Good hoof supplement and hoof care suggestions?
I'm looking for a good hoof supplement for a 8 yo draft cross mare. She's barefoot and has a history with cracked hooves. We'd like to keep her barefoot, though we could put shoes on her if she really needs them. She's in light work, not even jumping right now.
For the hoof supplement I need something that can help get her hooves into good condition and keep it that way, but won't cost me a million dollars. :P
She has hooves the size of dinner plates, but no confirmation faults that cause extra pressure on her hooves as I know of.
I have a Percheron, who had giant and small cracks, and just bad feet. I have his feet trimmed, by someone who specializes in drafts every 6 weeks. My Percheron is barefoot and at this time the farrier sees no need for shoes (I ride him in fields, some paved and dirt roads and woods). I also feed him Smartpak Smarthoof and 1/2 cup of flax seed daily and have been doing this since October.
The farrier trimmed him last night and is shocked at home much his feet have improved in the last few months. Cracks are going, if not gone and his hoof walls and frog have become much thicker and healthier.
Her 'history of cracks' could be nutritional, could be diet, could be mechanical or environmental. Or - likely - a combination of those factors. Diet & nutrition are vital factors in hoof health though, so I do think a supplement is generally a good idea.
If the horse's diet is well balanced & healthy, then it's hooves will be too. This of course depends on the diet, as to what supps may or may not be desirable, so I'd be looking at a 'complete' type nutritional supp that fits her diet, rather than a hoof specific one, unless you find on analysis that the 'holes' in her diet are specifically supplied in the hoof stuff. Feedxl.com is one great resource for working out nutrition.
Anything with Biotin is great for hooves
Thank you all for the replies. Sadly the mare i had planned on co-owning is not being sold and has moved.
I will rememeber this for future reference though! Thanks!!
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When I first got my horse, his feet were AWFUL! He had been shod since he was a 2 year old, but I guess his previous owner decided she was done paying for shoes and abruptly had them taken off without any transition. He had thin, weak hoof walls, he was prone to thrush and abscesses, the walls always chipped and cracked, his soles were thin and tender... it was just bad.
I decided to take action against the issues by switching him to a low sugar, low starch grain, and adding a multi-purpose supplement with ingredients that benefit his hooves like biotin and Flax. That, and I found a fantastic farrier. I give him a lot of credit for the shape Riley's hooves are in now. He treats each horse individually, he doesn't trim them all in the same cookie cutter way. He knows what Riley's weaknesses are in his hooves and how to keep them balanced. He has corrected a lot, if not all of his issues. Riley's hooves look so great. No weird angles, no tenderness, they barely even chip anymore.
So, the moral to the story is, find a great farrier who can diagnose and treat your horse's hooves as an individual case, ask them explain things to you, give you advice... You will know if your farrier is worth his weight in horseshoes if he can give you honest, insightful answers. Also, balance your horse's diet. Add things that are good for hooves, cut back on the sugar. Just do some reading and make your decisions based on what sounds best for your horse. As we all know, each one is unique!
Good luck, hope my rambling helped! :)
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