Start the new year by questioning when a foal should have its first trim.
If we discuss the beneficial aspect of early intervention in preventing conformation or a long-term postural stance that influences the acceptable locomotion of the equine, then there would be no better place to start than at birth.
As horse owners we ought to be placing much more significance on ensuring that, from shortly after birth, our foals are given the best possibility of maintaining a good quality of life and longevity by initiating regular trimming and health care programs.
When achieving these goals of foal longevity, we need to consider when to do a foal’s first trim with many different factors that can influence the structural integrity of the muscular-skeletal system of the foal. When do we start to trim our new foals and, therefore, the flow on the other unique and complex individual functional components that make up a balanced foal?
The key to foal structural soundness is early diagnosis and appropriate intervention to minimize deviations and dysfunctional systems in the foal.
Some foals are born with structural issues such as major or minor leg or hoof deviations and upper torso compensation patterns. In severe cases, foals may require early intervention by a veterinarian and may well require surgery. These structural issues may be a symptom of what has occurred in utero or difficulties experienced during or after birth. It is critical that shortly after birth, the foal is checked and, in the days following, monitored for any deviations in the developing structures.
Have you ever stopped and considered that when the foal is first born, it is suddenly in a different environment where it can feel its body weight and the forces of gravity pushing on that body? Therefore, these sensations of feeling are its neurological system sending information around its body, trying to form a viewpoint of awareness and appreciation of the environment it suddenly finds itself in; the foal is now conscious of its body and the fact that it is driven to stand up quickly and move to preserve its life.
As the newborn foal starts to stand, it has no concept of balance or how to achieve a balanced stance or maintain postural locomotion. As owners, this is the time in our foal’s life that we can help achieve a healthy and happy outcome for the adult horse we wish to ride in the future.
The foal can be made to feel better in the short term by applying different shoes or strategies. However, long-term health will only be achieved with functional biomechanics, allowing the neuro-muscular system to respond optimally to the orthopaedic stance of the foal. In severe cases, this is a long, slow process. However, as the treatment continues, the external pathology signs of the hoof returning to normal ought to be apparent. Remember, the foal is experiencing everything for the first time. You influence the neurological and muscular-skeletal systems; they experience that for file.
What happens in the past influences the future; let you be the one who positively influences their future. Ask the questions so you can have a clear picture of what is happening to your newborn foals.