Laminitis Prevention

Laminitis Prevention & Hoof care with Fibregenix Low-Cal Diet Feed Balancer

Laminitis is the scourge of modern feeding practices and continues to be a killer of many horses and ponies.   Even mild cases can have a detrimental and long term effect so it is an issue that needs to be taken very seriously.   Once the sensitive hoof structures have been damaged by laminitis, it can be a long-drawn-out process to recover the health of the hoof.

Laminitis is often linked to the over-consumption of starch and sugars, and In order to help prevent this overload to the digestive system, Fibregenix has formulated  Lami Low-Cal which as its name implies, is a low calorie diet feed balancer that is high in fibre, whole cereal and molasses free and exceptionally low in sugar and starch whilst still providing every essential nutrient required on a daily basis for horse and ponies that are prone to laminitis or weight gain.

Of particular benefit is the combination of a digestive enhancer package and gut health package to promote digestive health and assist in reducing lactic acid levels and preventing the deleterious effect of an increase in a pathogenic bacteria population.   Low-Cal contains a superior equine  approved live yeast probiotic renowned for promoting effective gut motility and function, MOS & FOS prebiotics to assist in the removal of pathogenic bacteria for a healthy gut environment and improve the immune system, plus a comprehensive hoof supplement which includes biotin, methionine, lysine, and organic chelated zinc and copper. These amino acids, vitamins, and mineral nutrients are highly important in the formation of pliable, good quality hooves and in addition, Organic MSM has also been added to the formulation providing a source of sulphur which is essential for the development of hoof wall material.

Low-Cal contains and added Nucleotide supplement – nucleotides are the molecules that make up the structural units of DNA and RNA, and these are especially beneficial to laminitics due to their integral role in the repair of the damaged laminae brought on by a laminitis attack. They do this by increasing the number of red blood cells in the body so that more oxygen can be carried to the injured tissue, boosting the oxygen flow and helping your horse or pony back into recovery and work as soon as possible.  Additionally, nucleotides promote rapid cell proliferation which aids the growth of the hoof wall. Another benefit of including nucleotides in Low-Cal is that they play a key part in maintaining a healthy immune system, so any bacterial infections present which are particularly common in the hoof can be effectively fought.

Low-Cal contains a balanced ratio of both Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids improving overall health and well-being in the laminitic. Omega 3 is particularly important in the role of hoof care as it has healing properties and is a natural anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid.  Omega 3 deficiencies can exacerbate hoof wall problems so ensuring the diet is not deficient in this essential fatty acid is paramount.

Adding Fibregenix Lami Low-Cal to your horse or pony’s diet is, therefore, key to avoiding the negatives issues that accompany metabolic problems such as laminitis and can also assist in maintaining general good health and well-being along with good husbandry standards into the future.

Hay & feed replacement in a drought


Jane is based in Rockhampton, Queensland and has a wealth of experience in feeding horses correctly.

“Due to ongoing drought conditions and questions I have been asked in the last few weeks I have come up with a simple guide to hay types from the best to the worst for feeding horses in Central Queensland. This is a brief guide so people have information and can make informed choices depending on energy requirements and availability.”

Firstly it is best to explain how much a horse will need to eat, an average horse needs 2.0-2.5% of its body weight to maintain good condition, proper gut function, avoiding gut ulcer development, colic and weight management (an average 14.2 horse will need around 8kg of food a day, and an average 16hh horse will need 10kg of food a day).  In nature this is made up of mostly fibre products in the form of grass. Due to drought and modern practices it has become important to substitute some or all of the horse’s diet with “farmed hays”.

Farmed hays come in many different forms and depending on energy needs, palatability, availability and local differences. Generally as a rule they come grouped into grass hays, legume products and cereal hays.

All hays have an energy value, or as it is known –  DE (Digestible Energy) This indicates how much energy an average horse will be able to extract from a kg of hay. All products are different and there is a variation within the manufacture process and how long it’s been stored; as a rule, the older it is the less energy it has.

All hays have another big consideration which is their NSC level. Simply, this is non-structural carbohydrates or sugars that are present, and as a rule most cereal hays are high in these as they are made from partially developed seed heads and unripened stems of grain producing plants.

The following list of hays provides useful details to help you decipher what will best suit your hose or pony.

