Windswept foal

The windswept foal

By Andrew Poynton FWCF

An angular Limb deformity (ALD) is usually only found in hind limbs where the foal has been in a less than ideal position for a prolonged period in the womb. So, say the left hind has a varal deviation making the limb bow outward and the other limb bows inward, a valgal deviation. While mild cases are likely to straighten up in time unaided, more pronounced examples benefit from farriery intervention. In a week post-parturition, or at most two, it should be obvious if a foal needs help.

In this case, a lateral extension was required on the left hind to inhibit the outward bow and rolling of the hoof and, conversely, the opposite – a medial extension – was required for the right hind.
Complete correction of this condition can take longer to effect ideal anatomical conformation than when treating flexural limb deformity (FLD). Repeating the process should ideally take place after around three weeks and, as the foal’s feet are growing exponentially, care must be taken to preserve the foot too.

Windswept at approximately 3 weeks old.
Windswept foal before treatment, at approximately 3 weeks old.
Sedated foal Imprint shoes fitted with lateral and medial extensions.
Sedated, recumbent for safety. Imprint shoes with lateral and medial extensions fitted.

It is astute too, if the process is needed, to be repeated more than once, to leave the shoes/extensions off for a couple of weeks to allow for the feet to have freedom to expand so that no lasting injury occurs, and then resume treatment if required.

In this example, Imprint Foal shoes were fitted with a lateral extension on the left foot and a medial extension prefabricated from Imprint Hoof Repair on the right foot. This case took 3 months to correct.

Quick tips

• If while the extension/shoe is in place, more material is needed on the extension, then some additional Imprint Hoof Repair can be heated and welded to the existing extension by lightly flaming the surface so that it is tacky and then moulding the two together.
• If the foal is to be walked on hard surfaces, then tungsten pin nails can be embedded in the material to aid grip.
• At any time, the extension and shoe can be rasped to counter the growing hoof.
• Extensions can be modelled with Imprint hoof Repair and Imprint Ultrafast Adhesive in some instances.

Imprint Foal Shoes

Imprint Hoof Repair

Imprint Ultrafast Adhesive

Imprint Freezer

Foal standing with extensions just
Standing with extensions just fitted.
Foal three months later, limbs look
Three months later, limbs look good.

This feature first appeared in Forge Magazine May 2023. © Andrew Poynton FWCF