Class Log: Foal Training - Shoeing

Foal Training - Shoeing and Trimming - Taught by Sr. Apprentice Dalaynia - Aug 17, 1998

Radiating out from the center of the emerald grass of the HerderHall courtyard arms of cobblestones, cleverly fitted together to seem as one, wander towards their destination, meandering 'round trees and bushes. Forming an irregular circle round the courtyard, trees provide shade for the benches placed beneath, creating a center of learning and study for those not wishing to be cooped within the walls of the Hall. Spaces cleared of greenery can be seen, training grounds for the animals within the Hall. The massive entrance arch to the Hall is flanked by a pair of water pumps and troughs.
The small courtyard is well-swept and clean, a credit to the Herder Apprentices.
It is a summer afternoon.
Standing on the stones are Light'ning and Tahira.
On the ledge above the large doorway are Ford, Clover, Caspian, Shine, Ice, Gendo, Asha, and Zusa.
You see HerderCraft Store, Ember, Britan, Dakota, London, and Altei here.
Telarion, Mirra, and Gepard are here.
Obvious exits:
Riding Ring Hold Valley Kennels Main Archway Lower Pastures

Dalaynia smiles as every comes in and Tahira stands there nickering at them. "So how many of you want to learn how to teach a foal to learn to stand for shoeing and trimming?"

Gepard hmms, "I do," she says more excitedly them she meant to say it.

Mirra hovers at the back of the crowd, nodding faintly

Dalaynia smiles and nods as she starts out with some basics first "The foal only spends about four months with the mare until weaned. Overtime, the foal must them learn to become a useful mature runner. The foal is most impressionable during the first two weeks of life. Take advantage of this time by taking an active part in early development, the foal can be shaped for the remainder of it's life."

Qinlo blinks in from ::between::

Dalaynia gives a little pat to Tahira, gently holding on to the lead. "Handle the foals from day one. Please handle the foals enough so they think you're part of their daily life. Be firm only when you need to be, to keep you or the runner from getting hurt. By the time a foal is four weeks old it should lead, stand tied, stand to be groomed, andmost important to those of us who have to trim its feetstand to have its feet picked up. All four feet must be picked up, inspected, and cleaned daily. When time comes for the foal to have his or her feet trimmed, there's no need for a fight."

Mirra bites her lip, thinking, Kirai told her some of this… but only in little bits at a time

Gepard nods letting the info sink in, she always loved runners and wondered why they were usually so good.

Dalaynia continues on in a pleasant manner as Tahira starts to nibble a bit at some weeds and then let them fall back out. "The most important thing to remember when handling foals is to remain calm and relaxed. Runners, especially foals, are quite empathetic. If you are nervous or apprehensive, the foal will become nervous or fearful. Work in a calm methodical manner. The training is best done with two people, a handler and a trainer. However, an experienced person could do it alone."

Dalaynia smiles at the apprentices "Now first off bones are not static. They can be reshaped due to conformation , level of care and diet. Unequal stresses on bone cause unequal growth and repair. Uniform stresses on bone cause uniform growth and repair. Therefore , uniform weight bearing, achieved through regular hoof care, will effect uniform growth and repair. This is true in runners of all ages but is critical in foals."

Telarion yawns, sitting up. He blinks, noticing the sudden gathering. He walks over to listen in on whatever class is going on.

Gepard ohhs silently, this is interesting stuff.

Mirra blinks, frowning as she goes over what was just said, to embarrassed to ask questions

Dalaynia smiles at Telly as he comes over and then catches Mirra's frown. She addresses them all "Remember if you are confused or unsure of something feel free to ask, or get with me after class."

Dalaynia glances at Tahira before she continues on "The pattern of growth can be affected by unequal stresses. By maintaining a balance weight-bearing hoof, uniform stress will affect a uniform growth pattern. Proper hoof care, or the lack of it, can affect the straightness of the foal's limbs until the limbs are fully formed."

Dalaynia smiles softly as Mirra ducks back "The window of opportunity to affect uniform growth in the foal's limbs is short. Capitalize on it by providing a balanced weight-bearing hoof through a regular schedule with a farrier. To produce the maximum effect, it is recommended that the foal be trimmed by one month of age. Furthermore the foal should receive regular trimming every four weeks for a Turn. The yearling could them be switched to a six week schedule. Foals with corrective problems should be scheduled according to their individual needs." Gepard nods and mentally memorizes this, glad she showed up.

Dalaynia shifts her wait a bit as she watches the others "The condition of the foal's feet should be evaluated when the foal is four to six weeks of age. A BeastHealer or farrier is the best source for this appraisal, but if you are independent-minded, here's what to look for. One all four feet should point forward and toe-out just a little. The knee and hock should be in line with the rest of the leg, from the point of the shoulder and the pin bone at the haunches to the bottom of the hoof. Babies often have their knees turn inward or outward, which is normal to an extent. Over-correcting normal toe-out in babies by trimming the hoof lower on the outside often results in pigeon-toed adult horses.

Mirra peers over the shoulder in front of her, perking up for some reason to listen more attentively, but still remains completely silent

Dalaynia continues "Two the point of the frog should be centered in the sole of hoof. The hoof wall at the toe should be the same slope as the pastern when viewed from the side, with the foot on the ground and the horse standing and squared up. When you look at the hoof from the front, the hair line and bottom of the hoof should be horizontal."

