You might have seen horse hoof supplements while browsing around in any tack shop or feed store. These hoof supplements for horses are everywhere, and rightly so. Like the adage, “no hoof, no horse”, there are several reasons why hoof health is critical. Horse hooves are protein, so when the right nutrients are not available, hooves become brittle and chip and may lead to lost shoes as well.
But here’s the good news:
These horse supplements for hoof health are not a fad and they really do work! They are jam-packed with ingredients all designed to help your horse grow healthy, shiny and tough hooves.
What are Horse Hoof Supplements?
Hoof supplements are essentially a mixture of proteins, minerals and fatty acids. They provide the nutrients required for the repair of horse hooves and address all kinds of pedal problems. If your horse is lacking these nutrients in its diet, horse hoof supplements are the way to go.
Horse hoof supplements are a rich source of zinc, copper, methionine, lysine, biotin, glucosamine, amino acids and Omega-3 fatty acids. They may also contain antioxidants, mucilage, vitamins and calcium.
If your horse has an inadequate diet that is deficient in these nutrients, it will affect its general health. This can range from listlessness, poor muscle tone and lack of energy to a dull coat and slower than normal growth of hooves. This might lead to further problems like brittle hooves.
A dry hoof will become brittle and split or crack and this will cause difficulties in holding the shoe. Chemical drying from lime and stall drying products that contain lime can lead to dry hooves and chipping. Coat cleaners and harsh shampoos can cause damage too. Even decorative rings and polishes can cause harm.
Foot lesions and bacteria may also become a culprit here. This will most definitely lead to wear and weight-bearing issues. Additionally, connective tissue inflammation called laminitis may occur as well.
Weak hoof walls will, in turn, cause hoof cracks and hoof wall separation. Bacteria will thrive and cause abscesses, crumbling horns and also white line diseases.
The best hoof supplements for horse hoof growth will strengthen and build new connective tissue. They will also help in the lubrication of joints and hoof wall cracks, reducing the chances of infection and bruising.
7 Best Hoof Supplements for Horses
If you search for hoof supplements online, you’ll find dozens upon dozens of products that all seem to be promising. However, not every product is worth your money. To make sure you’re not wasting any of it, we’ve decided to list the best supplements here.
Here are the best horse hoof supplements.
The Horse Health Joint Combo is a 3-in-1 supplement that focuses on the care of your horse’s hooves, coat and joints. It has active ingredients like glucosamine hydrogen chloride, chondroitin sulphate, manganese, MSM and vitamin C. All these help in the optimal function of joints and the synthesis of collagen.
It has 16mg per 2 oz of Biotin which aids in the best hoof conditioning. Along with that, it also contains Omega-3 fatty acids that are important for a healthy and lustrous coat and impeccable skin.
What’s more, this supplement is available in yummy apple cinnamon-flavored pellets which are loved by horses around the world. If that sounds like a good deal, then hurry up and grab this 64-day supply.
A lot of the supplements on this list are combos that are good for hooves as well as other stuff like digestion and coat health. However, Farnam’s Horseshoer’s Secret is a specialized targeted hoof and connective tissue supplement. That’s exactly why it’s one of the best supplements for cracked hooves. This formula strengthens weak hoof walls and promotes strong and healthy growth.
The folks at Farnam designed their formula to restore tendon and ligament health. It comes in the form of unique extruded nuggets. This ensures proper digestion and absorption of nutrients for greater benefits. This supplement supports moisture retention and hydration of hooves which maintains hardness.
Although this one’s ideal for racehorses with performance demands, it also serves as one of the best for pet horses that suffer from cracked hooves due to environmental or a genetic factors.
With 25 mg of Biotin and a splash of Methionine and Lysine, this formula truly packs a punch in terms of providing strength and flexibility to horse hooves.
This is ideal for fixing thin soles on horses. It contains Biotin, Lysine, Methionine and Zinc. These are targeted nutrients and minerals that are vital for ideal hoof growth and repair.
These nutrients work together to repair cracked hooves and strengthen hoof walls. With all that said, it’s quite clear that this is the best hoof supplement for thin soles.
What’s more, it also contains yeast for improved digestion.