  1. Rhodes Grass – the most common type of cut grass hay

Energy value around  9MJ/kg

NSC content (starch 0.34% plus WSC 7.5% = NSC value 8.14%)

Considerations: Easy to feed to most horses, however if coarse or musty then is unpalatable. Safe and cost effective to be fed at lib to all horse type.

  1. Lucerne/ Grassy Lucerne – Pure legume or mix of legume and grass

Energy value around 8-9.3MJ/KG

NSC content Lucerne Hay or chaff mean average of 11%

Grassy Lucerne NSC% mean average 13.6%

Considerations: Highly palatable so can lead to gorging. Some scouring may occur in horses when feeding prime (green) Lucerne. Has higher protein content which has been reported in some cases to increase energy levels. Best fed in addition to pasture (or other grass hays), not as a sole replacement to pasture in prime Lucerne form.  I have found if mixed with other hays it increases palatability and so consumption of less desirable fodder products.  Can cause skin photosensitivity in some horses.  

Cereal Hays (Barley/Oat/Wheat)

  1. Energy value of oaten around approx 7MJ/kg – barley and wheat higher

NSC content    22% average but can be up to 33%, barley 12.1 to 26.3%, wheat 10.5-24.8%

Considerations: Palatable with a very high NSC level which in some horses increases energy levels.  Due to its high sugar content, long-term feeding can lead to dental issues and metabolic issues. Not suitable for laminitis prone or insulin intolerant horses. Issues exist in manufacture with product being baled too early and too green leading to a mouldy product in storage and possibility of mycotoxin development.

One big consideration is to check when you purchase barley hay that it is baled young and is a beardless variety as the barbs on the seed head can get stuck in the horse gums and teeth causing big issues.

  1. Lab Lab/Diolichos Lab Lab

Energy value unknown but suggested to be around that of lucerne

NSC content unknown

Considerations: Quite palatable, can be a good substitute for Lucerne but is prone to being coarse and not well preserved as stems are thick and in the drying process leaf matter is lost. It is used overseas as a cattle and silage crop, no negative side effects have been reported with use in horses, however the coarseness of the hay could lead to digestion issues.

  1. Sorghum Hay/ Forage Hay (another cereal hay)

Energy value variable depending on species, around the same as oaten 7MJ/Kg

NSC content unknown suggested to be high similar to cereal hays

Considerations: Palatable with a high NSC level which in some horses increases energy levels. Due to its high NSC levels, long term feeding can lead to dental issues and metabolic issues due to sugar levels. Not suitable for laminitis prone or insulin intolerant horses. Issues exist in manufacture with product being baled too early and too green leading to a mouldy product in storage and possibility of mycotoxin development. I have also noted that horses manure when fed these products can become smelly.

 Another issue with sorghum is that if it is not manufactured correctly, cut too early, stressed in dry conditions or is not the correct variety grown it can be high in Prussic acid (Cynanide) this is really bad for horses – an indication of high levels of Prussic acid is redness on the leaves and stems – buyer beware! Grain hays comprised of sorghum grass and Johnson grass hay should NOT be fed to horses because of toxicity levels of these plants. Sorghum grasses include sudan grass, Johnson grass, hybrid forage sorghums, and grain sorghums. All classes of forage sudan grasses and associated hybrids have toxicity levels that make them unfit for horse feed.

Issues have been reported with long term use including urine infections and issues with abortion and deformation in foals.

  1. Millet Hay (another cereal hay)

Energy value unknown

NSC content unknown

Considerations: Some varieties are not palatable so often it will take time to adjust to a new type of hay, the greener, the sweeter it is. Excessive selenium levels in some varieties grown can become an issue long term. Some horses have been reported to develop ulcers in the mouth from some varieties as well as mineral imbalances. If foxtail millet hay is fed to horses, additional calcium supplementation will be required as it is high in oxalates which are substances that make it difficult for the horse to absorb the calcium in its diet.

It is important to note that given the conditions, some owners due to cost and supply may be forced to use less desirable hay type to feed their horses as their paddocks become bare and hay more difficult to source. It is extremely important to plan ahead and if adjustments need to be made then this should be done over at least 2 weeks as this avoids issues with colic.

There are also products out there as a soaked feed that can be used as a part replacement for chaff and hay, these include speedibeet, microbeet, fibrebeet, and maxisoy. These will certainly assist with keeping a good quality fibre going through the gut and help increase digestible energy levels of inferior hay products. It is possible to feed these a quite high level of around 1kg dry weight a day (check individual product for details).

