Genes and hooves — what's the connection

A look at how your horse’s genes affect the health of his hooves, and what you can do to ensure they reach their full genetic potential.

Genetics determine all physical and chemical characteristics of your horse, including the hoof. Genetics affect the hoof in two ways: physically and nutritionally. The horse inherits the maximum size, strength and thickness of the hoof wall and soles. He also inherits the manner in which nutrients consumed are absorbed and utilized. This explains why different horses under the same feeding and management program have varying hoof health. Proper nutrition and management will allow your horse to build the best hoof that his or her genes will allow.

All equine tissues need most if not all the nutrients required by mammals. Genetics determine overall body requirements as well as those for the individual class of tissues such as dermal (hoof, hair, skin), bone, muscle, etc. You can tailor a diet to address the requirements of the individual horse that also meets the proper balance for the individual tissue (hoof). This allows the horse and the horse’s hoof to reach its full genetic potential.