Related Posts with Thumbnails

Friday, February 27, 2009

Got Gait? Slo-mo Video Reveals the Peruvian Paso's Termino Gait

Their legs look like eggbeaters and move so fast you can't tell how they do it. But thanks to a little YouTube clip, you can see the famous signature termino gait of the Peruvian Paso breed slowed down. Note that the horse's action is now just below the knee and is not the same as what we would call "winging out" or "paddling" in an ungaited horses. Enjoy--and don't stand too close when one goes by!

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask.

Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page).

To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found.

Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wish You Were Here: Greetings from the American Farrier's Association Convention

The American Farrier's Association's Annual Convention opened this morning here in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I am happy to be lost among the hundreds of farriers here--young and old, from near and far--who are enjoying the trade show, lectures, competitions and, most of all, each other.

Dutch researcher Meike van Heel PhD spoke this morning on biomechanics, and tomorrow finds the University of Georgia's Dr. Andy Parks taking the stage with a new lecture on hoof support. California's Gene Armstrong overcame a technical catastrophe in his lecture today titled something like "Who do you work for? You work for the horse!" and an interesting husband-and-wife combo of Judy and Mike Spitzer discussed training and shoeing the show hunter.

When the doors to the big trade show opened this afternoon, you might have wondered, "What recession?" as farriers gobbled up the new products, including the new-look GE tools, a wedge Vibram hoof pad, free samples of Magic Cushion hoof packing, Double L's new vet line of "DeLuxe" hoof knives from Italy, hot-colored plastic Happy Hoofwear shoes from Florida (Crocs for horses?), and beautiful HC Biovision plastinated hoof tissue models at the Hoofcare and Lameness booth. Delta-Mustad erected their version of the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz (you could get lost in there!), FPD brought in antique trucks converted to farrier rigs, TracMe shoes offered thoughtful advice on hoof problems, and Stonewell Bodies displayed priceless William Russell shoe cases on loan from horseshoe museum curator Lee Liles.

Dozens of students from Kentucky Horseshoeing School roam the halls, along with a cadre of young farriers (some competing for international honors) from the Japan Farriers Association. I've met farriers from Sweden, Germany, Italy and Great Britain and seen many old friends.

I'm sure something political is going on somewhere, but most of the people here seem oblivious. It's much more fun to tell jokes, slap backs, shake hands very firmly, recite cowboy poetry, and play their guitars, banjos, and mandolins til midnight, as they did on stage last night in a star-studded all-horseshoer "jam" session of folk, blues and country music.

In between all that, the talk is of horses and hooves and how the heck are you, anyway? As always, most look you right in the eye and offer a hand in friendship.

The hotel and the city don't quite now what has hit them, but I'm sure they are enjoying it too.


© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask.

Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page).

To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found.

Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Equine-Specialist CT Scanner Creates a 3-D Hoof in Ninety Seconds

Behold a 3D, computed tomography (CT) image of an equine distal limb recently acquired at University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine's New Bolton Center by EQUUS One, a portable, battery-operated, equine-dedicated CT scanner. The image shows a defect in the right toe quarter of the third phalanx (P3 or coffin bone) created by a keratoma. (The defect is at about 7 o'clock viewing the image this way.) The horseshoe and nails create two bright stellate foci (a.k.a. "starburst" effects) in the hoof capsule and a bright rim around the distal aspect of the image. Double-click on the photo for a larger view. (PRNewsFoto/Universal Medical Systems, Inc.)

What's new in equine imaging? How about a battery-operated, portable CT scanner, ideal for imaging the hoof?

Midge Leitch VMD, clinician in Radiology at New Bolton Center of the University of Pennsylvania, recently used "Equus One", as the new scanner is called, to perform a scan on an 11-year-old gelding.

Dr. Leitch explained, "This horse had been diagnosed with a keratoma, a benign tumor in his hoof. The CT was utilized to locate the area in the hoof wall through which the surgeons would access the keratoma while causing the least damage to the hoof capsule. In the past, this access point was determined either by measurements made on radiographs or by a location on the hoof wall determined by MRI; the former of these methods was subject to a margin of error and MRI required a longer time under anesthesia."