As time continues it is important that even if your horse is doing well to ensure that he is getting the correct levels of vitamins and minerals to offset the hay you are feeding. A  Fibregenix balancer supplement will assist with fibre digestion and provide all essential vitamins and minerals and other nutrients required on a daily basis; this will ensure a healthy happy horse come the rains.

Scouring Prevention

DIGESTIVE HEALTH & THE PREVENTION OF SCOURS (DIARRHEA) It cannot be stressed highly enough that if the horse’s delicate digestive system is compromised in any way it will have significant effects on performance, appearance and even temperament, so ensuring your horse’s digestive health is in peak condition is of paramount importance for his wellbeing. It’s not just about what he is being fed, as environment, well-being and good husbandry can also play a significant role in ensuring good digestive health.

CAUSES OF SCOURING Scouring can often be caused by illness or disease such as bacterial infections or colitis, so in the first instance it is always best to consult with your veterinary medical practitioner. The anatomy and physiology of the equine gastrointestinal tract implies strong adaptation of hindgut fermentation of structural fibre to provide a large supply of energy-rich short chain fatty acids. (SCFAs).  One of the most important causal factors to consider in the association between diet and diarrhea is starch arriving in the hindgut after having overwhelmed small intestinal digestion.  The arrival of such a rapidly fermentable carbohydrate initially increases the rate of bacterial multiplication and favours the growth of acidophilic bacteria that generate lactate, which results in a fall in gut PH from the normal 6.7-7.00 down to as low as 6.  This acidification results in a reduction in fibre-fermenting bacteria, decreased fibre digestibility and decreased SCFA absorption by the colon. The following dietary changes are therefore strongly suspected as causes of scouring

  • Sudden increased cereal feeding, which results in a significant delivery of starch to the caecum, limiting precaecal digestibility
  • The rapid addition of oils/fats
  • Sudden exposure to lush grazing
  • Sudden change from one hay type to another eg legume hay to grass hay, cereal hay or meadow hay – any changes to forage type must take place gradually over a period of at least 2 weeks.


  • Restrict grazing temporarily until resolved.
  • Limit concentrate feed to no more than 1g starch per kg bodyweight per meal and feed several smaller meals per day mixed with forage.
  • Include easily fermentable fibre such as unmolassed sugar beet pulp, psyllium or soya hulls.
  • Ensure electrolytes are provided to replace those lost during diarrhea episodes; important anyway for the horse is in harder work, or if a horse has gone off its feed.
  • Avoid feeding oil to a scouring horse until the scours have resolved. Then you can start reintroducing beginning with 0.1ml/kg of BW per day and increase over 2-3 weeks to a maximum of 1.0ml/kg of BW if weight gain is considered desirable.
  • Add Fibregenix Platinum Pro balancer supplement – the quadruple action digestive supplements consist of the following highly specialised and beneficial hindgut and foregut packages…
  • Actisaf live probiotic yeast, the world-leading probiotic yeast proven to promote fibre digestibility and help reduce lactic acid accumulation in the hindgut
  • A Purified Nucleotide supplement which promotes the health of the mucosal gut lining
  • Safmannan MOS prebiotic which assist in removing pathogenic bacteria from the system that may be attributing to scouring
  • Profeed FOS prebiotic. This SCFA FOS helps limits the risk of digestive disorders in horses by modifying the faecal microbiota, increasing the growth of Lactobacilli and limiting growth of potentially pathogenic bacteria


When you consider that equine digestive behaviour, anatomy and physiology have slowly evolved to accommodate a gradual intake of high fibre, low starch, low fat diet, composed primarily of various species of grasses over a prolonged feeding period with slow and gradual changes in dietary quality, it’s hardly surprising with the increased nutritional requirements of working horses and the relatively high nutrient density of available feeds, forages and pasture in comparison to the typical feral diet, that digestive issues are commonly prevalent in today’s modern domestic horse.  Therefore being aware of what can predispose equines to digestive issues such as scouring is fundamental, and it is up to us to implement a sensible diet regime for the ongoing health of our horses.

Feeding Practices-doing more harm than good

A few days ago you brought your gelding in from the pasture where he’s been living 24/7. Because you have a show in a few weeks, you’ve decided to stall him during the day so you two can polish your skills. Today, however, he seems dull and is off his feed, with mild colic signs. The sudden change from pasture to hay and grain must have upset his digestive system. You’ve always made the springtime shift to pasture from hay and grain gradually but, as it turns out, the reverse transition should be gradual, too.

