Asked March 31, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

I have a 20 year old horse, who is a pet. His hooves have always given him problems, in that they are always cracking. He forages on a prairie grasses plus bermuda grass. Could not enough protein be his problem? and how does one determine the protein, fat, vitamin, and mineral percentages of of wild prairie grasses?

Hopkins County Texas

1 Response

A horse with 20 years of age is a mature horse. As he or she gets into her senior years problems will come. Hoof problems are linked to many issues including genetics. Hoofs are made of protein so a protein deficient diet can make horse prone to hoof issues, however, if lack of protein is a problem, you should see other problems related to nutritional imbalances impacting the over all health of the horse (e.I. hair, growth, etc). As the horse ages, you might want to supplement when grasses are poor. You can get grass nutritional level by sending a grass/hay sample to a reputable laboratory, but even then, without you knowing how much the horse is eating you will can problems determining if diet only is the problem. At that age, mouth issues could be affecting food intake also.