Everyone buys horse supplements in bulk because they take at least a month to start showing any results. But that presents a host of problems, one of which is that the supplement doesn’t remain fresh and gets all soggy.
But the Formula 707 has found a solution. They send their pellets in 28 or 56-day suplies with each daily supply sealed in a separate “Daily Fresh Pack”.
Their formula contains Biotin, Methionine and Lysine along with calcium and minerals like phosphorus and zinc. It also contains proteinate manganese and copper for maximum bioavailability.
If you decide to go ahead with this one, bear in mind that you’ll start to notice results in a few weeks. So make sure you’re patient with it. This supplement offers complete support for hoof walls and soles by nourishing delaminating hooves and sealing cracks.
This pellet form supplement focuses on hooves, coat and the digestive system. This is a 160-320 day supply that is available in apple flavor mixed with flax seed and alfalfa.
The Durvet Biotin Supplement contains a high level of Biotin (about 320mg/lb 20mg/oz) which is essential for hoof growth. It also contains flaxseed, which is rich in amino acids, vitamins and minerals to promote healthy growth of horse hooves. These ingredients help horses in maintaining healthy skin and a lustrous coat.
This special hoof formula contains Yea-Sacc® 1026, a yeast that ensures a healthy digestive tract. So, all in all, this one’s a winner if you’re looking to improve your horse’s hoof health.
The Horse Guard Hoof Supplement, with 100 mg Biotin per dose, is famous for its hoof and hair conditioning. It also contains Methionine which is a structural protein required for new and strong hoof growth. But that’s not all; the Horse Guard formula includes zinc proteinate, which resists cracks by improving hoof strength.
Amino acids such as Lysine, Cysteine, Glycine and Phenylalanine support growth of structural proteins in hooves and hair. Also, it has Soy protein and oil for a healthy and shiny coat.
The Life Data Labs Farrier’s Formula focuses on the nutrients required for the formation of connective tissue in the hooves. The fact that this formula has been around for 12 years and has survived the test of time speaks volumes of its quality.
This supplement provides nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, phospholipids, minerals, vitamins and essential amino acids in optimal quantities. It promotes fast and healthy growth of frog, heel, sole and hoof wall. This pelleted formula is designed to grow out wall cracks. It also prevents microbial infection and growth and prevents bruising. Additionally, it’s a great supplement for laminitis.
It promotes the growth of strong joint and ligament connective tissues and aids in the production of a glossy coat. You can add it to your horse’s feed as a top dressing, which makes its consumption a lot easier.
How to Choose the Right Horse Hoof Supplement?
The right horse hoof supplement will promote:
- Joint Support
- Intestinal health
- Metabolic support
- Skin and allergy support
- Hoof care
- Digestive and bone health
- Immune support
- Athletic performance
- Tendon and ligament support
Here’s what you need to look at when buying one.
As we’ve discussed, hoof supplements for horses contain useful vitamins, minerals, proteins and fatty acids.
Now, you might be wondering about the active ingredients to look for. Here are some:
According to research published in the Equine Veterinary Journal, horse biotin supplements improve hoof horn growth by 15%.
This B vitamin is vital for healthy cell growth and energy metabolism. It also helps in the synthesis of fats and proteins which are essential for hoof quality. Since horses can’t synthesize Biotin on their own, it needs to be added in their diet.
Biotin supplements for horses are readily available and your horse can surely benefit from them. Research suggests that a daily biotin dose of 15 mg is optimum for hoof growth in horses.
Zinc and Copper
These are trace minerals which help with the maintenance of horse hoof quality. Zinc creates the bonds required to maintain horse hoof walls and helps in the synthesis of keratin protein which is found in horse hooves, skin and hair. Whereas copper is essential for collagen synthesis and prevention of connective tissue disorders.
Hoof supplements should include 25-100 mg of copper and 250-400 mg of zinc.
Methionine, Threonine and Lysine
These are the building block amino acids that lead to the synthesis of proteins like keratin. They are required to maintain healthy hooves.
Hoof supplements should ideally have:
- 1000-5300 mg of methionine
- 1000-2000 mg of lysine
- 500-750 mg of threonine
Rigid and stiff hooves can cause cracking. Fats provide the flexibility required for hooves to expand while bearing weight. Lecithin and Omega-3 fatty acids are usually added to horse supplements for hooves.
