Nutrition and the hoof

Maria Duran

Good evening,

I was wondering how soon can changes in the hoof be seen and which structures are first affected.

Hoof wall changes would be seen from the coronary band as it grows down at about 1 cm per month, but I was wondering if the frog corium and palmar corium also allow to see changes in the frog and sole as soon as 1 month since the nutritional changes were done.

Another question is what´s the healthy sole depth, 1 cm or 1.5 cm? and how much time does it take for the sole to be fully renovated.

Thank you very much.

María Durán.
Madrid, Spain.

Lavinia Fiscaletti

Hi Maria,

All new growth in the sole and frog are going to be inside, so what would be visible is an increase in the sole depth. The frog should gradually toughen up and become more substantial. It will likely shed parts that are currently ratty looking, exposing healthier material underneath. How fast the process goes is highly individual as there are so many factors determining this: where the individual starts from; genetics; diet; mechanics; any underlying disease processes that are contributing. You can start to see positive changes in weeks - some of which may be small or they may be eye-openingly obvious. Generally, the foot prioritizes fixing the most destabilized, thinnest portions first, rather than everything being fixed at the same rate. This may mean that parts of the sole get thicker faster than other parts, leading to a somewhat lumpy appearance. DO NOT remove the higher areas just because they are higher as that defeats the building process.

In a healthy foot, you are generally looking for 3/4" (1.87cm) calloused sole depth at the apex of the frog and 1" (2.5cm) at the deepest part of the collateral grooves toward the back of the foot. This can vary a bit but are safe assumptions to start off with. It also matters whether you are dealing with calloused sole or just newly grown sole, as calloused sole takes a lot longer to form than just adding the overall depth. Calloused sole is much more compacted, more dense material that requires time to form. It is much more protective as well. See here for an in-depth discussion:

Jan 2005, RI

Moderator/ECIR Support

Maria Duran

Thank you so much Lavinia,

This is all very helpful. I asked because I partially balanced the diet of two horses from the same owner and the trimmer is amazed with the changes he is seing in two months, he asked what was done. The onwer asked me if it was possible it was the diet, as it is the only change the horses has been on and I said I didn´t know and I would ask, because I knew the hoof wall should grow with more quality near the CB, but don´t know about the sole and frog, what have changed a lot.

I say partially balanced because we don´t have a hay analysis, so it was done by supplying the nutrients we know are low or defficient and removing most sugar sources as they were not needed.

Nice that you talk about the lumps and changes that must be left alone, I asked this in the conference, thank you.

About the sole depth, I was talking about the thickness itself, not ground clearance. I mean as if you dissect a hoof and measure the height of the sole.

Thanks a lot for your help :)