We now understand that horses’ hooves are blood-pumping devices meant to circulate blood throughout the hoof and back up to the heart. This is a full circulatory system. It is a fully functioning nutritional arrangement that operates most effectively when properly fueled. It’s like the gasoline in your car. If you’re racing a Maserati, the fuel requirements are different from your occasionally-used farm truck.
Everything is Connected
Horses extract what is required for their health and fitness from the earth. Plants grown in the earth feed the cellular structure that is encapsulated within and of our horses hides. Mineral deficiency can be a major problem for our domestic horses. Deficiency or imbalance of minerals inhibits the formation of enzymes that support immune function, digestion, glucose metabolism, and overall health, including the quality of bone, muscle and hoof tissue. The common deficiencies are magnesium, chromium, copper, zinc and selenium. Be aware that this is not a simple situation where more is better, because something like too much calcium can cause a magnesium deficiency. Your horse is a dynamic living ecosystem. Her body is composed of and conditioned to that which makes up the environment. It’s a symbiotic relationship.
Healthy horses instinctively try to balance, and self regulate. If we observe horses left to roam freely, we may see that they find plants that are growing in calcium-rich soils, and then travel miles in another direction to munch plants abundant in phosphorus. This is important because it supports balance in their system. Now let’s say, you give your horse a supplement that claims to improve hoof health by providing zinc. If your horse is lacking in stable mineral content, he will use that zinc in a general application throughout the body, meaning that you may not see results in the hoof tissue specifically. If there is an already existing imbalance, his system is unable to send the nutrients to specific areas.
Feed Your Horse’s Feet
Changes in animal feed, climate, farming and food-processing methods, soil conditions, water quality and weather patterns, as well as increased use of genetic engineering and toxic pesticides, all have a negative effect on the quality of food available.
Many say that horses eating good-quality pasture or hay take in all the nutrient energy needed. This is not so, because many fields producing hay are not only negatively affected by the conditions mentioned above, but also overworked to the point that the hay no longer contains natural vitamins, minerals, proteins, good bacteria, and enzymes necessary for a healthy horse.
Build from the Ground Up
Building health from the foundation, we must work toward overall nutrition and mineral balance. And the interesting thing, is that once overall health is achieved, specific things like weak hoof integrity disappear. You haven’t fed your horse an explicit hoof supplement and yet hoof strength increases and she’s heathier overall.
Of course, we can’t just turn our horses loose and say, “Go look for nutrition.” My horses would have a very long way to travel because we live in a rain forest and much of what they require from the earth gets washed away. You could try emulating the benefits provided by a natural environment, by offering your horse free choice of the four main ingredients that boost sufficient mineral content: Salt, Calcium, Phosphorous and Trace Minerals (which include Copper, Chromium, Fluoride, Iodine, Iron, Molybdenum, Manganese, Selenium and Zinc).
You may be astonished to find that your horse will chow down on one thing for a period and then suddenly, not touch it, and move on to something else. Self regulation. Then after gobbling up the other thing, he stops. He has achieved a mineral balance and now if you wanted to focus on a certain area, you could provide a supplement and it would be utilized effectively.
Your Horse is Not a Cow
If this seems cumbersome, there are some very good compounds created by reputable companies that can make it easy to offer your horse free choice minerals. Just watch out for marketing schemes. Don’t fall for things like formed salt blocks. Horses don’t have the same tongues as cows that are able to extract the salt off the lick. Additionally, there are often toxic binding agents in the mix to hold the block together, which further compromise your horse’s system. I’ve even seen claims that certain salt blocks include appropriate minerals. Very questionable. Pelletized feed can fall into this category also. While touting mineral richness when there’s hardly enough to make a difference, they include glues and other binding agents in the manufacturing process that threaten health.
Consider your horse’s activity, age, health, digestive issues and level of fitness. It’s unfair to ask your horse to perform on a level beyond his physiological capability.
As nature intended, horses should be fed regularly to keep their digestive systems functioning. Watch for any mastication problems and make sure the teeth are sound.
Avoid moldy, musty, dusty, frozen and sweet feed. Watch your horse’s manure for changes in color, quantity, consistency and odor. Notice his behavior, the quality of his coat, the brightness in his eye and particularly his contentment and level of energy. Make sure horses have a plentiful supply of fresh water available. If your water quality is questionable, get it tested for infectious organisms, such as salmonella or toxicity. Consult with a veterinarian to determine if there is any cause for concern.
Above All, Have Fun
Ride your horse often, have loads of fun and as always, use Cavallo Hoof Boots to provide safety, protection and shock absorption.
Visit https://www.cavallo-inc.com to learn about the full line of hoof boots. Want more info? Sign up here for our free newsletter: https://www.cavallo-inc.com/email-signup-AHP. Call (877) 818-0037 from the USA or Canada or call direct, (604) 740-0037.
About the Source:
Carole Herder is the author of the #1 International Bestseller, There Are No Horseshoes in Heaven. She has been involved in horse health since 1993. Her company, Cavallo Horse & Rider Inc., develops, manufactures and distributes horse products in 26 countries. Herder designed and developed Cavallo Hoof Boots and Total Comfort System Saddle Pads. She presents trainings around the world to teach the benefits of keeping horses in a natural state. Herder is an honored recipient of the Royal Bank of Canada Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award. She is a member of the Women’s Presidents Organization, supporting female entrepreneurs in every industry.
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