“No foot, no horse.” A pertinent industry saying for Ryan Watson, Darby Dan’s Stallion Manager, as we observed DIALED IN receive his new set of shoes made just for him. The morning began at 8:30am when Stuart Muir, a farrier with Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, pulled off the stallion’s current set, which had only been glued on five weeks prior. The old adhesive was filed away and his hoof was cleaned of mud and debris to make way for his shiny new set. This set, like every other, would be custom tailored to fit DIALED IN’s feet specifically. Using tools that look like they belong on the set of Game of Thrones, Stuart shapes the metal, measures it against the hoof, and shapes it some more. Like a glass slipper, it has to fit perfectly.
Once it does, a medicated putty is used to fill in the chips and divots in the stallion’s hoof to prevent any infection and the aviation glue (what they use to hold planes together!) is applied to the hoof and shoe. The shoe is then set with a little bit of heat and that hoof is done- on to the next one. With the help of two very patient grooms, DIALED IN managed to stave off what little boredom might have manifested so Stuart could do his work efficiently, and within an hour, he was ready to relax in his stall and the next horse is was brought out for their fitting.
When you care for 1,200 pound animals that carry most of their weight on their two front feet, their podiatric care is one of the most important investments that can be made. When thoroughbreds are just foals, they wear shoes to correct their stride, much like children might wear special shoes to fix bowed legs or pigeon toes. As they get older, their shoes are modified to provide extra support through different phases of a horse's career and life, kind of like orthotics.
In a single year, each stallion will go through approximately 20 shoes (1 shoe on each front hoof every 5 weeks) with the ultimate goal of keeping them happy, healthy and preventing any issues. We always strive for protection- maintaining healthy feet and hooves so these athletes can comfortably do what they need to do, whether it is running on the turf or just grazing in their paddocks.
If you want your own DIALED IN shoe, you can purchase one through the Darby Dan shop here!