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20: The Benefits of Vitamin C for Horses and their Hooves
Episode 2020th February 2024 • Healing Horses with Elisha • Elisha Edwards
00:00:00 00:26:27

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Today, I focus on vitamin C, one of my favorite nutrients. 

Vitamin C is super handy. It is not a miracle cure, but I have seen it work wonders for horses, so it is worth remembering. 

In this episode, I explain how and when to use Vitamin C. Most people use it to boost the immune system, but it is also great for keeping horse hooves healthy, so that is what we explore today.

Stay tuned to find out why Vitamin C is the one nutrient you should always keep close at hand.

Winter Laminitis and Hoof Health 

People often ask me questions about managing winter laminitis, pain, and inflammation in horses. While Vitamin C is not a direct anti-inflammatory, it stands out among nutrients for its versatility. It is essential for hoof repair and recovery, making it a staple for any tack room. When owners understand the importance of hoof trimming and do not rely only on supplements, they can better address chronic laminitis and hoof pain.

The Importance of Understanding Hoof Health 

Horse owners must know what a healthy hoof looks like and understand trimming techniques. Studying a horse's hooves can be complicated, but it is helpful. So rather than only relying on supplements or medications, it is far better for owners to learn about the long-term benefits of maintaining hoof health. 

Nutritional Considerations for Hoof Health

Although trimming issues can contribute to hoof pain, nutrition also plays a significant role. While minerals like selenium, biotin, zinc, and copper often get discussed for horses, Vitamin C tends to get overlooked because horses are able to produce it naturally. However, several issues, including stress, emotional strain, toxicity, inflammation, and various illnesses, may increase the demand for Vitamin C.

Understanding Vitamin C Deficiency 

Contrary to popular belief, horses can become deficient in Vitamin C, leading to various health issues. Soft soles, chronic bruising, and poor wound healing are common signs of a Vitamin C deficiency. By recognizing symptoms like fatigue, weakness, chronic infections, and swollen joints, horse owners can identify the potential deficiencies and address them accordingly.

Vitamin C and Hoof Health 

Vitamin C plays an essential role in collagen formation, and collagen is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the hoof wall and blood vessel walls. Vitamin C deficiencies can lead to weakened hooves, bruising, and slow wound healing. Supplementing with ascorbic acid can help to address the those deficiencies and promote overall hoof health.

Supplementation and Management 

When supplementing with vitamin C, you should start with a low dose and monitor how the horse responds. While Vitamin C can be helpful for therapeutic use, it is necessary to approach long-term supplementation with caution to avoid disrupting the mineral balance. Also, remember that when you supplement with Vitamin C, you need to balance it with other nutrients, like selenium, for optimal equine health.


Understanding the multi-faceted role of Vitamin C in hoof health is essential for horse owners. When owners can recognize the signs of a Vitamin C deficiency and supplement appropriately, it can go a long way in helping to support their horses' overall well-being. Always remember to approach supplementation cautiously and prioritize a holistic approach toward equine health and nutrition.

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