Turning a penguin pony into to a BYRDS star!
Horsemart reader and blogger Charley Crocker explains how the early intervention of her farrier helped her pony foal stand straight later on.
Our third homebred foal, Grayash Smokey Blue was born two weeks early, and we noticed, in his shaky first attempts to stand and feed, that his fore feet, in fact his forelegs, appeared to turn outwards. During the next couple of days he managed to walk, but earned to nickname ‘penguin’ because of his strange stance, especially evident when he was standing squarely.
Obviously many foals, to some degree, experience a similar problem, but this generally corrects itself naturally as the necessary muscles develop, and the foal becomes more adept at carrying their own weight.
However with Smokey, the problem was so pronounced we called in our farrier, Mike Williams. Mike is actively involved in remedial therapy, and after inspection he decided the foal would benefit from some help. Several weeks later Smokey was fitted with special plastic shoes. These were glued in place and specially designed to encourage development in the correct areas, thus eventually helping to straighten the ‘penguin’ stance.
Mike and his team were excellent, and when the shoes came off, Smokey received regular trimming to ensure all was well. As a two year old we were able to show Smokey at county level, and when he reached four he was broken and sold. Since then he has competed (and won!”) Internationally, taking many talented young riders through BYRDS and beyond. As an amusing footnote, we were pleased to see on one test sheet the judge had noted ‘Pony has exceptional straight action....” Clearly none of this would have been possible without the early intervention and it just goes to show farriery is not just a case of putting on a set of shoes!
A huge amount of study and science is required to understand how to correctly balance a horse’s feet, and we are lucky to continue to have Mike as our farrier today. Although we haven’t ever had another case as extreme as Smokey, we have had several youngsters who have benefited from his expertise. The latest went on to be awarded a third premium at the Sport Horse Gradings...
For more information, or to contact Mike and his team www.thefarrierypractice.com.
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