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Baby Steps

Don’t think because they’re young they don’t need attention: These farriers and equine vets say the early days are the most important when it comes to foot health


THE REAL KEY. Scott Kimbel says it is critical to fully understand the relationship between form and function when working with foals.

Believe it or not, there are some people in this world who think that a horse’s foot health doesn’t need attention until it needs shoes. Whatever your philosophy on the subject, these three footcare professionals would beg to differ. 

In a collaborative presentation at the first annual International Hoof-Care Summit, farrier Scott Kimbel and equine veterinarians Stephen O’Grady and Bob Hunt delivered valuable advice, tips and guidance when it comes to caring for foals at what they believe is the most influential and critical age of the horse.

Scott Kimbel, Frankfort, Ky. 

  • Balance, Balance, Balance. “The three most important points to remember about trimming foals are balance, balance, balance,” Kimbel begins. “That’s because we balance in three different planes. The X balance is the medial lateral balance, the Y balance is the flare-in, flare-out of the foot along the ground surface, and the Z balance being anterior posterior or the pitch of the foot.” 
  • What Is Balance? Kimbel explains that balance is the correct form or proper hoof angle and alignment of the foot with the limb. “The reason we balance is to gain a uniformity of pressure forces on the bottom of the foot,” he says. “It lets the foot and limb function properly and lets the animal do what we’re asking it to do, not only in the short term, but in the long-term period of…
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