"Maneuvering large animals into correct positions with a standard CT is not only physically challenging for the veterinary staff, but more importantly requires moving the patient to the operating room following the scan, if surgery is the treatment of choice," she continued. "Now, we can bring the CT to the horse. And, in this particular case, the scan of the hoof took us about 90 seconds. With its unique portability, superior scan and low operating cost, Equus One is an ideal CT solution for any veterinary center."

The Equus One CT scanner is sold by Universal Medical Systems, Inc. of Ohio. In fairness to the product, it will surely be of great service in imaging many regions of the horse's body and limbs, not just the hoof.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask.

Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page).

To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found.

Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

USEF Horse Show Hoof Rules Announcement: Roadster Pony Heel Measurement

The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has selected the six competitions that will be required to take heel measurements from the first and fourth place ponies in Roadster and Hackney Roadster Pony Championships. The 2009 competitions include:

* River Ridge Charity - Columbus, OH (April 22-25)
* Midwest Charity - Springfield, IL (June 16-20)
* Lexington Junior League - Lexington, KY (July 6-11)
* Kentucky State Fair - Louisville, KY (August 23-29)
* Southeastern Charity – Conyers, GA (September 16-19)
* UPHA/American Royal - Kansas City, MO (November 17-21)

If you exhibit, own, or train (or, obviously, trim and shoe) Roadster or Hackney Roadster ponies, please read and understand USEF rules HK116.3 and RD112.2 which state:

“All Hackney Roadster and Roadster Ponies must be re-measured and issued new measurement cards prior to competing in licensed competitions for the year 2004 and beyond. In all Hackney Roadster or Roadster Pony championship/stake classes (except Junior divisions) at selected USEF competitions which will be notified in writing by USEF, the first place and fourth place ponies must allow a heel measurement to be taken immediately following the class to verify the heel measurement is at or below what is indicated on the current measurement card; a copy of which must be on file in the show office prior to the pony competing.

The heel measurement will be taken by the competition steward at a location determined by the measuring official and competition management. The heel measurement must be taken from the left bulb of the left front heel, from the skin line on the lower side of the coronary band with the ruler perpendicular to the flat surface. It is the trainer's or driver's decision and responsibility to determine if the pony will be hitched or unhitched for this measurement.

If the heel measurement is higher than the measurement on the pony's USEF measurement card, an overall height measurement must be performed by two measuring officials (See GR502.4) no later than one hour following the end of the session at the designated location. Any entry that exceeds the legal height limit will forfeit winnings in that class.

In the event there are fewer than four ponies in a class, the pony occupying the final placing will be measured. In the event of an emergency and the steward is unavailable to take the heel measurement immediately, competition management must appoint a representative to remain with the pony until the heel measurement can occur.”

Competition managers and stewards of the selected shows will be sent informational packets regarding how to conduct these measurements approximately 60 days prior to their show.

Any questions regarding these USEF rules or the 2009 competitions selected should be directed to Carrie Mortensen, USEF’s Director of Breeds and Western, via email at cmortensen@usef.org or by calling (859) 225-6986.

Thanks to USEF for this update.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Favorite Video: French Police Horse Tours Paris on the Run




A 15-year-old stallion abandoned his post guarding the French President Mr. Sarkozy at the Élysée Palace in Paris today and ran away with the headlines on the evening news. Garibaldi, the highly trained horse, spooked while on duty and dumped his rider. In a flash, the riderless Garibaldi decided he needed to be home in his nice safe stall at the Garde Republique stables, and he headed there, at a gallop. Someone was following with a video camera and captured this amazing footage, including a gallant effort by a long-armed gendarme who tried to climb halfway out of a speeding police car and grab the reins.

It was like a scene from Hopalong Cassidy Meets The Pink Panther.

Thankfully, the horse wasn't hurt, and Paris managed to stop for a few minute to get him gallop by.

Maybe Garibaldi was watching the Super Bowl a few weeks ago and decided to imitate the ad about the lovestruck Budweiser Clydesdale who helps his girlfriend escape from the circus.

For farrier readers: this is one of the police horses shod by the famous traditional military farriers in Paris who use a crew of four or five men to shoe each horse, using the highly rhythmical two striker system. It is a beautiful tradition, but the proof of their work is that this horse stayed on his feet most of the way, and the shoes didn't seem to fall off.