This is just one example of how our feeding practices can greatly affect our horses’ gastrointestinal (GI) health. To understand how to shape our management techniques to benefit our horses, we need to first look at the diet horses adapted to eat from an evolutionary standpoint.

The Horse in Nature

Horses evolved in an environment where they grazed more or less ­continuously—about 14 to 18 hours a day, says W.B. (Burt) Staniar, PhD, associate professor of equine nutrition at Pennsylvania State University, in State College.

And for good reason—digestion in horses is less efficient than digestion in ruminants, says Staniar, so the horse’s feeding strategy is to eat a lot of forage to get the necessary nutrients. “This forage … has a relatively rapid rate of passage through the tract, producing lots of feces,” he says. “As long as the horse has plenty of forage, this (rapid rate of passage) doesn’t matter.”

This strategy works well for horses, which wander, graze, and eat continually except when resting. In fact, locomotion (e.g., traveling, grazing) is natural and necessary for the equine GI tract to function properly.

“There was a study that showed that horses in stalls maintained a lower pH in the stomach (a more acidic environment) than the horses allowed to move around in paddocks,” says Kathleen Crandell, PhD, an equine nutritionist with Kentucky Equine Research, in Versailles. “The movement also helps gut motility. This is why confinement is one of the risk factors for colic.”

Another thing that affects digestion in natural settings is social contact, which Crandell says gives horses a sense of security so they can settle down and eat. Being herd animals, the comfort of being together reduces their stress levels and ­allows them to follow each other in normal grazing behavior.

“Those are the three aspects (free movement, foraging, and social interactions) of normal equine behavior that we have interfered with when we started putting them in stalls or small pens,” she says. “We limited their locomotion and meal-fed them. They have lost some of that foraging behavior, and even if they can see other horses when they are in stalls, it’s not the same as having continual social contact.” This also adds stress to their daily lives.

These changes can affect horses in ­several ways. Some of them adopt abnormal behavioral stereotypies such as cribbing, weaving, and stall-walking. They might also develop health issues such as gastric ulcers, colic, or laminitis due to the unnatural conditions, feeds, and practices of modern horse-keeping.

The horse’s small stomach, designed to handle modest amounts of high-fiber food continually, works best if the horse is eating a little bit throughout the day and night. It can’t hold a large meal eaten all at once; it’s smaller than a cow’s rumen or a human stomach, relative to the rest of the digestive tract.

The horse’s gut also works different from ours. Humans, like other predatory species, eat nutrient-dense meals (such as meat) and don’t have to eat again for quite a while, whereas a prey animal like a horse is eating a larger proportion of fibrous material all the time to gain an equal amount of nutrients and is constantly on the move, on the lookout for predators.

“We’ve imposed our type of eating on the horse, thinking a horse can eat meals like us, which is unnatural and also detrimental to his well-being and gut health,” says Crandell. “It is convenient for us to feed the horse just twice a day; we don’t stop to think about the horse’s natural feeding behavior and how the digestive tract works.”

  1. Increase Chew Time

Foraging behavior—that is, grazing for 50 to 70% of the day—translates into buckets of time spent chewing. “The horse spends a lot more time chewing forage than eating grain,” says Crandell. “One study showed that for 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of hay, a horse chews 3,400 times and takes 40 minutes to eat it. If the horse is chewing 1 kilogram of oats, he only chews 850 times and finishes it in 10 minutes.”

Crandell cites another study in which researchers looked at how many times horses chew per day when given constant access to hay: 43,000. By contrast, a horse consuming a pelleted diet chewed only a quarter of that amount, around 10,000 times per day.

All this chewing is important because the saliva it produces helps buffer the stomach from ulcer-causing acid. We can increase chew time by making conscientious feeding adjustments, says Staniar.

“Horsemen can use a concept from dairy nutrition called physically effective fiber,” he says. “This is a characteristic of diet centered around how much the feedstuff causes the animal to chew.

“More physically effective fiber makes the animal chew more and also results in a biphasic makeup within the digestive tract,” he says. “This means the solid and liquid portions readily separate. The fiber tends to float on top with the liquid underneath. There are also large and small particle sizes.”

