Once I saw the photo of the newborn foal hoof, in the book Equus, that Mrs. Mom had sent me, I just knew I wanted to see this for myself when my friend Val’s mare delivered her foal.
(I took this photo with my camera from the book, so the quality is not as good as the original captured by Tim Flach. But I wanted to share what I found so fascinating about this photo of a newborn foal hoof)
(Explanation from the book) “During late gestation, soft pads - sometimes called the foal slipper, the golden hoof, leaves, or gills – form on a foal’s hooves. This eponychium is a soft epidermis cushion covering the tip of each hoof that protects a mare’s uterus and genital tract from damage while pregnant and during foaling. Once the foal has been born, these break off and the hooves rapidly harden.”
Unfortunately I forgot to get close-up photos of Yalla’s hooves soon after she was born, because I was just completely overcome with awe over her birth. But I did get some photos later in the same day, of her little hooves. And over the weekend, I spent some time going back through the birth photos to look closer for those feathery foal hooves. I chose the following photos to share. Let me know if you are as amazed as I am.
In this photo, below, you can the see one hoof, still inside the amniotic sac, at the far left of the photo. Notice how curved/bent and soft that hoof is?
Then look at the white hoof, below the foal’s muzzle, at the far right of this photo. See how long it is? Approximately an inch of that hoof will break or wear off, within a couple hours after birth, as the hoof hardens. Isn’t that wild?
And these are the bottom of the front hooves soon after birth. Notice the length of the heels and toes. On the hoof to the left side of the photo, you can even see the feathery bits, although they’re covered by dirt.
This is a poor quality photo as I had to crop most of the photo away and zoom in to see those hooves. I also included the mare hoof, too for comparison. *grin* Notice the heel of that left hoof and see how it’s already flaking and peeling away? This is just minutes after the birth.
In this photo the feathery ‘gills’ on the back hooves can be seen quite clearly. It’s a wonder that a foal doesn’t have an even more difficult time trying to take their first steps with all of that soft tissue bunched up underneath their feet..
If you look closely, you will see bits of the soft feathery pads flaking off, revealing the permanent hoof underneath.
These next two photos were taken during the afternoon, the same day she was born, approx 8 hours later, when I finally remembered to have a look at Yalla’s baby hooves. This is a back hoof.
And this is a front hoof. See how the feathery pads are already drying up and the hoof is trying to take shape?
Today Yalla! was 9 days old. I came over to help Val lput Yalla! and Annie out for some exercise in the arena, and decided to capture some updated 9 day old photos of Yalla’s hooves.
This is a back foot. As you can see there are still some stubby feathery bits which look a little like crocodile skin.
And this is Yalla’s 9 day old front hoof. Try to look past all the debris. Those feathery ‘gills’ are becoming Yalla’s frog. (Do you see anything else in that hoof?)
(How about now? Do you see what Val and I see?)
(How about now? Can you see Him?)
Isn’t nature full of surprises and miracles?
From the Tower of,