Dalaynia smiles as she catches the glimpse of a peering appy "And three, the foal's hoof should look much like a full-grown hoof, just smaller. Take care of any twist or deformity as soon as possible. For this you may need help from a farrier or a BeastHealer. With so many possible problems, and so many ways to solve them, sometimes we all need help from somebody else. For the health of the runner, it's okay to ask.

Mirra's mouth falls a little open at the barrage of information, she has to learn all this? her face pales somewhat

Dalaynia shuffles her notes a bit, as she looks around. "Now to trim the soft baby hoof, all you need are a sharp hoof knife and a rasp. The baby hoof will grow out in 5 to 10 months, to be replaced with stronger hoof growth requiring hoof nippers to be trimmed. Trim the hooves on a regular schedule. Every 4 to 10 weeks is normal, depending on hoof growth and wear. Two important rules: Don't cut the hoof wall deeper than the sole. Don't cut away the sole and frog— only clean up the loose stuff.

Gepard nods, attention transfixed on Dalaynia and the foal.

Telarion blinks, looking to see if anybody can write this stuff down fast enough.

Dalaynia smiles as she watches "Remember If you need something repeated or clarified just ask" with a quick glance at her notes she goes on "Here's a method for picking up the front feet: Run your hand from the neck down the shoulder to the forearm, knee, and cannon bone to the fetlock. Most of the time when you lightly tug the fetlock, the foot will come up. For young runners in training or with stubborn ones, babies or adults, press firmly with the tips of your fingers under the fetlock, just beneath the ergot, then release the pressure when the foot comes up. Most runners will respond to this pressure and give up the foot willingly. Remember that getting the foot off the ground is only half the training. Standing still on three legs to be worked on is the other half. Please practice."

Dalaynia smiles as she goes over to Tahira as she talks. Demonstrating as she explains.

Mirra lowers her head to the notes, trying to catch up on earlier topics as the instructor goes over something she knows…

Nilarie walks in.

Dalaynia strokes Tahira who is being very calm and good about this "On the hind feet, stay close to the runner's side and, with the hand closest to them, run down from the flank to the inside of the cannon bone to the inside of the fetlock. Then pull the foot forward and walk it back. Sometimes the of use slight pressure with your shoulder to shift the runner's weight off the foot you're asking for may be necessary." Luckily the shoulder isn't needed as Tahira's hoof comes right up.

Nilarie wanders into the courtyard. She wanders where you get the pets….spotting the crowd, her eyes light. "Um, hello. Can anyone…." she stands back. This must be a class of some sort.

Telarion lays his head down and falls asleep, muttering about chores and firelizards. Telarion has disconnected.

Nilarie walks to the Kennels.

Dalaynia's eye's follow Nilarie briefly before going on. "While holding the rear leg in your lap, or the front foot between your knees, tap lightly on the hoof with a hammer or stone, as a farrier does while shoeing. This little exercise will get the runner accustomed to the feel and sounds of being shod."

Dalaynia smiles "now there is a four step example on how to accustom the foal, and all go over the steps. It's fairly basic and simple. First pick up the foals foot. Hold it in a position like you were cleaning it . In fact, you could clean it. Hold the foot firmly until the foal relaxes, release the foot if the foal struggles too much and start over. Release the foot."

Gepard nods, going over everything in her mind to make sure it's all covered.

Mirra nods slowly, catching up on all the notes she remembers, oh well, she'll copy someone else's… and watches the demonstration, eyes squinting against the sun

Dalaynia gently lifts up Tahira's forehoof to demonstrate. Tahira looks at her a moment but doesn't seem to mind "Second pick up the same foot. Slap the bottom of the hoof with the palm of your hand or rap with a hoof pick . This is to simulate the farrier working on the hoof. Release the foot." which she does.

Nilarie walks in from the Kennels.

Nilarie steps over the threshold, opening the HerderCraft Store door making the little bell above it tinkle to announce her arrival.

Dalaynia smiles as she once again takes the same hoof "Third, pick up the same foot. Bring the foot forward into the clinching position. Hold the foot firmly until the foal relaxes, again, release the foot if the foal struggles too much and start over. Release the foot."

Nilarie steps out over the threshold, taking care not lose balance on the way out as a frisky firelizard swoops in daringly close.

Dalaynia smiles as she continues what some might think a tedious thing to do "And fourth, pick up the same foot. Bring the foot forward into the clinching position. Slap the sides of the hoof with the palm of your hand or rap with a hoof pick . This is to simulate the farrier rasping and clinching. Release the foot."

Nilarie sighs, and leans against the wall of the store, watching the lesson, waiting. Patiently. Her eyes take in the assortment of firelizards, perched on branches above.

Dalaynia gives Tahira, who has been very good and affectionate stroke down her slender neck and stands. "Repeat this entire process for each limb. As the foal becomes desensitized and tractable, feel free to combine the steps. At first, the constant picking up and releasing of the feet is necessary to teach the foal to give its feet when asked. A good rule of thumb is when the foal gives you its feet freely; start to combine the steps. This training can be done with a runner at any age but I recommend an early start."

Mirra's expression of worry melts quickly, so there /was/ a reason you do the same thing over more than once…

Dalaynia smiles softly as she finishes "We are responsible for the care of our runners from their birth to their death. Good hoof care is one of the most important aspects of keeping a runner healthy. So get up off your rump and go out to the stables and play with your babies."

Mirra laughs faintly, quickly hiding it behind a hand, yet her eyes still sparkle

Dalaynia grins "Now if there are no questions class is dismissed."

Gepard nods walking away and almost walking into Nilarie, "Oh, Hello"

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