And leave it to the French: Garibaldi is a fine-looking horse. The French are so romantic, they may have a law that only stallions can serve at the President's palace. My compliments to the uniform designers; did you see the knee rolls on those saddles?

Thanks to the British newspaper, The Telegraph, for making this video possible. Click here to read the full article, with more information.

And to learn more about the Garde Republicaine, here's a little behind the scenes clip and a ceremonial guarding of the Presidential touring car as it whizzes elegantly by:

Do you know how some horses are afraid of marching bands in parades? Notice that with this group, the marching band is mounted on the horses.

Click here to watch a great video about the Garde Republicaine, which includes closeups of the band playing on horseback and the magnificent gray drum horses! A visit to their stables is a must for any trip to Paris!

Click here to learn all about anatomy of the horse's foot and lower limb with our 3-D animated CD!

© 2009 Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask. Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.

Monday, February 16, 2009

AAEP: New Racehorse Safety and Welfare Veterinary Recommendations

by Fran Jurga | 16 February 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog
(received via press release)

The American Association of Equine Practitioners today issued guidelines for protecting the health of the Thoroughbred racehorse. The white paper, Putting the Horse First: Veterinary Recommendations for the Safety and Welfare of the Thoroughbred Racehorse, provides veterinary guidance on many issues challenging the racing industry and the care of the racehorse.

Recommendations within the white paper are focused in four key areas: the racing business model, the veterinarian-owner-trainer relationship, medication, and the public perception of racing. Additionally, changes to the structure of claiming races and medication usage in horses intended for sale at public auction are addressed.

“As an organization with the primary mission of protecting the health and welfare of the horse, the safety of the racehorse is one of our highest priorities,” said AAEP President Dr. Harry Werner. “This is a critical time for the racing industry, and we join the efforts of other groups who are determined to make improvements for the health of our equine athletes.”

Key points in the white paper include:
· Continued identification and implementation of procedures and strategies that will significantly reduce the injury rate of horses.
· Standardization and enhancement of pre-race and post-race veterinary examinations with mandatory cross-jurisdictional sharing of information.
· Universal adoption in all racing jurisdictions of the Association of Racing Commissioners International model medication rules which state that no medication should be administered on race day except for furosemide (Salix®).
· Increased racetrack security to ensure compliance by all racing participants with medication rules.
· Provide complete transparency for the veterinarian-trainer-owner relationship in all aspects of health care decisions.
· Development in all racing jurisdictions of a program for the rehabilitation, retraining and adoption of horses whose racing careers have ended.

The white paper was developed by the AAEP’s Racing Task Force, a group comprised of private racetrack practitioners, regulatory veterinarians and veterinary specialists. Dr. Scott Palmer of Clarksburg, New Jersey, and Dr. Foster Northrop of Louisville, Kentucky, served as chair and vice chair, respectively. This group is now a standing committee of the AAEP.

“Our premise is very simple: What is good for the horse is good for racing,” explained Dr. Palmer. “In a unique climate of widespread industry commitment to fix what is wrong with racing, veterinarians have made every effort to put the horse first in that process. It is fair to say that particular recommendations will resonate with some individuals and alienate others within the industry. Nonetheless, we’d like to think that if our horses could read this document, they would be pleased.”

The AAEP intends its white paper to provide guidance and support to those who are working to bring meaningful change.

The white paper is available at http://www.aaep.org/images/files/Racing%20Industry%20White%20Paper%20Final.pdf. For more information, contact Sally Baker, AAEP director of marketing and public relations, at (859) 233-0147 or sbaker@aaep.org.


© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask. Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.

Funeral for Edward Martin Re-Scheduled for February 23

A young Edward Martin set out from his village one morning in the 1950s to see the annual Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh. He carried with him the forehammer you see here in his hands. It was bought in 1893 in anticipation of his grandfather's first shoeing competition, which he won...and was used by Edward up to the time that illness forced him to stop work.

It took me a lot of work to find the source and acquire the rights to this photo, which I finally did in 2004, and Edward always seemed a little amazed that I could have found a photo he had never seen of himself, on such a special day.

