Nutrition is the Foundation of a Healthy Hoof

This is a Thoroughbreds’ hooves with Laminitic Inflammation and fever rings making them very distorted. (Phil Thommen)

By Philip Thommen

We have all heard the expression, you might be what you eat. Similarly, inform me the way you spend your cash, and I’ll know your priorities. As a farrier for over 40 years, I’ve seen the hooves of horses in all types of situations. Some good, many not. It is the outdated what goes in, is what comes out or rubbish in, rubbish out. Unfortunately, that is what has occurred to the horse feed business. The high quality of the feed performs a crucial issue within the situation and points that we have now right this moment with horses’ ft. 

A private expertise that greatest illustrates my level occurred a number of years in the past at a big equestrian barn the place I offered farrier providers. I used to be shocked when a horse that I had shod simply two weeks prior walked by and I seen the blown-out ft (Laminitic trying). I finished what I used to be doing and requested the proprietor, what occurred to your horse’s ft? She remarked that she hadn’t actually paid consideration however agreed it does seem like she must be re-shod. I requested if something had lately modified to trigger such distortion to the hooves. The proprietor initially stated no, however later got here again and stated, a few month in the past the farm had modified their feed program. 

If we’re going to successfully handle the problem of horse well being, diet is on the root of the problem. It is the one factor all of them have in widespread. Since the nineties we have now had a consolidation of feed mills within the business, producing many feeds with the identical substances underneath many alternative labels. That is one other story. But it is only one variable of day by day or month-to-month merchandise that the horse’s physique is subjected to. I imagine easy is greatest – high quality grain minus all of the adverse by-products that present the filler. 

Foundered Standardbred hooves. 

The horse is exclusive amongst different species that its hooves are very inclined (the recipient) to the trauma that takes place within the horse’s physique. If we don’t have a sound basis to construct on, our efforts will probably be futile leading to a steady cycle of poor well being situations. This is reflective of what we’re experiencing right this moment. I acknowledge the frustration and the sense all of us have in regards to the present well being situation of our horses. Until we get to the basis trigger we are going to proceed to solely nibble across the edges of what are the actual points. Nutrition is A # 1

Let us discover this slightly additional with one other nice instance of how vital hoof administration and remedy are to the general well-being of horses and people too. 

I personally prescribed to the practices of Doug Butler who wrote Horse Shoeing Principles. In my thoughts it’s like a home with a nasty basis: all of the doorways and home windows will sag, come out of alignment, and in the end not work correctly. 

Foundation: an underlying base or help; a physique or floor upon which one thing is constructed up or overlaid.

Inflammation from the horse’s physique travels to the decrease limbs, to the hoof capsule or the horse’s hoof being the recipient of all of it. This isn’t new; we have now all learn the tales of Black Beauty foundering after the lengthy anxious carriage journey or Flicka after being attacked by the lion. 

I had the uncommon alternative whereas in England to go to a veterinary faculty museum on the evolution of the horse. I noticed rudimentary options from centuries in the past that had been apparently very efficient to fight trauma to the hoof. Previously we may do extra with sport horses and heavy metal sneakers modified with the forge. We at the moment are seeing shoeing producers creating aluminum sneakers like that which can be utilized in racing to assist defend our horses. Kudos to them and their perception. 

Here a number of points happening. The hooves are Laminitic, you’ll be able to see the imbalance

Inflammation might be the important thing consider managing soundness. We see that in ourselves as we grow old. The child that grows up on quick meals, could expertise “early-stage arthritis” Eating wholesome is the answer or purported to be. Unfortunately for the horse the delicate hoof constructions will break down, which maintain all the pieces in tack. The fever rings, the toes rising however not the heels. The frustration for the farrier is managing the dropping of the only real, the place the only real is rising sooner or over-taking the expansion of the hoof wall. The outer hoof wall is paramount to soundness. The horse should stroll on that and never the only real. 

Here you’ve gotten a Laminitic horse’s hoof additionally abscessing concurrently.

The parallel right here for a horse’s hoof is that and not using a wholesome outer hoof wall the only real will drop. If this occurs the horse is strolling on the only real of the foot. Consequently, the only real is urgent on the shoe, that’s putting strain on the leg, and can finally lead to lameness. Extend this case over the course of time and the ramifications play out throughout your complete skeleton and muscular methods of the horse. Each system is coordinated to work in an built-in method and when not aligned, we have now a system uncontrolled. The alignment begins on the backside of our basis – the ft. The crucial ingredient to maintain the system aligned is thru good diet and hoof care (e.g., trimming and shoeing frequently).

You can see how the interior construction has pulled away from the outer hoof capsule.

Ok, so I’ve given you two examples that illustrate my level however let me ask you a few key questions to consider. First, are you seeing a few of the situations I’m describing in your horses? How would you classify the general situation and well being of your horses’ ft? 

1. How typically is the farrier needing to shoe your horse?

2. How typically between shoeing’s are you having to repair or exchange misplaced sneakers?

3. How are your hoof and feed administration linked or not?

4. What is your vet price relying on self-discipline to maintain your horse aggressive?

If you might be arising with solutions which can be tugging at your pockets, you might want to then study your feed program and the affect of the diet you might be or not offering your horse.

While I acknowledge the 2 parts of feed and hoof care are the start line, I’m going to be speaking subsequent about vaccines and the over prescribed use and frequency of introducing these toxins within the horse’s system are wreaking havoc on most of the points we’re seeing as horse trainers and homeowners. Stay tuned and I welcome listening to again from you about what you might be experiencing in relation to my many observations and analysis of this points.

All pictures courtesy of Phil Thommen

Philip E Thommen has been shoeing horses for over 45 years. He served a 3 12 months apprenticeship within the International Union of Journeymen Horseshoers within the late 1970’s.

Beginning within the 1980’s, Phillip shod horses at Florida, Maryland, Delaware racetracks. He labored underneath contract for the Maryland Jockey Club and serviced the Preakness Stakes for over 16 years. 

Prior to his days on the racetrack he skilled to shoe many disciplines reminiscent of present hunter/jumpers, dressage, eventing and fox searching. Philip continued to additional his data of his commerce throughout his time on the racetrack.

Building a distinct segment market of managing difficult lameness circumstances for sport & racing horses, Philip efficiently managed Laminitis Cases for the reason that early 2000s 

Philip has slowed down in his shoeing to handle a bunch of Broodmares, Yearlings & Racing Stock. He additionally at the moment operates TDF at Glade Valley Farm, a Division of TDF Farrier Science, LLC



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