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Friday, April 20, 2012

Life's Small Moments: Zenyatta's First Foal's First Trim Is the Privilege of Dr. Scott Morrison

Photo by Alys Emson/Lane's End
Farriers really get a feel for their work when they give a foal its first trim. It's a new experience for a young horse. Foals are known to twist and turn and flip and strike and paw with those tiny hooves, which become sharp little hammers at the end of surprisingly powerful little legs.

They don't mean to hurt anyone, they're just not sure what's going on. They'll climb up over your back. They'll want to be able to see their mothers. The mare will want to be able to see her foal. You have to get the sightlines right and you have to work fast. Then it's on to the next one, knowing you have a date with the chiropractor already scheduled in your book.

And guess what? You're going to need it.

But what if the foal you have to trim next is the most photographed, most written about, and most beloved little Thoroughbred in the whole world? What if his mother was the world-class mare who won just as many hearts as she won dollars?

That's what happened to Scott Morrison DVM of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. He spends a lot of time at Lane's End Farm in Versailles, Kentucky, but the other day, he might have taken just a little bit longer to check out the foal who bounces along at the side of 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta.

Photo by Alys Emson/Lane's End
How does he look? Zenyatta's pride and joy, who is a son of the hot sire Bernardini, was walked up and down the stall row so Dr Morrison could evaluate his conformation and foot landing patterns. Notice that the barn aisle floor is constructed of non-slip pavers in a herringbone pattern. Not only are they safe for the mares and foals, but they also have an interesting sound effect. There's not as much ring or echo as you'd hear some flooring. Each hoofbeat offers an audible, distinguished tap. Checking foals means using your ears as well as your eyes.

Photo by Alys Emson/Lane's End
Maybe just a touch more off the outside...Baby Z has an interesting little color pattern on his coronet which means that his hooves may be a mixture of black and white horn when he is older. Zenyatta has a similar pattern.

I congratulated Scott on being the first to lay a rasp on Baby Z's hooves. He agreed that it was special to work at Lane's End and on this particular foal.

Photos for this article are courtesy of Alys Emson at Lane's End Farm; reprinted here with full permission of the photographer, Lane's End Farm and Team Zenyatta. Thanks!

In honor of trimming Zenyatta's foal, Dr. Morrison wrote an article about Thoroughbred foal feet and their care for Zenyatta's blog. The last time I checked, the article had 729 comments.

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Heidi Meyer said...

Wish we could keep em bare :)

Gay Scheibl said...

I am very interested in basing a painting or two on the equine images published by Alys Emson. I am having trouble locating contact info on this photographer to ask permission. The photographs are wonderful.

thank you for your assistance. gay

Fran Jurga said...

Hi, Gay, have you contacted Lane's End Farm? That's the only thing I can think of, other than Google and facebook?