Thoroughbred Hoof Care with FormaHoof – On and off the track
An interview with Sven Targett – Racehorse farrier, Western Australia
Farrier & FCA,
+61 410 687 120
The most common hoof problems of OTTB’s, and TB horses in general, are conformation faults. The pressure high-performance work puts on those horses’ feet often causes their heels to collapse, which can result in long-toes and thin soles, also called flat tyres.
Every OTTB owner knows how challenging thoroughbred feet can be, with endless searching for solutions to provide support and comfort.
We interviewed Sven Targett – a specialist Racehorse farrier from Western Australia – and asked him how he tackles the major problems encountered with TB feet.
New technologies help open minded farriers and owners to step ahead
FormaHoof Q1: Hi Sven, tell us about yourself and your experience.
Sven: I’ve been a Farrier for the last 15 years, shoeing mainly thoroughbred racehorses in that time. I’m constantly being challenged by friends, both in the horse and corporate world, to look at advancing techniques and materials when it comes to shoeing. I think the current advances in technology will be able to help with the care of horses and their feet.
Challenge: Thoroughbred feet
FormaHoof Q2: What are the most common challenges and struggles with TB feet?
One of the things we often struggle with as farriers is working with racehorse’s feet after their racing career is finished. As a Farrier, I think we should all be driven by the question “ can we do better”?
And my quest to find new and better technologies, such as FormaHoof, definitely fits as an answer to that question!
We have had multiple horses finish their racing careers with flat, crushed heels. This can lead to negative palmer/planter angles and a complete breakdown in how their feet function. FormaHoof gives us an effective and consistent solution to get their feet back in shape, increasing their comfort and often helping them to go on and enjoy a second riding career after racing.
Improving hoof health of TB & OTTB horses
FormaHoof Q3: What can you suggest to owners to better care for and support their OTTB’s feet?
As Farriers, we are taught how to support and protect the overall function of the foot, but we have found it increasingly difficult to re-boot the caudal aspect of the foot. This often ends in expensive therapeutic shoeing packages for the rest of the working life of the horse.
FormaHoof gives us the option to help horses to recover the function of their feet. The three-dimensional fit of the FormaHoof system allows us to offload the loading structures of the feet, giving us the best ability to realign the bony column and effect better blood supply to the foot. This gives the horse’s body the best chance to re-grow the heel structure and suspension system for the foot.
Eyes on the "price" - Is FormaHoof expensive?
FormaHoof Q4: What about the cost to get TB feet “back on track”?
Sven: Although at first glance FormaHoof may appear expensive as a shoeing option when compared to most remedial shoeing packages, in the long term it offers a massive financial saving. FormaHoof allows the owner to literally half their shoeing cost over the rest of the working life of an ”off the track“ racehorse.
FormaHoof benefits for Thoroughbred hooves
FormaHoof Q5: Talking FormaHoof, where are the benefits for the average OTTB/TB horse?
Sven: We now have many of our thoroughbred horses being managed in FormaHoof, both horses currently racing and some retired from racing. I’m thrilled to be able to make changes in their heel structure, bony column re-alignment, sole depth, and overall posture with the FormaHoof system.
One of the amazing benefits of using the FormaHoof system is being able to make these adjustments whilst keeping these horses in work.
Another aspect that really appeals to me is the ability to spell our racehorses in the paddock with FormaHoof on, giving their foot composition a head start before they go into work. The horse can then start the pre-training phase of their prep in FormaHoof, which means that we can support the horse’s feet without driving nails into the often sensitive and damaged hooves.
For a racehorse, this means that we can get horses to the track gallop phase of their training before changing their shoes for racing (current regulations in Australia require racing plates for racing, but in the UK FormaHoof is already approved for racing). At the end of their race prep, we can re-apply FormaHoof to help the feet recover, while the horse has a well-earned break.
For an OTTB, you can apply FormaHoof to help their feet recover from a previous life, to build up sole depth, healthy walls and heels, and to transition to barefoot or regular shoeing.
Tips and tricks for farriers, vets, hoof trimmer and horse owners
FormaHoof Q6: Is there anything you would like to share with people keen to get started with FormaHoof?
Sven: There is a learning curve when applying the product. However, FormaHoof has excellent online training modules which are accessible for owners and farriers alike. If you, as an owner, decide to go ahead with FormaHoof, make sure you give your farrier access to the training. FormaHoof is a real game-changer in the way that we can approach our rehabilitation plans, helping these wonderful equine athletes to live long and productive lives after racing and I’m so happy to be able to offer FormaHoof as a solution, not only to our clients but their horses as well.
FormaHoof doesn’t need to be a forever solution, but it provides effective support to horses through their journey towards strong and healthy feet.
TB mare in training on the track with FormaHoof
Sven: This is the third fitting of FormaHoof on this mare and her first track gallop at the Larkhill complex, she has been doing her previous fast work at home on a heavy track.
I’m super happy with the changes in the angles with this horse, she has some amazing new growth in her heels, which should help us keep her sound through this next race prep. The plan is to pull her out of Formahoof a week before racing, and just go back to normal shoes.
Thanks Aaron Pateman for taking the leap of faith with this new concept, looking forward to the future with this little horse.
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The FormaHoof – Q&A group was setup to create an open experience exchange between horse owners and professionals. Get your questions answered and learn more about FormaHoof in a familiar environment whilst making new friends on the way to healthier hooves.
Learn FormaHoof insights here
The FCA course in the FormaHoof Academy is set to give equine podiatry professionals the option of adding certified high-quality FormaHoof services to their business. Nevertheless, the course is open to everyone and owners can gain helpful insights in the usage of FormaHoof and learn with their trusted farrier, trimmer or vet, how to get started.