Currently there is a daunting array of
supplements available. To know what you really need, have your grass and hay (each lot of hay should be tested)
for mineral content and for non-structrual carbohydrates (NSC's or Sugars). Horses that are prone to laminitis
should be fed with forage at a maximum of 10% NSC and no grain.
- Horses do NOT need
iron. In fact, most pastures are overgrazed and actually create an iron excess for our pasture plants. Unless a vet prescribes
iron, do not administer it. It will block the absorbtion of other nutrients and usually horses that appear to need biotin
actually have excess iron in the diet masking perfectly adequate levels of the other nutrients.
- Biotin is over-rated as a hoof supplement, in my opinion.
- In my area, most forages are lacking in available copper, zinc
- Selenium is very easily
over-fed and can be toxic at low levels and symptoms of excess are the same as defieincy. Have your soil and forage tested
before adding any selenium to the diet. Excess amounts of this nutrient can cause hooves to slough off, with just parts
per million being enough to have the effect.
Good supplements to add (in my area) are Horseshoer's Secret, Grand Hoof pellets (with MSM) and Source
HF. Look for supplements with added copper and zinc. One symptom of copper deficiency is faded, sunburned coats, and is often
in the supplements marketed to help keep horses coat color pure. Little grass cracks and chipping hooves are also symptoms.
Supplementing Metabolic Horses with Cushings or Chronic
Horses with metabolic problems like Cushings that suffer from chronic laminits, cresty necks and weight problems
often do quite well with a supplement designed to help. D-Carb Balance, Remission, etc. contain certain minerals and herbs
to limit inflammation and to moderate the metabolic issues. They also help provide nutrients for hooves and hair.
One thing I like about supplements for IR
and Cushings horses,is it gives you somthing to feed them instead of grain, but it feels like grain to the owner.
Key ingredients that help with laminitis:
MSM-helps with inflammation and joint problems, but also helps the
horse absorb more of the minerals he needs.
Copper -connective tissue (lamina) needs this
Zinc-also helps with inflammation and hoof quality
Flaxseed-the Omega 3 in flax helps with inflammation,
puts a great shine on the coat and has more health benefits than I can list here.
Chromium-for metabolic processes
Also, certain herbs help alleviate pain and speed recovery.
Devil's Claw, Licorice, Willow Bark, Grape Seed Extract, Cinammon, Turmeric and more help horses maintain hoof health.