Given that a broodmare does not produce a tangible return on the owner’s investment for nearly a year, and that she often does little other than eat during that time, the temptation may be to “turn her out” and forget about her. However, this approach is detrimental to the health and welfare of the mare and, in the long term, to the owner’s pocketbook.
“Routine foot care is imperative,” says Raul Bras, DVM, CJF, of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky. “It sounds simple, but some people just don’t take care of it. If you don’t routinely trim a horse, you can’t have a healthy foot. You start having cracks, separations, underrun heels and long toes. Routine footcare is imperative during gestation.”
Chris Gregory, CJF, FWCF, of the Heartland Horseshoeing School in Lamar, Mo., feels that “Broodmares are often neglected in the overall scope of horse ownership. As a result, the best thing would be to tighten up their trimming schedule from once a year to at least every 3 months.”
Gregory says he “did have a customer with about 80 mares that was great with equine husbandry and stayed on top of the hoof care.” In this case, accommodations were made for the mare’s physiologic and size changes during the later parts of gestation.
“The schedule was always worked out so that we did the horses every 8 weeks, but tried not to do them in the last month of pregnancy,” he says.
You can read more about broodmare hoof care in the January/February 2013 American Farriers Journal.