When applying glue-on shoes to foals’ feet, farriers might be tempted to ask a veterinarian to sedate the young one. During the last few years, the author almost never needed to sedate a foal to glue on shoes.
It is a question of how to interact with the young patients. Even foals that have little experience with handling by humans usually behave well when the assistants and environment fulfill the demands of a calm and relaxed treatment of the foals.
It is absolutely contradicting to tightly lock and fixate the patients. They become scared and want to escape the situation. It is also not helpful to lift the legs too high and without freedom. The foals can hardly balance themselves and will not cooperate. Hold the limb shortly over the hoof, go with the movement of the foals and just in the moment of applying the shoe it needs to hold still. While the glue is hardening, it can move the limb as long as it does not run away. In some cases, a licking bowl can help to distract the foal. Usually, it is enough if one person holds the foal at the halter and one person is just standing behind it to limit the range of motion.
Foals younger than 1 week can be laid down in the stall with a cover over the eyes and two persons holding it. Small foals, not able to stand because of the limb deformity, can be supported by using a dog harness to gently lift it. Or they can be placed on the lap of a sitting person with the legs hanging free.
Whatever you do, be gentle, calm and patient with the foals.
- Managing Clubfoot in Foals: Proper handling and care is necessary for efficient and successful results.
- Understand When to Use Direct and Indirect Glue-On Shoes: Horses with compromised hoof wall and sole benefit the most from the applications.
- Glue-On Shoes: Strategies, Myths and FAQ.