Most people are generally aware that horse hoof supplements should, at a bare minimum, contain biotin and beyond that, based on the consistency in formulas in the marketplace, ingredients like methionine and zinc. Methionine is a critical ingredient as it is closely involved in the cross liking of keratin, thereby providing better structural integrity and resilience for the hoof wall. Keratin makes up a significant percentage of the hoof wall. Methionine is one of the “essential “ amino acids, in the sense that the horse cannot produce methionine on its own. Zinc is also recognized as playing an important role in hoof health – be sure to look at the source of the zinc being used in a supplement as many manufacturers use cheaper inorganic forms that have a poor absorption profile in the horse. Copper should always be added when you are supplementing with zinc to keep mineral ratios correct and one should look for at least a 3 to 1 ratio of zinc to copper. The best evidence pointing to the benefits of biotin supplementation was based on a 1991 study of 42 Lipizzaner stallions at the famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna, where it was demonstrated over an extended period of time that the horses receiving biotin had improved hoof condition. Continue reading
As you may recall, I’m a big fan of exercise. Exercise for me, which happens at the barn, and also EAFTB (exercise away from the barn). Working out gives me much more than strong muscles and a healthy heart, it’s open up my mind to understanding my horses more, too. They are every bit the athletes that we are.
As the weather gets colder, we are more likely to skip a ride due to blistering cold, mucky footing, road closures, all things weather related that make it difficult to ride at the barn. Since many of us get a workout at the barn between riding, grooming, and barn chores, skipping our barn workouts (plus all of the holiday food!!) can make your waistline crave sweatpants.
Guest post from VIP Rider Heather Blitz, 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Reserve & Team Gold Medal WEG
Don’t mistake the prompt to relax as a prompt to become limp.
Many riders are told to relax in their lessons, but instead make the mistake of then becoming limp. Unfortunately, limp muscles won’t help when trying to stabilize yourself on a powerfully moving object, a.k.a. your horse. If riders become too limp, they’ll invariably fall behind the motion, not matching the forces of the horse underneath them, therefore causing more of a feeling of desperation and clutching.
As a rider, you should concentrate on a powerful body that can keep up with your horse’s movement in all three dimensions. Riders who do that really well appear to be “relaxed” much like an elegant ballerina performing highly advanced moves.