Cracked and brittle hooves are common amongst performance horses. Poor moisture retention combined with poor hoof growth are the cause of the problem. Horses end up having difficulty holding a shoe and are predisposed to quarter cracks, seedy toe and foot infections.
Prevention starts with increasing moisture retention followed by promoting hoof growth. Nutrition affects hoof growth, hoof size is directly influenced by diet. Horses fed an optimum diet have an 80% increase in hoof-sole border size compared to those fed a limited diet. Research has shown that the minerals zinc, magnesium, calcium and sulphur, along with Vitamin A and Biotin are all necessary for the development of a normal hoof. Since horses are often not fed an optimum diet due to availability of good pasture and a correct balance of feed, it is necessary to feed a specifically formulated supplement which ensures that these vital ingredients are in the diet.
Equine Four Feet contains zinc, sulphur, menthionine and biotin, all essential components of strong healthy hooves, in a gelatin and yeast base. Gelatin contains all essential amino acids except tryptophan.
Although difficult to exactly quantify, some research has been able to suggest that for effective improvement of hoof quality an amount of 15 mg per day of Biotin needs to be fed, most grains are very low in Biotin with the exception of maize. The same dose size provides 9gms of methionine. Methionine is essential in producing cystine. This is present in Keratin which is the protein that the hoof wall is primarily made of.
Hoof improvement is a long term process and supplementation needs to be continued for a minimum of three months on a daily basis. Hoof Oils cannot improve the structure or the development of the hoof, they merely help retain or seal in the moisture in the hoof, thus preventing some drying.