Emerald Valley’s aim is to help keep your horses healthy and provide natural solutions. We are proud to offer the EquiLife line of products from the UK. EquiLife has been established for 18 years and has built up an enviable reputation for ethical policies and professional, friendly service. EquiLife is the “one stop shop” for products related to healthy hoof and horn.
If you should need further help in finding the best product for your equine partner, please call toll free 888-638-8262. We are always happy to help.
What Makes a “Good Hoof”?
A good quality hoof is one which:
- resists splitting, cracking and collapse yet retains an elasticity which contributes significantly to the anti-concussion mechanism of the horse’s limb.
- resists marked changes in the ground conditions over which it travels. Thus it does not become rock hard in dry conditions, nor “waterlogged” in wet conditions.
- prevents the invasion of micro-organisms which could infect the horn and cause “white line disease” or “seedy toe”.
- prevents the horse from becoming footsore when used over grass and dirt. A really strong hoof should keep the horse sound over stony ground, but this is highly breed dependent. If worked on metalled surfaces most horses have to be shod to prevent excessive abrasion of the bottom of the hoof wall and sometimes to improve traction.
Why Do Some Horses Have “Bad Feet”?
Some horses are genetically susceptible to producing poor horn and require special feeding and often shoeing in order for them to remain sound.
Inappropriate trimming and shoeing can adversely affect hoof horn, particularly in the back of the foot leading to collapsed heels and a misdiagnosis of navicular disease.
Environmental influences which force the horse to stand in dirty bedding, soiled with urine and feces will damage horn as will the painting on of noxious chemicals such as bleach or chemicals aimed at hardening the horn.
Nutritional deficiencies are a common cause of weak horn. Deficiencies are usually multiple so that supplementation with only a few nutrients e.g. biotin, zinc and methionine alone is usually unsuccessful.
Why is Formula4 Feet so Successful at Improving Horn Quality?
Formula4 Feet addresses the problem of nutritional deficiency by supplying a special balance of nutrients, which research has proven, are essential for both optimal horn growth rate and excellent horn quality. The published research findings in relation to particular nutrients is summarized below. However, there is some research conducted at the Laminitis Clinic, which has not been published for commercially sensitive reasons; the unique benefits of which have been incorporated into Formula4 Feet.
Most of the hoof is composed of various proteins known as keratins. All keratins are rich in building blocks, the amino acids, which contain sulphur, methionine and cystine. Other amino acids such as alanine, aspartate, leucine, proline and arginine are included in Formula4 Feet as they are vital for keratin synthesis.
The vitamins, which combined, are called Vitamin B6, pyridoxine, are vital for the efficient metabolism of, in particular, the sulphur containing amino acids. Pyridoxine is present in Formula4 Feet.
Some of the hoof, and a vital part, is made of fat or lipid. Formula4 Feet provides the particular lipids which not only form part of the hoof structure, but during their metabolism provide the anti-inflammatory precursors in Formula4 Feet. Lipids in the hoof not only form a vital part of its structure (for example some strains of Connemara ponies cannot incorporate these lipids into their hooves and suffer, usually fatal hoof diseases), but contribute to the waterproofing properties of hoof horn. Additionally, these lipids provide the hoof with its ability to resist the invasion of hoof infecting micro-organisms and contribute to its elasticity. Choline and inositol provide essential phospholipids for correct horn production.
Calcium must be available in optimal amounts to enable the hoof horn cells to bind to the intercellular substance, making a strong cohesive structure. Calcium is present in Formula4 Feet as an inorganic form and from the alfalfa base.
Biotin (Vitamin H) has been shown to be consistently most effective at improving horn quality in horses when provided at 20mg/day/1,000 lbs. of bodyweight, as it is in Formula4 Feet.
Inositol is important for cell membrane formation, particularly in the horn, deficiency causes a scaly skin and poor hoof horn. Riboflavin deficiency results in epidermal abnormalities, hence it is included in Formula4 Feet.
Zinc is an essential metal ion for the correct formation of equine epidermis (skin, hair and horn). Deficiency of zinc causes a scaly skin condition called parakeratosis. Zinc and copper contribute to the anti-oxidants in Formula4 Feet. Zinc is an essential cofactor in over 200 enzyme systems. The balance of zinc, copper, molybdenum, magnesium, iron and calcium is vital in the diet and has been carefully addressed in the development of Formula4 Feet. Formula4 Feet provides zinc, not only as the inorganic form, but also partly as the chelate (attached to an amino acid) which enhances its bioavailability. The quoted concentration of zinc in Formula4 Feet may be lower than you expect. This is because the chelated zinc is up to 30% more available to the horse giving an effective bioavailable zinc concentration of approximately 1,500 mg/kg.
Vitamin A is included in Formula4 Feet as it is essential for correct horn formation. The precursor of Vitamin A, carotene, is present in fresh herbage. Horses are rather poor at making the conversion from carotene to Vitamin A, hence we supplement it.
Vitamin C is included in Formula4 Feet, not only for its beneficial effects on the epidermis, (deficiency causes scurvy in humans) but also for its powerful antioxidant properties. The Vitamin C used in Formula4 Feet is specially made to enable it to withstand the pelleting process during manufacture.
Unless the amino acids, lysine and threonine are present in the diet, the horse’s protein metabolism is working “with one hand tied behind its back”. Thus we have included them both, in optimal quantities.
There is no selenium in Formula4 Feet. It is added to any number of other products. Selenium excess is more common and predisposes to hoof horn infections. In greater excess, selenium can contribute to hoof horn infections and can be toxic if over supplemented. Selenium toxicosis causes poor horn development with a dry, scaly appearance to the hoof, and in greater amounts can lead to the horse shedding its hooves or even death.