After I sent him the photo, Edward added this note, in addition to the hammer explanation: "I was striking to James Lawson, of Edinburgh....James had lost his father, his normal striker, some time before. He had no one to strike for him. I stepped in to do the job. It was a big occasion for me. It was the great Scottish poet Robert Burns who said, 'Nae man con tether time nor tide' and that is true."

Edward Martin's funeral has been moved to Monday, February 23, 2009 at noon in the Closeburn Church, Closeburn by Thornhill, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. I hope to have information soon on how (or if) to send flowers or messages. Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

So You Think You Know the Village Blacksmith...

For many people, their earliest images of who a blacksmith or farrier is and what s/he does were formed by the immortal words of the poem, The Village Blacksmith, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Over the years, the short poem has inspired some people to expand it artistically, as you'll see today.

First, some history: Longfellow, before he was famous, was a professor at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. When he walked to and from the campus, he passed a mighty chestnut tree, under which stood the modest smithy of his neighbor, Dexter Pratt. Dexter is believed to be the inspiration for the poem, written probably in 1839 and published in 1840. Longfellow was paid $15 for the poem by Knickerbocker magazine.

Dexter's shop and tree probably would have become Cambridge's greatest tourist attraction, except that there was a curve in the street where it stood and the city wanted to straighten it, so the big tree had to go and, with it, Dexter's shop and forge. A chair was made from the tree for Longfellow, and you can see it in the museum of his house.

The poem has outlived Longfellow, Dexter, and the tree. However, most people rarely remember the lines that come after the openers, nor do they know the story that the poem tells.

Today's blog post is three versions of Longfellow's poem. The first is a clever "reading" of the poem by Longfellow's ghost.

The second is a musical score of the poem from a rare 1930s 78-rpm record, with sound effects and a chorus sounding suspiciously like the Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz, and from roughly the same time and same record label.

The third is the most rare of all: a silent film pantomime of the poem. There's no documentation to go with this rough gem, which is copyrighted by the distributor as 1936 but looks to be older. In the film, you will see first Longfellow's tall colonial house, then the more formal home of Dexter Pratt, though I doubt it was so grand when he lived there. I don't know if the entire film was shot in Cambridge or just those buildings. Both are still standing on Brattle Street, and are open to the public.

If you have a good Internet connection, you can create your own music video by hitting the play button on the movie and once the credits are through, start the recited or musical versions. They seem to fit together. If you don't have the bandwidth, I hope you will enjoy them separately and refresh your memory of what Longfellow was trying to express in the poem, and why this poem has stood the test of almost 200 years.







Contemplating our friend Edward Martin's death yesterday, I went looking for the poem, and those last lines reminded me so much of Edward:

"Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought."


Yes, there is a reason that poem has survived the test of time. Dexter Pratt perhaps helped Longfellow cut through the intellectual mental clutter of Harvard, or even writer's block, by demonstrating that the broken wheel you see in pieces on the ground in the morning will be repaired and back on a carriage when you pass again at the end of the day, and that there would be another task to face the next day. If you have a plan, the skill, and do things in the right order, you can get the job done, and that advice applies to most things in life.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask.

Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page).

To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found.

Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.

We've Lost Edward


Edward Martin died early on the morning of February 14th at his home in Closeburn, near Thornhill, Dumfriesshire, Scotland.

The worldly farrier and blacksmith used to have a saying about how much you'd be missed after your death. He'd say, "Swirl you hand around in a bucket of water, and watch the hole it makes in the center, and watch it for a a few minutes. That's how much you'll be missed when you're gone."

That might be the one thing that he was wrong about.

PS I am struggling to write Edward Martin's obituary but it is being written and will be published when details of his funeral are available.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Australian Fire Survivor Horses Now in Danger of Heat-Induced Laminitis

This has to be the animal-lover's photo of the year; a firefighter in the Australian state of Victoria shares his bottle of spring water with a burned koala. (photo links to Horse Deals Australia blog)

The numbers are staggering. Wildlife and public health officials in Australia estimate that as many as one million animals may have been killed in the wildfires that ripped through the state of Victoria last weekend. As if that news isn't bad enough, there may be a double whammy coming for horses who had to stand on the scorched earth: the fire in the bush is over, but the fire in the feet may be only beginning.

