The Horse Physio - Delivering care with expertise since 1992

9.11.2021 Review of Centaur Biomechanics Seminar 2021

In October 2021 I was lucky enough to attend the Centaur Biomechanics Equine Sports Seminar Virtual Summit. As always, the lectures were of a very high quality and there was an immense amount to take in. Here I share with you some of my understanding.

Dr. Simon Curtis: Unilateral deviations in foals: assessment, treatment and the long-term effect on equine health and performance.

Dr Simon Curtis practised farriery in Newmarket for 48 years. He has published four textbooks on farriery and has been published in numerous journals. Simon is the only farrier awarded an Honorary Associate by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. He is a Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Farriers, has a BSc (Hons) in Farriery and a Doctoral degree in equine biomechanics and physiology.

Dr Curtis, to put it bluntly, discusses how, if we fixed them as foals, we might not have so many problems in performance horses. In mature horses, we try to maintain conformation, and good farriery aims to do the best with what we’ve got. In foals, we may have the opportunity to improve conformation. Having said this, in many cases, a foal is self-fixing. It can be difficult to know when to intervene, and when to leave the horse to grow.

It’s important that the farrier can assess the horse on a flat, smooth surface. He cannot do an accurate assessment in a field or on a rough track. He needs to watch the horse moving as well as standing.

In the ideal horse, the foot appears to land level, although if we measure the landing on a force plate, he lands slightly lateral heel first. The eye is unable to discriminate between movement less than 40ms apart. Therefore as a general rule, if unlevel landing can be seen, then this can be considered unhealthy.

Take home messages:

  1. The vast majority of conformation faults can be helped with corrective farriery.
  2. In an ideal world, all foals would receive attention from the farrier from one months of age. If a conformational fault in a young foal does not show improvement within 2 weeks, then it may need remedial trimming.
  3. Some conformational faults, such as outward rotation of the limb, may be helped by physiotherapy. More research is needed into this.

For more information, great webinars and a whole heap of relevant research, visit

© Sue Palmer, The Horse Physio, 2021

Treating your horse with care, connection, curiosity and compassion