With the warmer weather on the near horizon it is important to assess the different challenges each season brings to horse ownership. The drier, summer weather can result in a reduction in hoof health causing issues such as lost shoes, damaged and cracked, split feet becoming more common. What's more the rain-shine climate of the UK can often cause additional problems causing the hoof capsule to swell and absorb water, only then to dry out and change shape again. Hoof health is vital to the health, happiness and performance of all horses and ponies so in our latest blog Scientific Nutritional Products takes a look at optimising hoof health in the summer months.
Top Tips for Summer Hoof Health from Scientific Nutritional Products
1.) Pick out your horse's feet. This might sound pretty basic, but it gives your horse a head start on healthy hooves and gives owners a chance to take early action on many common hoof problems such as thrush, removing any stones and assessing for heat, digital pulse or any signs of a puncture or abscess.
2.) Arrange your farrier or trimmer to visit on a schedule which suits your horse's needs! Although six to eight weeks is the average, there is no set interval for when to trim and shoe. If your farrier is correcting for a problem such as under-run heels, a club foot, or flare in the hoof wall, your horse may benefit from a shorter interval. Some people find their equines benefit from a shorter period between shoeing, such as every four to five weeks in the summer but this is something which you should discuss with your hoof professional and the time between trims should be altered accordingly to suit your equine throughout the year.
3.) Try and avoid excess wet-to-dry hoof changes. Your horse's hooves can adapt well over time to conditions that are either consistently dry, or consistently damp, but the hoof can suffer when the environment fluctuates between wet and dry. Unfortunately, this is often the situation during late spring, summer, and early autumn. For example; turning out in the early evening onto dew-soaked grass will result in the hooves responding to moisture and swelling and softening, only then to be followed by stabling in a hot and dry environment during the day causing the hoof to shrink and contract! These changes in climate can damage the integrity of the hoof as well as loosening nails but horse owners can limit this potentially damaging process by avoiding turn out on wet pasture, limiting baths during summer time, and using recommended topical applications on the hoof!
With all these factors considered it is crucial to recognise that there is nothing more important when considering hoof health than the diet. Our horses, just like us, really are 'what they eat' and it is essential to ensure the horse’s diet is rich in fibre by feeding high levels of hay and grass. During periods of lush grass growth it is necessary to monitor exposure to rich pasture, so that your horse or pony is not subject to excessively high levels of sugar, but by balancing the right nutritional support with key external applications horse owners can ensure that hooves, and therefore our equines, stay strong and flexible whatever the summer weather has in store for us!
A balanced diet containing the required levels of carbohydrate, protein, fat and vitamins and minerals is essential to provide optimum hoof health, try feeding a Hoof Supplement. Hoof Supplements like Robust Hoof Supplement from Scientific Nutritional Products including key ingredients such as Biotin, Lysine, Methionine, Zinc and MSM provide the building blocks to healthy hooves.
Let's take a look at the key ingredients found in Hoof Supplements...
Horse Biotin Biotin is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin vital for the production of keratin, a special hard type of protein that helps form the hoof wall.
MSM MSM is a naturally occurring form of bioavailable sulphur, often deficient in feedstuff's. It is an essential component of connective tissue, the proteins which make up muscle, joints, skin, hair, hoof horn and keratin. Many people who use MSM themselves report that their fingernails grow faster and are less brittle. MSM has the same effect on the horses hoof.
Methionine & Lysine Proteins are made up of amino acids. Most amino acids can be synthesized by the body but methionine and lysine must be provided in the diet. These are vital building blocks in the construction of the hoof.
Zinc, Copper & Manganese These trace minerals are essential for the proper functioning of many enzyme systems. They play a part in the formation of keratin and collagen which are vital for sustaining healthy skin, hair, cartilage, bone and hooves.
For more information about Robust Hoof Supplement or any of the beneficial equine supplements available from Scientific Nutritional Products visit the website www.horsesupplementsdirect.co.uk or Tel: 01377 254 900 or 0800 032 7774