In contrast, if a horse consumes a 100% pelleted diet, there’s not much physically effective fiber, which leaves the particle size in his GI tract very small. “The horse doesn’t have to chew pellets very much, and you’d have a very uniform mix of food within the tract,” Staniar says. “That homogeneous mixture will increase the risk for ulcers, and it will not move through the GI tract in the same way that a nonuniform mixture would move through,” because there’s not enough bulk to help keep things moving along properly.

Related Content: Journey Through the Equine GI Tract

Staniar describes a study in which researchers at the Marion DuPont Scott Equine Medical Center, at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, in Leesburg, Virginia, studied feedstuff characteristics in the cecums of cannulated horses (those with surgical portals created through the abdominal wall through which researchers can access the cecum).

High-grain diets resulted in more homogenous material in the cecum, lacking good solid and fluid separation, says Staniar. The researchers, who were interested in how this might increase colic risk, noted that this mixture was also frothier and trapped more gas.

They theorized that the anatomy where the cecum and colon come together at the pelvic flexure is geared toward the high-fiber feedstuffs that horses eat in nature. The more uniform mixture caused by modern diets might not fit as well, says Staniar, possibly increasing the risk for gastrointestinal disturbances.

So horses with minimal chew time are prone to not only gastric ulcers but also colic due to gas, impaction, or other issues, he says.

Chewing also has a calming effect. Crandell says horses that chew more during the day are less likely to develop stereotypies and, if they are happily eating, are content, less stressed, and healthier.

Several things, however, can diminish a horse’s ability to chew. “If a horse has poor tooth alignment, tooth loss, or arthritis in the jaw—which can all happen in older horses—he will chew less, with higher risk for gastric problems,” says Crandell. “If the horse can’t chew fiber effectively, then you have to make changes in the diet and provide something that’s easier to chew,” such as hay cubes, pellets, chaff, beet pulp, and/or a complete feed.

A Provisions Paper Trail

W.B. (Burt) Staniar, PhD, associate professor of equine nutrition at Pennsylvania State University, in State College, recommends owners keep precise records of what and when they feed. “If you could look back and see what you’ve been feeding your horse over the past year, it might help you determine what might have caused a gastrointestinal problem.”

This might include the type and amount of grain, hay type and weight, feeding frequency, and diet changes.

“You also need to know the body condition of your horse and vital signs,” he says. Taking these periodically will make you familiar with his normal temperature, pulse, and respiration rate when he’s healthy, so you can recognize problems early—for instance, if he goes off feed and his heart rate is increased.

“If any of these things are abnormal for that horse, this can be indicative of a gastrointestinal problem,” he adds.

While many horse owners think they know exactly what’s going on with their horses, Staniar says a notebook or a diary is more concrete evidence than a recollection.

Heather Smith Thomas

  1. Reduce Meal Size

Remembering horses’ small stomach size, concentrate meals should never be too large. The old rule of thumb was that a 1,000-1,200-lb (500-kg) horse should consume no more than 5 pounds (2.3 kg) of concentrate feed per feeding.

“There are some new rules of thumb that seem to help—these have more to do with the amount of starch” in the feed, says Crandell. “If you are trying to decrease incidence of gastric ulcers and still need to feed a high-starch meal to a horse that needs a lot of energy, it can make a difference if you limit grams of starch per kilogram of body weight. These horses should have no more than 1 gram of starch per kilogram of body weight in any single meal.”

So, if your feed is 20% starch, your 500 kg horse should consume 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs)of feed per meal. If the feed is 40% starch, his meal should be half that size, or about 1.25 kilograms (2.7 lbs). This helps reduce gastric ulcer risk.

If you feed more than 2.5 kg of concentrate in one meal, your horse might also be at risk of hindgut (the large intestine and colon) acidosis or colic. “Hindgut acidosis occurs when we overwhelm the small intestine with too much starch,” says Crandell. “It does not get enzymatically digested and ends up in the hindgut. There are bacteria in the hindgut that love to digest starch and the end product of their starch digestion is lactic acid, and this makes the hindgut more acidic. This increases risk for colic and indigestion.”

She says these horses might lose weight and develop stereotypies. “If you keep a concentrate meal under 2 grams per kilogram of body weight, this may prevent hindgut acidosis,” she adds.

  1. Feed More Frequent Meals

Hay weighingIncreasing the number of meals per day is a management strategy that helps reduce gastric ulcer and colic risks, but it can be a challenging practice for people accustomed to only morning and evening feeding—before and after work.

