lope across broken glass and rusty nails with no ill effect.
Guess the point is, they're all different even if feed, farrier and environment are the same. I can feed high protein to a thin walled tbred and a year later he'll still have thin walls. Feed it to another horse and a year later things seem improved. Biologic organisms, even within the same species, present and manifest different metabolic characteristics. Some horses appear more resistant to capsule distortion while another will present elongated, boxy feet and still another will flare at the quarters no matter what you do.
I try to avoid dietary recommendations. I'm not a vet, a nutritionist or even particularly savvy in specific metabolic conversion of dietary intake into specific aspects of hoof growth. I simply observe too much variation within an equine group that subsists on similar diet to explain a consistent relationship. What I do know is that some horses appear genetically predisposed to certain problems; environment and use can produce consistent results (often pathology) and that proper hoof care will assist in compensating for whatever challenges the horse may face to meet the performance expectations of their owners.
I could sit and talk all day with the OP about her horses diet but it would probably be better if I just invested 30 minutes and cleaned up those feet. Waiting a year to see if a dietary change would help seems unnecessary from my perspective. Most of my clients prefer improvement about the same time they write the check.