Early Trimming In Foals
RSS Feeds Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The old saying “no hoof, no horse” is true over the entirety of a horse’s life.  As a breeding farm, it is our responsibility to ensure foals go on to their future athletic careers with the best foundation possible.  Early corrective trimming is one of the building blocks for establishing soundness and longevity.

                Typically, our farrier looks at our foals within their first week or two of life.  From there, we begin a twice-monthly trimming routine that continues throughout the first year of life.  Most of the time there are no real issues present and the farrier’s main job is to keep the foal balanced and growing correctly with light squaring of the hooves.  Often, conformational faults detected at birth are fixed just by giving the horse time to grow.  For example, a foal that toes out at birth might become more correct as their chest widens and their whole leg rotates inwards.  Similarly, a foal with long pasterns might be very lax at birth, but within a few weeks to months straightens as the foal gets stronger with age.  At each trimming, our farriers watch our foals walk alongside their dams and make notes of anything they see or predict will happen.  They can come back and look at their notes during each trimming to monitor progress.

Sometimes, a foal might need extra intervention to avoid any future conformational problems.  Slight toeing in or out that might worsen with time can be avoided by rasping down one side of the foot.  The hoof will grow and turn towards the longer side.  If more correction than simple trimming is needed, tools such as Equilox Extensions can be used.  Equilox is a resin that sticks to the hoof and can be shaped as required to encourage growth.  In the most extreme cases, a vet may be called in to evaluate the foal and surgery could be considered.

Thankfully, most issues can be corrected with early intervention.  We’ve got a strong team of farriers and vets that help us care for our horses and give them a sound start for their athletic futures.

 A foal shown with a hind limb deformity.

Improvement after one month and with an Equilox Extension on the outside of the left hind.

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