Horse Supplements: How Synergy Benefits the Hoof Condition!


By Dr. Rick Shakalis

Synergy: The interaction of two or more substances or forces so their net combined effect is greater than the sum of its parts. In other words, for the purpose of this article, by adding two hoof care products in conjunction to treat a problem, you will get a more superior result than if each were applied separately.

Why are there hoof problems?

Despite our finest effort to keep our horses healthy, we often get frustrated by dealing with their seemingly never-ending hoof problems.  From thrush, white line disease, insufficient growth of the hoof wall, to lameness issues, it seems like horses could not possibly survive without us.  We blame them for their “soft feet” and “white hooves,” but in truth, these problems would not exist if we had not pulled horses from their natural environment into ours.

When in the wild, horses are able to roam barefoot over large expanses of grasslands and patches of hard ground which naturally trims and toughens their hooves.  A barefoot horse in its natural state exhibits a low heel, a rolled toe, a sufficient amount of hoof growth and virtually no hoof disease.

Domesticated Horse

Domesticated Horse

Some five thousand years ago, a blink on the evolutionary timeline, man broke this pattern of perfection when they began domesticating horses.  As soon as they took horses away from their natural environment and stalled them, hoof problems began.

Hoof evolution is a marvel of Mother Nature!

The latest scientific evidence shows horses evolved from doglike creatures some sixty million years ago in the semi-arid grasslands of North America. Survival of the species favored larger and faster horses better able to escape predators and their genes were passed on to successive generations.  As horses began to look like the animals we are familiar with today, their hooves evolved as well and became marvels of Mother Nature’s engineering.

Horses can run !

Horses designed to run !

Strong and flexible, collagen made a perfect substance for the structure of a hoof wall charged with supporting an ever larger, heavier animal.  As the horse applied weight to his foot, blood pooled between the coffin bone and frog was vigorously pumped back to the less stressed heart machining its job easier.  This increased blood flow through the coronary band also resulted in a healthy amount of hoof growth by making vital nutrients and oxygen available to this vital tissue.  The hoof had become a complex, dynamic structure for an animal that was designed to run.

The inevitable “muck” in stalls contains ammonia from urine which breaks down collagen and a weakening of the hoof wall resulting in softer hooves.  As horses became increasingly more sedentary, less blood pumped though the coronary band as well resulting in a less than ideal growth rate.  Together, these factors led to the ”necessary evil” of shoeing, and by placing a non-flexible metal shoe on a structure that is designed by nature to flex, this practice inadvertently caused a myriad of iatrogenic problems for a horse.

Observing millions of years of evolution brings us to this sobering conclusion: Horses don’t have hoof problems, they have people problems. Unless we let our horses loose to run freely tromping over our neighbor’s lawns, a new approach to hoof care must be taken.  Fortunately there are equine companies that understand the complexities of treating the modern horse and can do so successfully by drawing on the concept of Synergy.

How Synergy benefits the hoof !

Let’s take a particularly difficult situation to treat using the principles of synergy, that of insufficient hoof growth. We know that if our horse were able to run freely at a distance of twenty miles a day like its wild ancestors, this wouldn’t be a problem.  Most horses don’t have that luxury.  We must somehow stimulate the coronary band to produce more collagen and fortunately we can accomplish this by applying copper peptides to this vital area.

Toe Grow GEL stimulates collagen production.

Toe Grow GEL stimulates collagen production.

Copper peptides have been used for years to increase collagen production in skin care products and wound repair.  Fortunately, SBS EQUINE has a copper peptide product called TOE GROW SPRAY or GEL, and when placed on the coronary band it has been shown to have the desired effect of promoting hoof wall growth. When used in conjunction with one of its other nutritional products, however, the synergistic effects of the two products cannot be denied.

Starting Gate Granules

When a horse that is treated with a combination of TOE GROW GEL or Spray and a regimen of STARTING GATE nutritional granules, the results are exponential.  Perhaps it’s the phospholipids that allow for efficient digestion of the building blocks of collagen or its preventing of equine ulcers, we cannot be sure, but what we do know is that the products work together synergistically to benefit the hoof.

Just as we have put modern horses in a position to be less healthy than their undomesticated ancestors, we also have the intellectual capacity to treat them.  Going one step further utilizing the concept of Synergy, we can come up with more than a treatment, we can come up with a solution.

What does the future of hoof care look like?

SBS EQUINE is beta-testing a new system that incorporates two products and technologies that work synergistically to improve the hoof condition better than either one could individually.  The system is called the SBS HOOF BUILDER KIT.  It contains enough material to treat a horse throughout the average “six-week” hoof growth cycle between trimmings.

The Kit includes two components. First are the single serving SBS Hoof-Pac Pellets that contain the vital amino acids, minerals and vitamins most recommended by animal nutritionists.  The second component is TOE GROW GEL which is a copper-peptide complex that’s topically applied at the hairline.  It works like a switch by turning on the receptor cells at the coronet band to increase collagen production and blood flow to the hoof.

The Pellets and GEL complement each other to improve the hoof condition from the inside/out


using both the horse’s digestive system and nervous system.  Results from the beta-testing has shown significant improvement to hooves when used during the six-week hoof growth cycle.  Using the principal of Synergy, the hoof care industry has a new tool to advance hoof care to a new level the way Mother Nature has intended.

For information about the SBS HOOF BUILDER KIT or STARTING GATE Nutritional Granules contact your dealer or, (800) 530-1713.




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Q: How do I know if my horse has white line disease and how do I treat it?
A: White line disease is a chronic breakdown of the hoof wall that usually starts as a splitting at the white line. If left untreated, the entire hoof wall my have to be resected. continued ...
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