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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Familiar Feet in the Derby Week Crowd?

by Fran Jurga | 30 April 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

The Onion website is reporting that 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown has come out of retirement and will look great in a pinstripe sheet as an ESPN commentator for Saturday's pre-race coverage. The same publication announced a year ago that the same Mr. Brown signed a $90 million athletic shoe endorsement with Nike. Humor is The Onion's business and they do it (and Photoshop) very well. I think they miss Big Brown almost as much as I do.

© 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.

Double click on cover image for a larger view of the artwork.

Kentucky Derbies Past: Shoe Your Own Derby Winner

by Fran Jurga | 29 April 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

Meshach Tenney at the stalljack in Swaps's stall before the 1955 Kentucky Derby. For the uninitiated, Tenney is shaping the heel of an aluminum raceplate in an indentation on a tool called a stalljack, which is a very lightweight replacement for an anvil that has a stake on the end and can be driven into the floor of a stall or shedrow. I didn't know they had them back then; they are very much in use today. Raceplates still come in boxes like the one you see in the straw, and farriers use tool boxes somewhat like the one in the foreground, but more likely in aluminum.

The year was 1955 and a young Mormon horseshoer/trainer/owner from out of the west threw down his bedroll and his shoeing tools in the straw of a stall on the backside of America's most famous racetrack. Meshach Tenney had come to do a job: to take care of his horse and to make sure it won the Kentucky Derby.

Perhaps the most famous and dominant racehorse ever to come out of California, Swaps was another of the great champions who was plagued by foot problems. He developed an infection in the sole of his right front foot after he won the San Vincente Stakes in January of his three-year-old year. Tenney made a leather pad for him--unheard of for a racehorse at the time--and in spite of the layup, sent him out to win the Santa Anita Derby as his only Kentucky Derby prep race.

An ultra-fit chestnut trained by Tenney's scientific principles, Swaps came east to challenge the royally-bred pride-of-the-East, the mighty Nashua, trained by Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons for Belair Stud. It was Seabiscuit vs War Admiral, East vs West all over again.

Just before leaving for the paddock, Tenney looked at the skies and added calks to Swaps' shoes as lightning crackled through the post parade and spooked the horses. But the biggest lightning was inside his horse with the padded and calked foot, who led almost the entire race before drawing away from the best horse in the East.

They hadn't even thought to nominate the horse for the other Triple Crown races. The two former cowboys who owned him thought only as far ahead as winning the Kentucky Derby and giving ten percent of the winnings to their church.

That night, Tenney rewarded himself by sleeping in the backseat of a car instead of in the stall with his horse.

Later that year, Nashua beat Swaps in a match race, but Swaps had re-injured his foot the day before. One observor said, "He was so sore he didn't know where to put that foot down." Swaps underwent hoof surgery after the race.

Tenney was smart to keep his shoeing tools close at hand; Swaps was plagued with foot problems throughout his career. From the vague way that reports are written, it sounds like he had recurrent sole abscesses in the same foot, but it is hard to be sure. At four, he popped a quarter crack in the same foot. He earned the nickname "The California Cripple", but he kept coming back.

Later in his career, Swaps was in training at Garden State Race Track when he suffered one of the most highly-publicized broken legs in horseracing history. Like a foreshadowing of the Barbaro saga to come, Swaps was diagnosed with what was then called dual linear fractures of his cannon bone in one hind leg. He was fitted with a cast, but hated it, and kicked his stall's wall, making the fracture worse. A more involved cast with metal rods extending under the foot was built for him.

Swaps was insured for $1 million, so there was a lot at stake. A sling was rigged in his stall and Swaps was hung from the ceiling for six weeks. Oddly enough, the sling was loaned to Tenney by his arch-rival, Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons, the trainer of Nashua. Probably thanks in large part to Tenney's hands-on care and companionship, Swaps never suffered any ill effects from being nonweightbearing for so long. He walked out of the sling and was shipped home to California, where he began his stud career.

Meshach Tenney slept in his horse's stall at Churchill Downs so he could keep an eye on him.

Thanks to the annals of Sports Illustrated and The Blood-Horse, which were used in compiling this hoof-centric account of Swaps' career. Both photos are from Life Magazine's coverage of the 1955 Kentucky Derby.

