Category Archives: Foals & Broodmares

foals & broodmares


Foal trimming should begin at ten days old, as that is when that soft hoof begins to harden and the frog begins to have some profile. Assessment includes observing if the foal has straight legs in front, if the cannon bones are set under the centre of the knees and if the pasterns are in line with the fetlocks. If at this age the front legs are straight that is great, and hopefully mother and foal are in an area that has some wear factor under their footing and Mother Nature can keep those foals hooves trimmed level to ensure that the good straight legs remain that way. For foals which at ten days old do not have straight leg conformation, the hoof wall will have already begun to bend either to the inside or the outside to compensate for this condition. This bend or flare in the hoof wall must be removed so that the leg now stands straight; if it is not corrected at this stage, it will cause the hoof capsule and the lower joints to rotate even more out of line. These foals … Continue Reading ››


With the new season’s foals growing fast, now is an opportune time to get our minds around the subject of training the young horse to be shod. As the breeding and competition standards have become higher over the years, so too has the need to handle our young horses from an earlier age become more important. There is plenty of evidence to show us that most bent leg problems in foals can be corrected by careful attention of the farrier from as early as three weeks after birth; at this age the foals are very easy to hold (close to mum of course) and should then be trimmed regularly to establish a pattern. Because these foals are handled regularly from an early age, shoeing is generally not a problem. But what happens to the foal which has perfect legs from birth? The tendency is often to do nothing with this group, until they are weaned at about six months of age and are much stronger and then need to be halter broken, taught to lead, tie up (using a breeching rope) then have the legs handled and hooves trimmed. To avoid … Continue Reading ››


This is without doubt the most important time for a reminder about hoof care in respect to mares and foals, and the old saying that prevention is better than cure comes to the fore.

As they approach foaling, mares carry a lot of extra weight and can suffer from hoof abscesses; the greatest majority of these are totally preventable if we just know what to look for. Abscesses occur in predictable places in the hoof, either in the front part of the sole, or the bar area near the heel. Often we make the mistake of just paddock trimming the mares during the year, whereas we should realise that it is extremely important to trim the hoof for soundness whenever it’s done.

An understanding of hoof anatomy and function shows that the horse requires a concave sole, no bar pressure on the ground, no flares in the outer hoof wall and an even weight-bearing hoof wall on the ground with slightly bevelled outer edges. Invariably we tend to leave too much thickness in the … Continue Reading ››


Natural athletic ability is born into all horses: true or false? By the time we get to start training the young horse either on the ground or under saddle, we are sometimes quite convinced that this has to be the clumsiest animal ever bred, while the next one may appear to be totally the opposite.

The simple fact is that sadly, by the time many of our young horses are old enough to do anything with, they have had little or no attention by way of corrective hoof trimming, so we begin their education already way behind the eight ball.

To avoid this dilemma is really quite simple; we need to start looking at their legs and hooves as early as possible and be able to recognise any irregularities in the alignment of bone structures or crooked feet. We then need to begin to put in place a programme of preventative maintenance to be sure the young horse ends up with straight legs … Continue Reading ››