You can buy the most interesting pony at auction, but what if he has or gets hung on the feet or legs? Don’t just assume that your farrier will solve this problem. What can breeders and buyers do in cooperation with farriers? Farrier Ramon Koppendraaier from Lichtenvoorde has extensive experience trimming and correcting foals on up to sporting horses. Horse Auctions in Europe asked him six questions
The first question is how old the foal is when Head Turner first looks at it.
“If nothing crazy happens, the farrier comes into the picture when the foal is about two or three months old. That’s the closest age you can do something about it, because the farrier can just cut something off the hoof,” says Coppendraer. “In extreme cases, if the position of the foot or leg is abnormal, you may have to stick a shoe in it, for example. When a foal is born, there is some kind of protection around the hooves. The foot has a slightly odd shape, so the foal cannot kick Uterus. This form will recover on its own, but if it doesn’t go well, the farrier has to do something about it.”
Can you correct the uneven development of the hooves or a severely crooked position?
“It is essential that you are there as soon as possible and that trimming is always done until the situation is normal,” answers Koppendraaier. “This is the easiest way to solve the problem. The later you start with it, the less results you will get. Often the problem is not in the feet, but in the whole leg. The knee may be crooked or one tendon may be longer than the other. See this with a vet” .
Until what age can you do corrective work?
“I prefer farriers to look at the foal a second time when it has just been weaned. It is important that the foals are looked at several times before they go out to pasture as one-year-old mothers, because you can still do as much as possible in the first half of the year. After that, not all are closed The growth plates yet, and everything is still soft and limp,” explains the blacksmith from Lichtenvoorde. “The older the foal, the more difficult it is to make corrections. If corrections are made at a later age, there is a greater chance of joint damage.”
What do you come across often in practice?
“Breeders sometimes worry if a foal is French or if it is running around, but this is not always necessary. If ponies stand with their toes on, they often grow as they get older. Foals have a narrow chest and then the feet outside, so they have more support. As they age, the chest expands, causing the feet to rotate and straighten. This process is almost automatic,” says Coppendraer. “It’s even more annoying if they’re toe-to-toe, because the toes roll more as they grow and the chest expands.”
Uneven feet are usually caused by foals spreading their front legs for grazing. How can you, as a breeder, prevent these “grazing feet”?
“In the first place, make sure the foal gets as much exercise as possible. As the horse grows, the ratio of the neck and legs changes. One minute the legs grow quickly and then the next neck. Then the foal finds it difficult to reach the ground with food and stands legs wide apart. It is important Not having the grass too short, so they don’t have to scratch the ground. If the grass is tall, they also get more nutrition and stand up with their feet spaced out for less,” explains Coppendraer. “The best thing is not to feed the foals on the ground in the stable until they come out to pasture as mothers who are a year old, but higher. On breeding farms, horses are often lower than the feeding alley, so that they stand in order with their feet next to each other when eating. If they have to If they eat off the ground, they are more likely to stand with their preferred foot forward. Uneven feet are almost non-existent on farms fed in this way.”
Do you have any other tips for breeders?
My advice is to get the farrier on time. The farrier often has to come to the older horses anyway, so he can look straight away at the foals. Even if there is nothing to be done, it is wise for the farrier to raise the foal’s feet at once. They also find this exciting because there are strangers with them. This is part of the education for the ponies. People often avoid this, but the more foals find it naturally, the farther will be able to do its job better.”
Source: horse auctions