© 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, April 29, 2009

Black Bag Vet: ESPN Writer Follows the Races, Pens the Tragic Final Furlong As Seen Through Vet's Eyes

by Fran Jurga | 29 April 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

We're well into Derby Week now and I think the 135th Kentucky Derby will go down in history as the one with the most words written about it. And they're the same words written over and over, just to appear in different places: in newspapers, in magazines, on blogs, on web sites, on Facebook and this year we're also writing them on Twitter, the 2009 phenomenon of internet communication that squashes your message to the world into a 140-character one-liner.

Everyone is racing to be the first to tell you who has scratched (or, in my case, who has cracked) or which jockey has switched horses but no one that I have read seems to be putting much effort into great writing.

No one except someone I found tonight.

I hope Seth Wickersham wins an Eclipse Award for his article in this week's ESPN Magazine. In The Final Furlong, he rides along with veterinarian Lauren Canady as she trails the field in the first race at The Fair Grounds in New Orleans. He witnesses a catastrophic breakdown immediately.

Wickersham's attention to detail is admirable, as is his historical research into the transition from death by gunshot to death by pink syringe...and why many veterinarians wish that a gunshot was still the way to go.

Veterinarians have been getting a bad rap lately. Most of the vets I know work very hard and do care about horses, and they care very much. The job of the track regulatory vet on a week day at the racetrack is so far from the romantic dream of a high school girl who wants to go to vet school to save all the beautiful horses that it makes a perfect premise for a narrative magazine article during Derby week.

When the idealistic girl grows up and carries a pink syringe between her manicured nails, the story takes on quite an edge.

Unfortunately, it is also true, and a real racehorse died that day.

I don't think that this story is anti-racing. It will take you somewhere at the track that you would otherwise never go and it may help you see the track vets in a new light.

We need more stories like Seth's, and fewer Tweets. A horse's life--or, in this case, death--just doesn't fit into 140 characters.

Click here to read The Final Furlong. It should also be on the newsstands by now, as it is in the May 4 edition of ESPN Magazine.


© 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, April 27, 2009

Quality Road's Derby Withdrawal: What Did Others Do?

by Fran Jurga | 27 April 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

Florida Derby winner Quality Road sported a new patch on his new quarter crack when he galloped on Sunday, and plans called for a serious work today (Monday) at his home track of Belmont Park in New York before shipping to Louisville for Saturday's Kentucky Derby.

He stayed in his stall this morning: not a good sign.

Quarter crack specialist Ian McKinlay called on Sunday to say that he was disappointed that the crack's location, right at the hairline, meant that when he inserted the drain and tightened the sutures before applying the patch, there was a tiny drop of blood at the hairline.

“This is live tissue – we’re not changing a flat tire, so there are a lot of judgment calls," McKinlay told The Hoof Blog by phone. “Everything had been stabilized and when I changed the wires today, the crack opened up. There was a bit of sensitive tissue aggravated during the process. Hopefully, there won’t be a tinge of blood tomorrow (Monday) when he breezes.”

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said Sunday that he was planning to treat the hoof with “Thrush Buster” as a drying agent and also with Animalintex poultice. “He’s got 24 hours to get better,” said Jerkens on Sunday. “I would have liked to have seen no blood, but it didn’t surprise me because he was still tender. He’s sound, he galloped the way he usually does, but I would have been more optimistic without blood.”

When Monday rolled around, the stall door did not open wide. No big colt came striding out.

Before you write this colt off, read your history. Today's leading sire A. P. Indy sat out both the 1992 Kentucky Derby and Preakness while recovering from a quarter crack, which popped the day before the Derby, and came back to win the much longer Belmont Stakes and Breeders Cup before entering stud.

And who could forget another leading sire, Unbridled's Song, whose owner (the now infamous Ernie Paragallo, currently accused of neglecting almost 200 horses on his farm in upstate New York), sent his colt to the post in the 1996 Kentucky Derby in spite of a quarter crack and bar shoe, only to have him finish fifth. Unbridled's Song missed the Preakness and the Belmont.