We know that rapid and continual cooling by the icing of the horse's lower limb and digit ("cryotherapy") can clinically prevent laminitis, as proven in studies by the Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit at the University of Queensland, directed by Dr. Chris Pollitt.

But can the inverse be true? Can heat cause laminitis?

Dr. Pollitt is flying south to Victoria to help with rescue efforts and provide veterinary services for the hundreds of horses displaced or injured by the wild bushfires that ripped through the countryside in Victoria.

The University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Veterinary Science in Victoria is providing free care to pets and horses injured in the recent fires. Professor Ken Hinchcliff, Dean of the Faculty there, says that veterinary clinic staff at the university are deeply concerned.

Dean Lewis of the Victoria Farriers Association has spoken up about the danger of horses "losing their hoof capsules" and has offered the services of his member farriers to help with rescue operations.

One of the things that touched me was that the rescue center are having trouble feeding the horses, and put out a call for soft lucerne (alfalfa) hay. So many horses have burned muzzles that it is painful for them to eat regular hay with its stiff stalks poking their burnt flesh.

The burns on this cat's paws are typical of what pets and livestock have experienced. This cat is receiving veterinary care at the Victoria Animal Aid fire assistance center.

Triple R Equine Welfare Inc. (TREW) warns horse owners and anyone wishing to help, "The immediate threat to horses left stranded in burnt properties is damage to hooves. Prolonged exposure to hot ground will cause a low grade overheating, that develops into heat induced laminitis. The prognosis for horses suffering this condition will be extremely poor. It is imperative the we move swiftly to relocate horses off burnt properties."

The textbook Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue by Gimenez, Gimenez, and May (Wiley-Blackwell 2008) offers some insight into what body conditions of a burn victim horse may contribute to laminitis and hoof capsule detachment:

"Thermal injury produces local and systemic responses. In the local (skin, which would include the hoof) response, inflammation is the primary reaction, caused by damaged, leaking tissues and blood vessels. Tissue fluid and electrolyte shifts cause inflammation and fluid loss...

"Tissue injury continues for 24-48 hours after the initial thermal injury, therefore the burn will increase in severity over that period of time. Necrosis (death) of the dermis and epidermis in full-thickness burns creates a hard, leathery charred appearance to the skin; this is called eschar (Pascoe 1999). As the eschar sloughs, it creates an increase in open wounds."

It's pretty straightforward to think that burned hooves are a danger in themselves, even though farriers routinely hot-fit hooves and prolonged hot fitting has not been shown to be a danger to hooves. Burned coronets would affect the blood supply to the lamina within the hoof, which would probably already be decreased by the inflammation, edema, and compromised circulation.

Let's keep all the Australians--two-legged and four-legged in our thoughts, and hope that we can learn something about laminitis and how to prevent and treat it in future forest fire emergencies.

Sam the Water Guzzling Koala is recovering at a shelter; she too has extensive burns on her feet. It looks like she's been to the hairdresser, too.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask. Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

American Quarter Horse Association New "AQHA Medical" Plan Offers Affordable Benefits to Association Members

The world's largest horse breed association got my attention today when it announced that it would begin offering a range of health insurance plans to members. Membership costs to join AQHA start at $40 per year. I know that health insurance is a big worry to lots of people in the horse world and that many people go without it.

One of the policies that the AQHA is offering is an "active lifestyle" policy for only $20 per month for accidents. Note: there may be an exclusion for people who make their living with horses, but it is worth looking into, especially if you have a family.

The AQHA policies sound great and very affordable but before you get your hopes up, you should realize that the insurance laws vary from state to state and these types of policies may not be available where you live.

Other organizations, such as the US Equestrian Federation and US Eventing Association, have in the past offered some sort of accident insurance plus optional Med-Flight coverage, which the AQHA offering also includes.

It's an option, and may be something that will help some people in the horse world. Pass the word! And thanks to the AQHA for realizing what a problem health insurance is to many in the horse industry.


Here's the official announcement, which was made earlier today:

The American Quarter Horse Association is proud to announce its partnership with Nicholas Hill Benefit Group and the Active Life Plan by Adventure Advocates to bring AQHA members a new program through AQHA Medical. Members and their families now have access to sign up for affordable accident and health benefits.

