To Bran Mash Or Not To Bran Mash

To Bran Mash Or Not To Bran Mash

White Sands National Monument in New Mexico Sunset 2010 The Tularosa Basin dunes of gypsum and calcium sulfate Sand Desert Desolate Blue Sky natural wonders
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Bran mashes have traditionally been touted as being good for older horses to help them keep their weight on – the result of worn and aging teeth. Now, it seems that feeding bran mash may dangerous for your horse’s hooves. The long and short of the information is, do not feed bran if your horse has any hoof problems.
Oats or other grain brans contain phytate, which is high in phosphorus and will block absorption of calcium in the small intestine, producing a systemic calcium deficiency. Calcium is necessary for the strong bonding of keratinized cells to produce a strong hoof.
But, what about the fact you were trying to regulate stool consistency? Try sugar beet pulp instead. If you are using bran to prevent sand colic, use psyllium. Really, to be blunt, you aren’t likely going to be feeding your horse so much bran mash that his hooves will be in trouble. Bran mashes are not usually the sole food given, they are used in combination with other forage and pellets.
So if you do have hoof problems, what about using Biotin – a popular hoof growth supplement? Well, this is interesting, it seems research shows that if your horse has a normally functioning GI tract, a biotin supplement isn’t needed. And feeding more than the physiological amount of biotin does not improve hoof growth and strength. Ok fine, so what it the point? Point is instead of biotin or mash, feed loose salt, vitamin C, copper and zinc.
Be sure your horse has access to loose salt and not just salt blocks. On the other hand, horses fed a premixed feed often get adequate amounts of salt, so you won’t need loose salt. Copper and vitamin C are catalysts for forming healthy, connective hoof tissue. Make sure copper and vitamins are provided in adequate amounts. DL-methionine, praline, glycine and glutamic acid are major building blocks for healthy connective tissues.
Zinc is required for a healthy hoof. Without it, the hoof suffers parakaratosis, a defect in the maturation of keratin, leaving the hoof soft and structurally weak. Zinc and copper need to be in balance by the way. Bottom line? Don’t feed supplements just for the heck of it. Figure out if you really need them in the first place by talking to your Vet. And if you do, only start with one at a time so you can see if it is actually effective.