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START EARLY AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Simon Curtis, shown here during the International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio, says farriers need to start seeing foals and evaluating them when they are no more than a month old.
Hoof care for foals is really a matter of getting things started on the right foot, according to Simon Curtis, the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Famer from Newmarket, England.
“What a farrier can do for a foal in the early part of its life is to help improve its conformation,” he says. “There are lots of things you can do at a young age that will help prevent these faults from ever occurring.”
These faults, according to Curtis, fall into two main categories: medial-lateral deformities and flexural deformities, although occasionally there will be a deformity that is a combination of the two.
To deal with these deformities, Curtis emphasizes, “We need to know what we’re looking at.”
“We have to bear in mind that horses are not two-dimensional objects that we only look at from the front and the side,” he warns.
Curtis begins by assessing the foal statically, or standing still.
“Be sure you have a good situation to do that in,” he says. “We can’t really assess foals in a paddock or on a rough road. We need some good facilities. It doesn’t have to be a palace, but we need a good level area, about 30 yards by 5 or 6 yards. We need enough area to walk the foal…