It’s that time! Baby Z just had his feet trimmed for the first time. Dr. Scott Morrison is the farrier that trims all foals and yearlings at Lane’s End. He is a veterinarian who specializes in podiatry, and he was kind enough to write this piece explaining the importance of foot management in young horses. Thank you Dr. Morrison!
The Horses foot provides several functions such as support, shock absorption, traction and proprioception (ability to feel the ground and negotiate limb position). In the foal however the foot also plays an important role in limb development.
At birth the hoof is covered with a soft, feathery unpigmented tissue called the perinychium. This tissue forms a soft covering to prevent the hard hoof capsule from piercing or damaging the mares’ reproductive tract during gestation and the birthing process. This tissue quickly dries out and is worn away during the first couple days after birth.
The newborn hoof is fairly soft and pliable compared to a mature horses hoof. But over the first month it dehydrates and matures to more closely resemble that of an adult horses hoof. The newborn hoof is also perfectly symmetrical at birth. Over time the hoof changes shape in response to the forces above. Limb conformation dictates the shape of the developing hoof. The foal’s hoof goes through various shape changes during the first several months of age. These shape changes closely follow changes in limb conformation and posture.
The hoof is designed to serve as a protective barrier for internal sensitive structures as well as provide a base of support and leverage for proper bone, tendon and ligament development. Therefore the shape and integrity of the hoof can have a significant effect on the development of these structures. The relationship between limb conformation and hoof shape plays an integral role in the conformational development of the growing horse. Therefore, maintaining a healthy hoof and intervening with special foot management when necessary, is important in the development of the young horse’s limb.
Routine, proper trimming is the most important element of the foal foot management program. Maintaining a healthy balanced foot is the goal. Simply preventing a foot from breaking up or becoming misshapen or distorted will go a long way in promoting proper limb development. However some foals, in spite of routine proper hoof trimming will have a tendency to develop a crooked limb. In these instances shoes or extensions can be used to provide additional support and influence the forces on the growth plates and encourage straightening of the limb.
The first trim is usually done at one month of age. But the foal’s feet should be handled and cleaned daily; this will make the first experience with the farrier less stressful. Typically trimming at 3-4 week intervals is sufficient for most foals. If there is a tendency for the limb to grow crooked or with an angular deformity, the hoof may need to be trimmed more often to prevent the hoof from developing a distortion or adverse shape in response to the abnormal forces, often a 2 week trim schedule is then recommended. Various shoes can be used to help a hoof support various developmental abnormalities such as: club foot syndrome (contractures), weak tendons (laxity) and angular deformities.
-Scott E Morrison, DVM
AWWW Baby Z and Queen Z are too cute!! :)
OMG look how big he is already!
Check out those ears !! His legs look like stilts. I love the white spot on his head. It looks like the side view of a polar bear.
It is a polar bear…how funny!
Polar bear is cool; one of Bernardini’s ancestors was Nearctic. Polar bears live in the “arctic”, so I guess Baby Z wants to show everybody his heritage.
He’s gotten so big already! Such a beauty!!!
Baby Z is beautiful Wow!
Very informative article, thanks for posting! But seriously, that man that works at Lane’s End must have the BEST job in the world! How lucky is he to be looking after Zenyatta and her adorable colt!!! :-)
Thank you for the news on Zenyatta and 12 Zenyatta. Keep the pictures coming!
Jane in Seattle
He sure has Mom’s ears! In one picture, they are trimming his hooves on the bricks, in another they seem to be in a stall. Is there a reason for moving? Thanks for all this great information =-)
They probably moved him out of the stall and into the hallway where there was a flat surface, so they could see if they had him standing right and if each hoof was level and trimmed as it should be. Hard to tell if they’re standing in straw.
If one hoof was not even with the others, they’d have to tape a matchbook to it so he wouldn’t wobble. (tee-hee)
Foals attention spans are pretty limited, so they were probably just trying to keep him focused and giving him little breaks. Plus the first trim tends to be a bit of a fit, though he doesn’t seem to be fidgeting too much in these pictures!
Maybe they started in the stall and the colt was so good that they moved him out onto the bricks (which are probably rubber and have great traction) so they could see what the hoof looked like without the straw in the way.
