Hoof growth is one of the most important considerations in hoof physiology. Hoof growth occurs from the coronary band down toward the toe. The average hoof grows ¼ to ⅜ inch per month. Since the average hoof is 3 to 4 inches in length, the horse grows a new hoof every year which makes horse hoof care vitally important. Rapidly growing hooves are considered to be higher quality and easier to keep properly trimmed. Factors that affect hoof growth are age, season, irritation or injury of sensitive structures, and nutrition.
Hoof growth is highly correlated to heart rate. Young horses have a higher heart rate than older horses so they have a faster hoof growth rate than older horses. Hoof growth rate decreases as the horse ages. The hooves of horses under a year of age grow twice as fast as those of horses more than 12 years of age.
A horse’s hoof grows faster in the spring than other seasons. This growth rate may be influenced by climate since growth slows during the winter.
Finally, the level of nutrient intake has been shown to affect hoof growth. Proper nutrient intake stimulates maximum hoof growth.Using Biotin as a supplement is suggested to improve hoof growth and integrity over time. After several months of Biotin, some horses showed improvements in hoof integrity and quality. Hoof quality and growth is most affected by proper nutrition which involves feeding a properly balanced diet at all times.
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