Many horse owners put a pile of forage in front of the horse first thing in the morning or at night, thinking he’ll eat on it until the next feeding, says Staniar, but “most horses eat it all at once and by mid-morning or late evening the hay is gone.”

Try grouping smaller, more frequent fiber-rich meals closer together. “If you have a nibble net or slow feeder for hay and incorporate some kind of chopped fiber (or chaff) into the grain or concentrate feeding, this will slow the eating and make the horse chew more,” says Staniar. “If this is combined with some pasture access during the day, the horse will probably have less risk for gastrointestinal problems.”

In fact, if you are trying to get more calories into a horse, you are better off feeding smaller meals more frequently. “If you are trying to feed just 1 gram of starch per kilogram of body weight, and the horse needs 5 kilograms per day (to keep weight on or provide energy for hard work), you should be feeding several meals,” says Crandell. “If you are feeding oats, which are about 40% starch, that means you would feed four meals per day to keep it under 1.25 kilograms per meal.”

Some of today’s commercial concentrate feeds are helpful because they are high-fiber, or high in fat and fiber and lower in starch and sugar (less than 20% starch). The typical meal size (2.3 kilograms of concentrate) rule of thumb works for these feeds because they are low in starch.

Many stalled horses spend as little as 30% of their time eating. Dividing food into more meals for these animals, so they can eat more often, is healthier for the GI tract than going so long between meals. Abnormal behaviors such as eating manure and bedding, along with stereotypies such as chewing wood, are primarily due to the horse’s inability to graze, lack of chew time, insufficient fiber in the diet, and not feeling full. The horse resorts to trying to eat or chew other things.

  1. Make Diet Changes Slowly

As we mentioned earlier, when making any changes to your horse’s diet, do so slowly and gradually. Make the change (e.g., from hay to pasture or pellets and vice versa; from one kind of hay to another; or in concentrate ration, content, or quantity) over a couple of weeks.

Related Content: Switching Horse Feeds Safely

“Even moving from one part of the country to another, where feedstuffs might be different, can be a challenge for horses,” says Staniar. “Many people on the East Coast go from north to south every year for showing, racing, etc. When making these moves, bring a little feed (both the hay and concentrate) along that the horse is accustomed to eating, and make a gradual change after the horse arrives in his new environment.”

Some horses adjust readily, others don’t, so always err on the side of caution. “Horses are a lot like humans in that there are variations in how different individuals handle change or different foods,” says Staniar. “Two people might go on a trip together to a foreign country, and one might get sick and the other doesn’t eating the same food. It’s the same with horses—a combination of genetic factors, the microbes in the gut, and little differences in … ability to handle different foods or changes in food” contribute to differences among horses.

Take-Home Message

For optimum gut health, our feeding and management practices should mimic nature as much as possible because unnatural conditions can adversely impact horses’ GI tract health and function. This means paying attention to what we feed (nutrient and fiber levels) and how we feed, in terms of meal size, frequency, and ways to increase eating and chew time.

Building Healthy Hooves

Some horses seem to have a bigger shoe habit than Imelda Marcos.

When you are paying upwards of $140 every four to six weeks, it can be desperately frustrating if your horse has chipped, cracked or thin feet that don’t hold on to a shoe for any length of time.

Scientific studies in different countries have shown incidence of poor hoof quality in 30-40% of the horses studied. Nutrition is one important factor in hoof quality – in unison with several others including farriery, genetics, conformation, management and environmental conditions.

Hoof growth is relatively slow, at around 0.2mm a day, meaning that the horn takes 9-12 months to grow from the coronary band to the weight-bearing surface. Adverse changes therefore take a while to correct.

You only have to look closely at a hoof to see that it is highly complex in structure. Hoof wall thickness and strength are created by layers of linked cells. The strength of the hoof depends on the ability of such layers to hold together.

You only have to look closely at a hoof to see that it is highly complex in structure. Hoof wall thickness and strength are created by layers of linked cells. The strength of the hoof depends on the ability of such layers to hold together.

Nutrition for the hooves must concentrate on the hoof cells and the lipid “glue” that holds the wall together. Given their complexity, no single nutrient can fulfil all roles.

First and foremost the requirement is for a balanced diet – one containing appropriate amounts of all nutrients, from energy and protein down to the smallest micronutrient.