AQHA members can choose from a selection of major medical/health plans with available worldwide coverage, dental, vision, life, disability, long-term care and Medicare supplement plans.

Twenty-four-hour accidental medical coverage plans start as low as $20 a month and carry benefits as high as $25,000. AQHA Medical enables horsemen and -women to protect themselves and their families with quality plans that respect the medical coverage needs of the horse enthusiast and the active horseback rider.

Nicholas Hill Benefit Group Inc. has partnered with insurance providers that offer extensive professional care networks, healthcare plan options and worldwide protection plus multiple year rate guarantees and other unique features such as Health Savings Accounts.

To learn more about the quality plans available through AQHA membership, or to receive your free quote, visit www.AQHAmedical.com or call (888) 213-9710.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask.

Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page).

To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found.

Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What Is This? Can You Identify This Reader-Submitted Image?

by Fran Jurga | 10 February 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

What is this? If you know the answer, please send an email to fran@hoofcare.com and I'll publish your guesses and information from the reader who sent this in later this week. Please do NOT use the comments button to leave your answers because then the first correct answer will stop others from guessing! Super bonus points to anyone who can expound on this subject.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask.

Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page).

To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found.

Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Congratulations to Allie Hayes of HorseScience

by Fran Jurga | 9 February 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

Congratulations to our friend Allie Hayes of HorseScience, who was recently inducted into the Horseshoeing Hall of Fame.

Allie's fame in the hoofcare world began when she retired from active shoeing in the 1980s, after a long career as a farrier here in Massachusetts. She was one of the first women to go through farrier school, and was challenged by instructor Bud Beaston to complete the course at his Oklahoma Farrier College. She met the challenge, and went on to do advanced studies with Dr. Doug Butler at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. And this was after she had finished both a Bachelor's and Master's degree in liberal arts!

Allie said in her acceptance speech that sitting in Bud's classroom was the first time that a lecture really hit home with her and meant something in her life.

In the mid-1980s, Allie's ability to shoe was limited by a freak accident on the job, and she switched her attention from shoeing to making educational hoof models. Her "HorseScience" business has expanded to a point where she is the world's leading (and almost exclusive) source of freeze-dried educational models, and she also supplies much more than legs. The models are freeze-dried in a monstrous freeze-drier machine on Allie's farm, a stone's throw from her wildlife rehabilitation and re-homing projects (anyone for a blind skunk or a one-winged crow?), her farm animals, and her how-many-are-here-today cats.

She's also well-known to FedEx, as vets and farriers from all over the country ship legs amputated from euthanized cases to her to be eternally preserved for further study. People must wonder...

As one farrier said in an email, "It's too bad Allie had that accident and had to stop shoeing, but it was a great thing for us that she started making her models!"

Allie gives clinics, lectures, and slide shows on the anatomy of the foot and lower leg and occasionally presents a museum-like collection of her most unusual specimen. At the Cincinnati conference last week, she casually pulled out a camel's foot, and mentioned a giraffe foot as well. Her show-and-tell discussions with farriers and veterinarians are legendary.

Needless to say, Allie is the first woman to be inducted to the hall, and it is a sign of respect for her that the living members voted for her to join them.

Allie has a hard time drawing the line between education and business and has not been utilized as much as a formal speaker and consultant, partly because her business keeps her so busy. If you are in the hoofcare industry, it is important to support Allie and HorseScience as she leads us all ahead on the road to understanding horses and their problems. She has enabled many people to "see" inside the horse and probably learn things they would not otherwise be able to comprehend. Allie Hayes is a unique treasure in the hoofcare world, and deserves this latest honor very, very much.

Allie makes foot and leg models like this one, which has magnetic bones that snap in and out.

HorseScience also makes hock and knee models, and specialized ultrasound interpretation models.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask.
Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Watch the Most Popular Super Bowl Commercials: Budweiser Clydesdales Dominated with Three Ads in 2009!

jumping Budweiser Clydesdale Super Bowl ad
This was an impressive moment in the Budweiser Clydesdale "love" commercial this year.

Thanks to everyone who mentioned appreciation for the Super Bowl commercials last week. It looks like Hoof Blog readers are in tune with the national audience; the Budweiser Clydesdale ads took the first three places in viewer voting!

