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Farrier Brings Light and Minerals to Horse Care


2015/07/03




By Nancy Brannon

Natural Hoof Care farrier Mark Taylor says he wants to do more than just trim hooves. He takes a holistic horse approach to solving hoof and lameness problems. He does a lot of research on a product before he recommends it to a customer.

Mark has lately been studying the nutritional needs, or deficiencies, in horses that contribute to hoof problems. One of the products he recommends for seedy toe, and has seen results in the horses he has treated, is California Trace - a mineral supplement. Mark theorizes that it’s the lack of trace minerals that contributes more to seedy toe than mud conditions. California Trace is formulated to supply the most commonly deficient minerals: copper, zinc, and selenium. Because most forages contain a fairly high iron content, no iron is added to this product.

Minerals are essential to many bodily functions, such as formation of bone and connective tissue, hormones, metabolism and energy use. A proper balance of minerals is also important in hoof growth and quality. Calcium and phosphorus and their ratio to each other are related to normal hoof development. Calcium is needed for laminar attachment in the hoof horn. Excess phosphorus can block the absorption of calcium from the small intestine. This can result in a calcium deficiency and cause weak and abnormal bones.

Trace minerals include iron, copper, zinc, manganese, cobalt, iodine and selenium. These minerals are referred to as “trace” because they are only needed in very small amounts by body. Trace minerals need to be in the correct ratios with each other, in addition to being present in the proper amounts. Too much of one can interfere with absorption of another. For instance, high levels of iron can compete for absorption of copper and zinc. High levels of zinc can cause a deficiency of copper.  A good ratio to aim for is 4:4:4:1 for iron, zinc and manganese to copper.

The first noticeable sign of copper deficiency is a dull faded coat. Hooves will be weak, prone to abscessing, losing shoes, breaking off or crumbling and splitting. Flare, cracks, and stretched white line allow entry of anaerobic bacteria, which can bring on “seedy-toe.”

Instead of cutting away the hoof wall, an alternative remedy is to supplement with the correct ratios of minerals and prevent flare with regular trimming. When you prevent flare, the new hoof wall grows down tightly knitted to the pedal bone; and with the diet changes, the seedy-toe will cease be a problem.

Horses with copper and zinc deficiency also tend to have frog tissue that is prone to developing thrush.

Mark has been recommending California trace for his customers’ horses with seedy toe, and he has seen great healing results, he said.

The newest technology Mark has adopted for treatment of pain issues in horses is the Sumerel Light Therapy system, called the STS-2. It uses a Scanner, device that allows the operator to go over the horse’s body, externally, and pinpoint exactly where any problems exist. The Scanner emits a micro current of electricity, which neither the operator nor the horse can feel. That current is used to measure the resistance in the tissue it contacts. High resistance means normal, healthy tissue. Low resistance means there is something wrong in the area. The Scanner makes a beeping noise at the location of the problem area, which then can be marked by the operator for treatment. The Scanner varies the strength of the beep to determine the severity of the problem found.

The second step is treating the problems the Scanner located using the ETU (Equine Therapy Unit), which uses red and infrared light to stimulate the body to heal itself. The LED lights are pulsed at 7 different frequencies. Each frequency is used to treat a certain type of injury to the body. The units are programmed with digital frequencies, and the lights are pulsed at different frequencies. Having the lights pulse is what stimulates the body to heal itself. The light therapy units contain 24 red diodes and 25 infrared diodes. They are held by hand at the particular places on the body that need healing for just a brief period of time.

In addition, there is a poll therapy unit which fits on the top of the horse’s head. This unit contains pulsed red light and releases endorphins which have a tendency to calm the horse. Farriers seem to like using this unit on horses. So far Mark is pleased with the results in the horses on which he has used the light therapy.

Mark practices what he preaches, so he has put himself on a regimen of trace minerals and balancing the pH in his body. He says he feels better and has more energy since starting the regimen.

For more information about the Sumerel Therapy System, visit their website: sumereltraining.com/therapy.htm
For information about California Trace minerals, visit: www.californiatrace.com

To contact Mark Taylor, call (662) 224-3043.

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