The B-vitamin biotin, was the first micronutrient identified as a benefit for the production of hoof horn. However subsequent research reveals that biotin alone will improve only 6% of cases with deficient horn quality. Subsequent research identifies that a diet balanced in macronutrients and containing more than 60 specific micronutrients is essential to optimise the horn growth rate and quality in horses.

High-grain, low-forage diets may not support hoof growth. Not only may B-vitamin production be low, but low calcium availability may also result in weakness – calcium is reported as having a direct effect on the attachment of layers of hoof horn.

It’s easy to understand why grass fed horses may have nutritional hoof problems, as grass is generally very rich in carbohydrates but usually very poor in essential nutrients.

Changing conditions such as wet and dry weather and uneven ground certainly have an impact on the physical qualities of hoof horn i.e. it tends to dry out and crack in hot dry conditions and become waterlogged and weak during the wet periods. Unless your horse has been receiving the correct lipids in its diet which can be incorporated into the hoof matrix it is likely to suffer from cracked hooves, collapsed heels, horn infections and frequent shoe loss.

Tips to keep your horse’s hooves healthy

  • Undertake good equine husbandry when caring for your horse’s feet on a daily basis
  • Ensure your horse receives expert care on a frequent basis from a competent qualified farrier
  • If your horse has poor feet, take into account the nutrient supply from forage and hard feed, and look for gaps, most likely in vitamin, mineral and trace element supply
  • Feed a supplement known to supply the essential micronutrients, eg a Fibregenix balancer which you can combine with forage only or an alfalfa-based low cereal diet. Fibregenix balancers contain a potent and comprehensive hoof improvement supplement which includes biotin, methionine, lysine, and organic chelated zinc and copper. These amino acids, vitamins and mineral nutrients are highly important in the formation of pliable, good quality hooves. 

Also included is a purified nucleotide supplement – nucleotides are the molecules that make up the structural units of DNA and RNA.  They also promote rapid cell proliferation which aids the growth of the hoof wall. Another benefit of adding Nucleotides to the diet  is that they play a key part in maintaining a healthy immune system, so any  bacterial infections present which are particularly common in the hoof can be effectively fought. 

Fibregenix balancers contain a  beneficial blend of both Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids improving overall health and wellbeing. Omega 3 is particularly important in the role of hoof care as it has healing properties and is a natural anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid.  Omega 3 deficiencies can exacerbate hoof wall problems so ensuring the diet is not deficient in this essential fatty acid is paramount.


Laminitic horses

“My daughter’s pony, Holly, has always been a heavy set lady but with Lami Low-Cal and a lot of hard work (on Holly’s behalf) I finally have her looking amazing.
Lami Pellets saved her…..”
Kristy M, NSW

We understand how hard it is when you have a pony that’s doing a bit too well for the good of their health. But with persistence and determination and the right dietary support, there is a healthy way to achieve great results.
Adding Fibregenix Lami Low-Cal to the diet has helped this pony shed those extra kilos returning her to great health.





It’s a specialist low calorie, low protein, high fibre balancer supplement that is specially formulated to help overweight horses and ponies that need lose weight.
Lami Low-Cal fed in conjunction with regular exercise, supports restricted diets or when you need to feed a lower nutritional quality hay. Low Feeding rate – 100g/100kg of bodyweight.


Provides a complete nutrient package of vitamins & minerals
Provides a hoof improvement supplement plus MSM to help maintain healthy laminae and for the formation of the hoof wall.
Provides natural vegetable sources of Omega 3 and 6 along with organic zinc to ensure healthy skin and a glossy gleaming coat
Helps improve the immune system with its powerful combination of selenium, a protected form of vitamin C and natural vitamin E.
Includes a premium live yeast probiotic to promote fibre digestion and create a stable & healthy hindgut environment
Provides Purified Nucleotides to support red blood cell formation, stamina, fitness and recovery levels, and assist in improving immunity.
Includes MOS & FOS prebiotics to reduce the risk of digestive upsets, assist with improving insulin sensitivity, remove pathogenic bacteria and increase the good bacteria in the gut.

No more over-supplementing – consolidate them into one easy to use product and save time making up feeds.  Low feeding rate (100g /100kg of bodyweight) makes it the most cost effective balancer supplement on the market.  We’ll help take the weight off your mind (and your horse)

We help take the weight off your mind (and your horse)
by blending nature and science to help bring your horse or pony back to optimum health.