Dr Simon Curtis
Farrier & Research (UK)

Newmarket farrier Simon Curtis has been awarded a doctorate for his project studying the development of the foal’s hoof. Simon completed a six year Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme at the University of Central Lancashire. His thesis; The effect of loading upon hoof growth and hoof shape in Thoroughbred foals, investigated how both normal changes occurred during growth and how conformational defects caused misshapen hooves.

He is a Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Farriers by examination and an Honorary Associate of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. In 2018 he was presented the Sir Colin Spedding Award by the National Equine Forum in London for his contribution to the equine industry in the UK.
Dr Curtis is still a practising farrier, working from his forge in Newmarket, Suffolk. He trims and shoes a variety of breeds but specialises in foals. He intends to continue as a farrier, using the new knowledge from his studies to improve farriery work on foals and older horses.


Effects upon the equine hoof that cause hoof shape.


The hoof capsule is subjected to many influencing factors which alter hoof shape. During early development the foal’s hoof changes in size, shape, thickness, speed of hoof growth and even colour. Towards maturity there are additional influences upon shape; which include breed, conformation, laterality, loading, and acquired deformities. Finally, in maturity, factors which effect hoof shape include; environment, use, injury and/or disease, and farriery. This lecture will give a greater understanding of hoof shape change.


Farriery techniques to change hoof shape.


One of the greatest challenges to farriers is the management of hoof shape. Asymmetrical differences within individual and paired hooves has been linked to unsoundness and farriers are often pressured to improve hooves for aesthetic reasons. Although there are factors influencing hoof shape that farriers cannot control, there are others, such as loading, which can be altered by trimming and shoeing techniques. This lecture will discuss when shape change is beneficial and some of the farriery options available.


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