Awareness in the equine world is growing daily, so the importance of our horse's diet is becoming more and more talked about.
We've transitioned or rehabbed horses that vary largely in size, breed, medical histories and age. Some of those horses have transitioned with us to go back into work and compete while others have been rehabilitated and then retired. At the beginning of each rehabilitation case we take, we ask the owner's what they would like out of their horse's stay at PB.
Upon arrival, diet is one of the very first things we look at. Did the horse previously have any access to grass? What sort of hard feed is the horse on? Is salt included in their diet? Is this horse on a species appropriate type of hay?
While we often harp on about how important trim and movement is, it's important to remember we need an appropriate diet for our equines in order to take our horse's successfully barefoot. Unfortunately, some owners get caught out on this aspect of transitioning their horse from shod to barefoot. If you look at their diet as the foundation to a healthier horse, we can see that should that diet not be optimal to the equine, other areas become affected because the foundation isn't right. If the foundation isn't right, nothing else will be either.
One of the ways a diet in need of tweaking shows is through hoof sensitivity and soreness over different terrains and surfaces. A large percentage of the time, if your horse is tender or sore then there is an aspect of their diet and/or environment that needs to change.
Some owners who own more than one horse may be temped to start comparing their sore horse to their other horses who may be on the same diet. It's important to recognise that some equines are more sensitive than others and that they may show their sensitivity to diet in different ways. For example, a grass affected horse may show their sensitivity through endless head shaking and spooking, others may show it through various skin conditions such as mud fever or sun burn and of course the most well known signs, Laminitis and EMS.
Hoof sensitivity isn't normal and shouldn't be accepted as so. While each individual horse may differ, it's important to find the underlying cause of the symptoms and address them.