Trimming The Feet On Your Baby Colts
- March 3, 2018
- Mykal Kirkpatrick
There’s nothing cuter than a baby horse…until it’s time to trim the feet on said baby horse. Sometimes we wonder if the benefits of trimming outweigh the effort of the battle of man versus tiny beast.
I sat down with my husband, Dennis Kirkpatrick, and Joe Plymale, both farriers, to get their take on the situation. They both echoed the same sentiment; by trimming early, taking that baby toe back, and the points down, we are setting each colt up for future soundness.
“We are working to promote natural hoof growth by encouraging the use of the back of the foot,” said Kirkpatrick. Taking the colt’s conformation and environment are important factors to consider. A colt that is spending a lot of time in a corral setting or a wet, soft environment is going to need more scheduled maintenance, whereas a colt in hard, dry ground is going to do a little more of his own filing, and we may only have to knock his heels down every once in awhile. “The foot will tell us what it needs,” states Plymale.
In addition to the hoof health aspect, we also need to be mindful of the benefits of the colt being handled properly. Making this a good experience with as little stress as possible will pay great dividends in the long run. Plymale says, “I try to be as quiet and consistent as I can be and always have a handler that knows what is going on.
If it’s a foal that is still on its momma, I’ll try to use her as a block.
Don’t expect too much for too long; it’s a lot of pressure, so there has to be a lot of release for the baby by putting his foot down fairly often. Humans are supposed to be the smart ones, so any way we can make it easier and less stressful, we should do that.”
About Mykal Kirkpatrick
I am a self-proclaimed jack of all trades, master of none, (but oftentimes better than a master of one). Growing up with a ranching and ag background prepared me for the life my husband of nearly 23 years and I have built together. ...