This helps in sulfur formation which helps in building cohesion among cells and hoof proteins. The stronger these bonds, the healthier the hooves.
This is an amino acid found in hoof circulation supplements. This will help in movement and balance as well as nutrition.
Dr Carey Williams, nutritionist and associate professor of animal science at Rutgers University says that piling on several horse supplements can be detrimental to horse health.
Vitamin A is such an ingredient that is common in many horse hoof supplements. The cumulative effect of these supplements can cause toxicity by affecting growth and causing skin issues and bone problems.
Fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K can prove potentially toxic if consumed in high amounts due to lack of excretion.
Proteins are the building blocks required by horses for cell growth and repair. Dr Williams says that too much protein can strain the kidneys. It can also slow down a racehorse by producing too much ammonia. Exposure to this ammonia can cause eye irritation, respiratory and hoof problems.
She also mentions that minerals like Selenium can prove toxic when multiple selenium-rich supplements are used, especially if the horse feeds on the grass in selenium-rich soil. This can cause loss of mane and tail hair and can slough off hooves.
Magnesium toxicity from supplements can cause bone and joint disease, loss of teeth and weight. Copper and Zinc should be in balance, excess of one might cause a deficiency of the other.
With all of this in mind, the key is to choose a horse hoof supplement that maintains a nice nutritional balance for your horse.
When fed correctly, horse hoof supplements can be extremely beneficial. But when underfed, they can lead to key deficiencies. It is always best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Biotin supplements need to be fed between 4 mg-8 mg per 100 kg of your horse’s body weight. This should be given for a minimum of 6 months to notice results.
A rule of thumb is to purchase a 60-day supply of your chosen supplement. Then follow the dosage instructions given by the manufacturer.
For a good hoof supplement for horses, it might take up about 4 to 6 months to see the results.
Supplements usually come in pellets or powdered form. Which one you should choose depends on your horse’s preference. Some horses are messy and will knock over tubs spilling the powder supplement to no avail. Flavored pellets can be hand-fed to such horses.
Powdered supplements will be ideal for horses that receive direct care such as a stall bound, sick or injured horse. They can be given in a medication tube mixed with food or in a well-hung feeder.
FAQs About Hoof Supplements for Horses
So, there you have it! That was our article on the best supplements for horse hooves. However, you might still have some confusions about the topic. Here are a few questions that our readers routinely ask.
Is biotin good for horse hooves?
Yes, biotin is a crucial vitamin for horse hooves and is also required for a number of other functions in the horse’s body. These include cell wall synthesis, fat and protein metabolism and cell growth.
Biotin targets the quality of hooves and improves upon it. What’s more, it helps in the recovery of cracks and boosts the growth of hooves. Additionally, it helps in keratinization which results in stronger hooves.
You should add biotin in your horse’s diet if it has seedy toe or laminitis. Biotin is also suggested for horses that are using antibiotics as the latter may alter the normal bacteria in your horse’s gut.
What causes brittle hooves in horses?
Brittle hooves in horses may result due to a variety of factors. If a barefoot horse goes too long without trims, risks of chips and breaks increase. Additionally, horse hooves may also become brittle if they are consistently exposed to a high moisture environment like early morning dew. This happens if the hoof quality is already low. And so, the hoof soaks in more moisture than usual.
Chemicals such as harsh shampoos, coat cleaners and lime can also cause brittle hooves. Excessive use of oils and dressings can worsen already brittle hooves. Heel cracks should also be addressed as early as possible.
How to treat thin soles in horses?
Thin soles in horses may be due to nutritional deficiencies or exposure to moisture. This is where horse hoof supplements come into action as they restore sole health. They also help thicken soles for weight-bearing and flexibility. Pour in pads can also be used to help encourage sole thickening as they help in sole protection as well.
How long does it take for a horse’s hoof to grow out?
The horse hoof grows downwards from a coronary band. Average hoof growth ranges from about ¼ to ½ inch per month. So, roughly it takes about 10 to 12 months to grow a new hoof in its entirety.
With that said, horse hoof supplements can speed up this process. You should feed these supplements for at least 4 to 6 months to notice proper results.