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Tip Top Hoof Health – All Year Round



Not many people know that water is vital to the health of the hoof, the horn consists of 12-15% water content. When the horn dries out it can be seen as crumbling, brittleness and general poor condition. This has an obvious poor aesthetic effect and causes shoeing problems, as dry hooves can be prone to losing their shoes. However dryness in the hoof can be more serious and deep seated than lost shoes alone fluid balance in the hoof is vital to the hooves’ ability to absorb concussive forces from the ground.
It is ironic that the dry conditions that cause hard ground also leave the hoof less able to cope with just those conditions. Exactly how the hoof absorbs concussion is the subject of several theories but increasingly the importance of fluid balance is being appreciated.



As the hoof hits the ground the frog and digital cushion expand, hence absorbing energy. The ability of that expansion to take place is dependent on the condition of the horn and it’s underlying layers, as it is their pliability that allows movement within the hoof. But that is not the end of the story. One of the reasons for the conflicting theories is that whenever energy absorption in the digital cushion and frog are measured, either in the laboratory or on horses, the measurements don’t quite add up.



Concussion is also being absorbed elsewhere within the hoof. It is now thought that fluid movement, principally blood, within the hoof is responsible for some of the energy absorption – in much the same way that athletes have fluid within running shoes. Whatever the exact mode of action pliability within all structures of the hoof remain vital to energy absorption and, hence, soundness. While NAF Hoof Oil is great for a nice shiny hoof on show days, for healthy balanced hooves the best approach is to try a water-based application, such as PRO Feet Hoof Moist.



PRO Feet Hoof Moist contains no oil and is in balance with the natural water level of the foot. Year round application is recommended as dryness can affect the hoof through the winter from exposure to bedding such as shavings, and indoor school surfaces. However hoof moisturisers come into their own during long dry summers when horses are worked on hard ground and daily application to both hoof and sole is strongly recommended.



Of course for more challenging hoof health issues it is imperative to address the system from the inside out, and feed the hoof correctly. The importance of Biotin for hoof health is well known, but like most things in nature Biotin doesn’t work alone. Biotin requires the amino acid, methionine, to be fed in conjunction as the two work hand in hand within the system. While these provide some sulphur, other bio-available forms of sulphur, such as cysteine and msm, will also help support healthy hoof growth. Lastly don’t forget the importance of general health from natural antioxidants.



By supplementing with concentrated antioxidants alongside targeted hoof nutrients you are supporting his defences and helping the horse to help himself. NAF PRO Feet Powder provides premium levels of Biotin in combination with all the essential hoof nutrients and naturally sourced, scientifically verified antioxidants.



It shouldn’t be forgotten that where hooves are concerned the old adage, ‘patience is a virtue’ is particularly apt. The horse’s hoof can take around twelve months to grow from top to bottom, and certainly a minimum commitment of supplementing for three months must be made before assessing the hooves progress. If your horse’s hooves are particularly prone to stress then supplementing all year round to support his natural resources would be recommended.



In conclusion, by providing your horse’s hooves with the right natural support from both within and externally, and working regularly with your farrier, your horse’s hooves will be strong, pliable and able to cope with whatever weather conditions we are confronted with.




Related NAF Products  –  NAF Pro Feet Liquid, NAF Pro Feet Powder, NAF Pro Feet Hoof Oil, NAF Pro Feet Hoof Moist, NAF Pro Feet Rock Hard, NAF Biotin. NAF Hoof & Sole,


Acknowledgement :  Kate Hore BSc(Hons), nutritionist at Natural Animal Feeds. For further information call the NAF Freephone Advice Line on 0800 373106, or see the NAF web site at


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