The actual videos of complete ads are not available until after the game, so here are the top three, for your instant recall anytime you need a dose of Fetch, Love or Clydesdale.

Thanks again to Budweiser for brightening up the Super Bowl and the added video they provided for Blog readers last weekend.

First place: "Fetch"


Second place: "Love"



Third place: "Clydesdale" ("Generations")



© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask. Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.

Animal Planet's "Jockeys" Reality Show Repeats Tonight If You Missed It!

Jockey Alex Solis studies the facts and figures on his competition in the next race. (Animal Planet Photo)

Barns, shedrows, vet clinics and tack shops across the USA are buzzing this morning as horse people dissect their opinions on last night's premiere of the new reality show Jockeys on the cable network Animal Planet.

Jockeys follows six--or is it seven?--jockeys through the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita racetrack outside Los Angeles, California. Oak Tree is the four-week race meet in October that culminated last year in the 2009 Breeders Cup. Among the jockeys featured were Mike Smith, Chantal Sutherland, Aaron Gryder, Corey Nakatini (briefly, he was injured in the first race), Garret Gomez, Joe Talamo and others.



I was front and center and watched the two back-to-back episodes aired last night. Except for the fact that I kept wondering who that horseshoer was who could often be seen working in the background at Santa Anita, I thought it was well done, and better than I had feared. The repeats of the spills and crashes were disturbing, but I think they could have been portrayed more graphically or sensationally. The directors and producers showed some restraint.

The wrecks were worse--a LOT worse--in the "home video" special that aired right after the show. Untamed & Uncut: Trouble at the Track isolated some of the worst wrecks and runaway horses from around the world and even re-created them using high-tech slo-mo animation.

The highlight of Jockeys for me was the end of the second episode, which showed some great tape of Mike Smith riding 2008's champion filly Zenyatta as she defeated Hysterical Lady.

What surprised me is that there was no mention of the fact that the jockeys were riding for the first time on Santa Anita's revamped (and untested) Pro Ride artificial racing surface.

For hoof lovers, there were lots of ground level shots of flying hooves. For racing plate manufacturers, there was plenty of flashing aluminum in the California sunlight.

The music on the show is well-done too; kudos to the post-production editor who wove rock and hip-hop music seamlessly with the fast-cut action, especially during the actual race footage.

If you missed it and you have cable access, Jockeys repeats tonight at 10 p.m. (eastern US time); crash lovers can see Trouble at the Track at 9 p.m. tonight. Click here for Animal Planet's schedule, as the show may be repeated again. The next new episodes of Jockeys air on Friday, February 13, at 9 p.m and continue for six weeks.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask. Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital to Provide Services for 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Test Events

posted by Fran Jurga 4 February 2009 Fran Jurga' Hoof Blog

(received via press release)

LEXINGTON, KY—Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital will provide veterinary services for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games test events, as announced today by the World Games 2010 Foundation, Inc.

As the Official Equine Hospital and Veterinary Partner for 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Rood and Riddle has extended its partnership with the Games to provide veterinary services for a series of test events beginning in 2009. The test events, each called The Kentucky Cup, will allow the World Games 2010 Foundation, Inc. to prepare for the world championships coming to the Kentucky Horse Park in 2010.

“Rood and Riddle is very pleased to provide the veterinary services for The Kentucky Cup test events,” said Dr. Tom Riddle. “Our entire staff of veterinarians looks forward with great excitement to serving the sport horse industry, both at the test events and the 2010 Games.”

Lexington-based Rood & Riddle is a full-service equine hospital established in 1986 as a referral center for horses requiring specialized medical and surgical care. Today, Rood & Riddle is known and respected throughout the world for its innovative and highly skilled treatment of horses. The hospital facility offers a full range of services including surgery, internal medicine, advanced diagnostic imaging, a focused Podiatry Center and a specialized Reproductive Center.

The practice also provides ambulatory services (on-site care) for breeding farms, sport horse facilities, horse shows and events, with a variety of services, including emergency and preventative care, general reproduction, lameness, radiography, podiatry, and internal medicine.


“We are very fortunate to extend our partnership with Rood and Riddle through the test events for the 2010 Games, and to have the services of such a high-caliber equine hospital available to our equine athletes,” said Competition Director Kate Jackson.

