Supplements Can Fill Dietary Gaps

I just read the October 2001 “Supplement Shopping,” and I agree that hoof quality is often a good reflection of the quality of the diet in general. Both my Quarter Horses have dry, cracked soles and difficulty holding a shoe. Before trying your recommended supplement for problem feet, Biotin II 22X from United Vet Equine, I wondered if the problem could be the result of a deficiency in their diet.

My horses are six and 11 years old and weigh about 1,100 lbs. each. In the morning, they’re fed equal amounts of a 60/40 alfalfa/bermuda pellet and Lifedesign Senior Complete w/molassas, totaling six pounds. The acidity and microbials of the senior feed seems to help with the digestion of the alfalfa/bermuda pellets.

They’re fed three-way barley, oat and wheat hay in the evening. Both their coats could be shinier. They’re worked lightly and seem to otherwise healthy. Should I change their diet before trying a supplement’

-Rene Oliver

Good thing you checked first, Rene. We still like Biotin II 22X (United Vet Equine 800/328-6652 or on the Internet at for addition to properly balanced diets. Your diet is good on calories and major minerals (calcium, phosphorus and magnesium). Protein is adequate, probably low in lysine and methionine.

Your problems are with trace minerals. Iodine and selenium are low. Copper and zinc are both low and out of proportion to the relatively high manganese content. We think your best bet is a supplement to fill these gaps.

Our first choice is Linpro at 3 oz./day (Foxden Equine 540/942-4500 or at the Internet site This boosts the intake of quality protein just a bit, including the amino acids, provides essential fatty acids so often lacking in processed diets and corrects the copper and zinc levels. Iodine may still be a little low, but you can remedy this by adding ?? to 1 oz./day of plain iodized table salt to your horse’s feed.

We’d recommend you consider a vitamin E and selenium supplement to provide an additional 1 mg./day of selenium for each horse. If their rate of hoof growth is slow, you might want to consider also adding a supplement with good levels of biotin as well.

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