California Riding Magazine • June, 2012

California Trace
Mineral supplement creates
heyday for hoof health.

It was a happy/sad day recently when Sally Hugg finally took her farrier tools out of her truck. The long-time hoof care practitioner hasn't had time to care for the feet of clients' horses for some time. But she has only herself to blame. Since formulating the supplement, California Trace, about eight years ago, fulfilling growing demand for it has left her barely enough time to care for the hooves of her own horses, says the Butte County horsewoman.

Made of concentrated trace minerals and vitamins, California Trace was initially created for Sally's own horses, in particular a Thoroughbred rescue whose overall health and, in particular, his hooves, were in extremely sad shape.

"We already knew there was a connection between poor hoof quality and diet, so the key was finding out what was missing in our horses' diet that would affect their feet," Sally says of California Trace's origins. With a research assist from UC Davis, analysis of West Coast hay, and especially that grown in California, revealed a high iron content and deficiencies in copper, zinc and selenium. The high iron content, Sally notes, compounds the problem because iron interferes with the body's ability to absorb what zinc and copper the locally-grown hay contains.

California Trace's first test horse, Robo Cop,
before (1st photo) and after (2nd photo) receiving the supplement.

"Going by the average hay analysis, we determined how much copper and zinc were needed, accounting for the high iron, and came up with a custom supplement that I originally intended only for my own horses," Sally relays. She also made it available to clients in her hoof care business and before long, word-of-mouth put Sally in a whole new business. The only downside was having to shutter her hoof care business due to lack of time.

California Trace has become popular well beyond its state of origin. "We have customers all over the United States and even in Europe and South Africa," Sally says. It turns out the West Coast is not the only area with hay that has too much iron and not enough of the other minerals. The East Coast has an even bigger problem with high iron hay and a hay analysis for a client in South Africa determined that "their hay looked just like it was grown in Central California," Sally says.

"The results we were getting were really quite astounding," Sally reports. She wasn't surprised after seeing its effect on the Thoroughbred she adopted through TB Friends. "He was 3, but he was so malnourished he looked like a runty 2-year-old. His coat texture was like cotton candy and he was just in really bad shape overall." As California Trace's first test horse, Robo Cop is now the growing company's poster boy.

"We've used it on horses whose feet were too sore to go barefoot, and within a few months they were completely sound and able to walk down a gravel driveway barefoot without pain." Hoof wall separation and thrush are just a few of the issues that California Trace helps to clear up, Sally reports. It also boosts coat condition and supports the immune system.

Hunter/jumper trainer Liz Gioja uses California Trace on her own horses and recommends it to her clients at her Pair Of Aces Stables near Reno. "Every show horse gets them as part of their routine diet. Each and every horse on the minerals is unbelievably healthy with coats that glow, and their performance results have been amazing, taking home blue and championship ribbons at virtually every show. My Warmblood stallion is competing in the jumper ring and has yet to take a bad step in any kind of footing. The minerals give my horses what they need to outperform the competition."

California Trace is formulated for horses with the relatively light workload of mostly recreational use. New on the market is California Trace Plus, designed for horses in training for competitive careers in any discipline. The new product contains higher levels of zinc and copper and also includes probiotics to improve digestion.

California Trace is available through the company's website or from dealers around the country. For more information, visit or call 877-632-3939.