The competitions will begin in 2009 and run through the 2010 Rolex Three-Day Event. All events will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park. Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital will manage the veterinary needs for all test events. A complete schedule of all Kentucky Cup test events is available at www.feigames2010.org.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask.

Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page).

To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found.

Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Scotch Bottom Toe Grabs? Budweiser Clydesdale Ads Go to Great Lengths to Lead the Pack of Commercials for 2009 Super Bowl

by Fran Jurga | 1 February 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog/Hoofcare & Lameness Journal

It looks like the racing segment of the new Budweiser Clydesdale ad was filmed on Polytrack or ProRide or some sort of artificial surface, perhaps at Del Mar or Santa Anita racetracks in California. For years, they pulled the starting gate off and onto the track for each race at Santa Anita.

As promised, here are some special clips from Budweiser, showing just a few highlights of the three or possibly four Budweiser Clydesdales ads aired on tonight's Super Bowl. I've seen two of them so far, in the first half of the game.

Here's a clip from the "generations" commercial, honoring the 75th Anniversary of the Budweiser Clydesdales. It was filmed partly right on the streets of New York City. The narrator sounds like my friend James Ferrie, who shoes Clydesdales in Ayr, Scotland. Could it be?



And how about that lovestruck Clydesdale? How on earth, though, did they film that Clydesdale jumping over the canyon! That Clyde really had good form! And what a Hollywood ending!



And don't forget the Dalmatian:



Did you ever wonder how the commercials are made? Here's a video clip that goes behind the scenes for the racetrack segments, and you'll meet director Joe Pytka:


These commercials are the highlights of the Super Bowl each year for many people, thanks to our friends, human and equine, at

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask. Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.

Super Sunday Video Humor: Sneak Previews of Racing Clydesdales and Charging Ostriches on Tonight's Fun Commercials

by Fran Jurga | 1 February 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

The Budweiser Clydesdales at the track? You have to see this!

It's Super Sunday across America and all through the land, we all waited for half time and Bruce Springsteen's band...

And what from our wondrous eyes could not hide, but three brand new commercials about a Budweiser Clyde.

But I soon was laughing, like a February Fool, about a dog food commercial called simply "Dogs Rule"

You can watch it too, you'll catch the vibe, and pronounce to the world, "I think that's my tribe!"


Today's a tossup, not between Arizona and Pittsburgh, but between Bruce Sprinsteen and the Budweiser Clydesdales. Is there another reason for 50 million people to plant themselves in front of the television tonight?

Pedigree dog food just might give the Clydes and the Boss a run for their money. The new commercial and web site "Dogs Rule" will be a hoot to those of us who work around animals and the people who love them. Pedigree thought it was making an outrageous takeoff on exotic pets, but, ummmmm, actually, I think they are pretty close to capturing some of the "unique" people and pets I've met along the way.

Pedigree is doing their Super Bowl ads (at how much for 30 seconds? $3 million?) as a public service to encourage pet adoption. If you go to the new web site (www.dogsrule.com) you can download an .app for your iPhone and the company will donate dog food to animal shelters every time someone watches a video on the site.



The best part is that they have made it possible for you to watch four character development videos that give you some insight into the individual pets and their quirky owners featured in the commercial: Rusty the rhino, Bruno the ostrich, The Boar, and Max the Water Buffalo. It's a great laugh.

This is all in good fun. I hope you will watch the original commericial here, go to dogsrule.com and click around so some dog food flows to the needy ones. I wish someone would do this for horses in need of homes.

And don't forget to watch for the Clydesdales! One commercial has a lovesick Clyde and another honors the hitch on its 75th anniversary year. Later today I will post some sneak-peek footage from Budweiser about how (and where!) they shot this year's great commercials.

In the meantime, have a laugh with Pedigree...and don't forget to consider giving a shelter dog a good home, right next to you on the couch on Super Sunday.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask. Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.

Hoofcare and Lameness Journal is often published under the cover of fog amidst the comings and goings and launchings and sinkings and leakings of the old industrial waterfront in Gloucester, Massachusetts. If you come to visit, bring your life jacket...and you'd better like fish.