Or yeah, he could have gotten bothered and they moved to the stall. Either way, looks like he is handling it like a champ. I am sure they are extra careful with this famous little guy….
They want to do things with him in all environments so he is used to having his
hooves picked and taken care of in his stall and also the hall of the barn is where
the farrier usually trims and shoes horses.
All of these environmental changes are to help his to adapt to humans and the things
he will need to have done to him by humans to stay healthy and happy.
Patricia/Far northern CA
And don’t forget, this little guy has been handled from birth, and having his feet picked up and “messed with” is a part of that very early work. My foals used to go on a lead, have feet picked up, and ears and mouth handled by 2 days, all done just by one person— me. Get ’em while they’re little and don’t know their strength, and the lessons are learned pretty much painlessly for everyone. Mine routinely had cloths and baling twine and other stuff draped over their necks and backs and their tummies rubbed— and I never had a cinchy or head-shy one and they were ALWAYS good for the farrier or the vet or whoever… especially moi!!!
I’m not surprised this colt is so good… look where he is, and look who Mom is… what a great mother she is.
Work has been busy, I haven’t been able to visit as often, hope all are well.
Sally B. (cherish Z- Wi.)
Thanks Patricia for your imput. Aw, you shared some very special moments with those young ones!
WoW, you are absolutely correct and how wonderful all that drapping across their back gets them ready early for the saddle. Thanks for sharing personal experience.
Yes, an every thing Lane End staff is doing is to make him a good race
horse and to understand and trust humans; Zenny looks on as a proud new mom, just wondering what all this is about.
They are not doing thing according to his personality wants horse emotions.
They are speaking “horse” to him to get him to do the things he needs to do to be a successful race horse. He does not have any unwarranted emotions because they are speaking”horse” and he understand because mom taught
Sally B. (cherish Z- Wi.)
Wish I was as knowledgeable as you. I just never was fortunate enough to have one.
Ann Maree / Tennessee
How very informative and so interesting! Thank you Dr. Morrison. I recently purchased a book on equine conformation, and the section on a horse’s feet is quite detailed, but your explanation adds a lot to my understanding of this very complex issue. Thanks, Lane’s End and Team Z for the updated pictures! Love how Z is really looking at the proceedings with a lot of interest. No doubt having Momma close by helped Baby Z stay calm. Such a wonderful experience watching this precious life grow and develop. Hugs to all.
Kathy R. Canberra Oz.
Agree with all you said, Ann Maree! Wonderful to see more pictures of Mum and little Z.
The baby horses born here in the wild mustang herds typically do 5-8 miles the first day on their legs.. their hooves are amazingly strong and eating only wild grasses, they are not as prone to hoove disease. Wish the racing industry would pay more attention to barefoot and the longterm benefits – as well as the nutritional value of staying away from high sugar content hay – and grass, espcially for the older retired race horses
Carmela B/Pasadena CA
Good advice…the more natural the feed & environment, the better. But these guys (TB’s that is) live in anything but a natural environment. And working horses, like my 2, have very different needs from each other–my old QH is still giving daily lessons to little kids & needs more protein than he would get from just grass, so he gets alfalfa/grass mix & a senior mix as well. My Shire cross who packs me around is an easy keeper…he gets slightly less than the rest of his barnmates, and he’s keeping good weight. He’s got excellent feet, so far…my QH, not so much but it’s that QH thing & heredity more than anything else.
No appropriate for race horses to be barefoot; job they do requires shoes; off track work may be fine, but I doubt you seen any grand prix horse of any discipline without shoes or barefoot. The more work they do and the harder they work they need shoes to keep their feet in good order.
Thank you..very informative!! Could that baby get more handsome!!?? What a beauty!!
Stephanie in San Diego
He looks great and so does the Best Mama ever!! Thanks for the update.
janie from Massachusetts
Just love seeing him grow … thank you for the pictures and look at Mom keeping an eye on everything …… Thanks again ….. janie
Thanks for the info and pix, very informative.
Patrick D. Varricchio
So darn cute.
Looks like 12 Zenyatta handled it all in stride! And mama Z was there to watch everything closely. Thanks for the article – I learned a lot!
They probably moved Baby Z because it is his first trim and he was probably a bit nervous with the feel of the rasp on his hoof. They probably didn’t want him to slip on the bricks and hurt himself. He’ll get used to it over time. They’ll be patient, they are the best of the best!
That was sure very informative I had no idea that the foals would need to have their hooves trimmed so early. Thank you Zenyatta you are a good teacher.
That’s so cute that Zenny is right there with him to make sure they are doing it right!!
And yes, he is getting soooo big, gonna be as big as Momma soon! And those ears!!
Wonderful, informative article–thank you, Dr. Morrison, for taking the time to write it for us. Baby Z is growing by leaps and bounds–please keep the pictures coming!
im very impressed on the detial of hoof trimming ty!! so how long is going to be b4 this baby has his own name? maybe Baby Z would work! i can hear the post calling him now <3
LauraJ (Cincinnati OH)
That’s up to the Mosses. They may already have a few possible names picked out for him. However, they don’t have to name him officially until he is ready to start racing.
I think they will no the colt like they do all of their
Other horses. Zenny did not have a name while
She was in training. It is good to wait and see how they
Develop and what their personality racing style is.
Rachel’s colt does not have a name either.
He is just the cutest thing, he’s getting so big and filling out nicely.
Yes I wonder what weight he is at now? He looks much bigger. oh so Cute!
sharon in seattle
many thanks for such interesting information. Love to see Zenyatta watching everything with what seems to be a mix of curiosity and motherly concern!! The pictures are great!
Oh, boy, Mom is sure watching this carefully! Look at her eyes and ears fixated on every move! That is just too cute. And little Z-12 is so darn cute. Look at those long legs. He is going to be a big boy!
Over the weekend I visited my friends Bill and Lill Nichols at Mare’s Nest Thoroughbred Farm in Wilton, Ca. One of the mares there who recently foaled and her baby were in a small paddock for some outside time. The paddock was adjacent to another paddock that held a 5-year-old mare. The foal (a filly) kept wanting to go over to the fenceline where the curious 5-year-old mare was hanging out. That mother horse was absolutely adamant that her foal stay away from that other adult horse. She put on quite a “cutting horse” demonstration to keep that filly away from the fence, along with what sounded like a growling sound produced by grinding her teeth as a warning. She did it to me as well when I hung out by the fence. I thought that poor mare was going to exhaust herself trying to herd her little one. Later when we came back, the baby was exhausted and lying on the ground. It was quite a show of motherhood. J
The Kennedys in San Diego
Love your account — what a fascinating observation.
Barbara Wood (Texas)
Fascinating! Our Money was 9 when we got him, so I know nothing whatsoever about foals.
sharon in seattle
with an eye for the camera, too !!!!!
What a GOOD boy he was! He sure is growing up to look like his gorgeous mother and I agree with everyone here in saying that Lane’s End Farm is the epitome of what a breeding facility SHOULD be!! Thank you SO much for taking such good care of this “dynamic duo”…..
So nice to see new pic’s of Z and 12Z. Good grief, those ears, those ears! Just like mom’s. He really does look big for his age. He may be one that isn’t raced until the end of his third year just like mom. Thanks LE for the update. We all love it!
HOW CUTE!!!!!!!!! LOVE TOO YOU BOTH. HAVE A BEAUTIFUL DAY…………………..
Thank you for this update.
He is growing and will be a MONSTER. He is HUGE.
Z is such a great Mom. I love her keeping a tabs on the operation too.
OMG…he is getting so big and look at those long legs just like his Mommy…Sweet Z attentively looks on…we love and miss you soooooo much..thanks for sharing these wonderful photos
Jan S. / Houston
Thank you Dr. Morrison for the very interesting information. Mama Z is really keeping her eyes on her boy. Mamma and Z boy are looking healthy and happy. His ears look bigger than hers.. ;) xoxo.
The Kennedys in San Diego
My reaction as well — his ears do appear larger.
I was thinking the same thing. LOL
Chiming in on parts that look alike.
In the photo where Zenyatta & Z 12 are walking towards Dr. Morrison,
I noticed how similar their front knees look.
There were comments in an earlier blog about the size & position of the knees of baby Z knees–even some concerns.
Looks like baby Z inherited big Z legs.
Jan S. / Houston
I was wondering about little Z’s knees too. Are they suppose to look that way!
Wonderful update! Wow..the kid is getting soo big! And does she ever have the “eye” on the farrier! Great pics and great information! Thanks!