And don't forget one of the most underrated racehorses in American history: the great three-year-old campaign of Buckpasser, who won 14 stakes races with a gaping quarter crack that was often unpatched. The crack did keep him out of the Triple Crown, but he came back to win the Travers...and everything else. I think he won something like 14 stakes races in quick succession, within a year, in spite of his re-cracking hoof. His jockey, Braulio Baeza, said he ran on his heart, not his hooves.
Buckpasser's three-year-old quarter crack was infected; the Phipps Stable brought in Standardbred quarter crack expert Joe Grasso to patch him and the crack recurred when he was four. 

Buckpasser is one of the most interesting horses, hoof-wise, in recent American history. The Phipps Stables is said to have tested experimental European raceplates on him. He retired with a record of 31-25-4-1. That's right: he started 31 times in three years, almost all of which were stakes races.

In 1964, Northern Dancer (who looms in Quality Road's pedigree) won the Flamingo and Florida Derby prep races, as well as the Derby, while recovering from a quarter crack, but the crack would have been quite grown out by the Derby. Northern Dancer wore the vulcanized patch by Bill Bane at Santa Anita.

Just to muddy this whole situation, a horse can have a quarter crack, a Quarter Crack, or a QUARTER CRACK. It sounds like Quality Road has a quarter crack, but it is in a very sensitive spot, and his decisionmakers aren't taking any chances.

That translates to one less reason to hold your breath for two minutes on Saturday.

And that's ok.

Read The Hoof Blog's 2008 article on the history of quarter crack patches and horses who benefited from them.

© 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.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Quality Road: Another Quarter Crack in the Road to the Derby

Tell me it isn't true: just when you thought it was safe to make him the favorite without an asterisk, top Kentucky Derby contender Quality Road has popped another quarter crack, this time in his right front.

Ian McKinlay reported on April 23 that he will be patching the new crack, which he says is minor, probably on Saturday, after suturing it today. The foot has been soaked and poulticed. The poultice was pulled on Friday morning, Ian said, after being applied to draw out any infection before the patch is applied. He will lace it with sutures later today. The same procedure will be used on the front foot that was used on the hind, which includes suture-lacing and an embedded drain covered by a patch.

Quality Road has had a quarter crack in his right hind foot for the past 26 days; the first crack opened during or immediately after his record-setting win in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream on March 28. The crack was patched in Florida and then dried out and re-patched with a drain when the colt returned to Belmont Park in New York under the care of trainer Jimmie Jerkens. Recently he has been training well and looked solid; plans are to ship him to Kentucky to race in the Kentucky Derby on May 2.

As of this morning, no announcement had been made to scratch the horse from the Kentucky Derby. Ian said he thought the horse would be able to make the race, based on other cases he has worked on.

Ian remarked again on the immense size of the three-year-old colt. "I'm six-three, and I look just barely over this horse's butt," he said. "And he's wearing a size five. He's a very, very big horse with a small foot."

That comment brought to mind a section on Ian's new video, From the Ground Up, which includes interviews with many trainers and horseshoers about foot problems and quarter cracks. Bob Baffert talks about the curse of the size-five foot, but then says with satisfaction that War Emblem was an example of a small-footed horse that overcame it and won the Kentucky Derby.

Click here to read several previous articles from earlier this month about Quality Road's quarter cracks.

Click here for the April 6th account of Ian McKinlay's work on the hind foot quarter crack.

Note: From the Ground Up is premiering for sale during Derby week and can be ordered through the Hoof Blog. This 3.5 hour, 2-DVD set includes interviews with top trainers and riders from most disciplines including (to mention a few) Thoroughbred trainers Baffert, D. Wayne Lukas, and Richard Mandella, Standardbred driver John Campbell, Dressage rider Betsy Steiner, Reiner Bryant Pace, Hunter Rider Havens Schott, Jumpers Ian Millar and Anne Kursinski, Quarter Horse Halter Exhibitior Ted Turner, Veterinarians John Steele and Alan Donnell, and Farriers Dwight Sanders, Jim Bayes, Hank Joseph, Tom Curl, and Doyle Blagg.

The DVD covers the problems trainers have with hooves and the possible ways for trainers and farriers and veterinarians to each use expertise to aid in improving the horse's chances for soundness. Advanced cases of wall separations, white line diseases, quarter cracks, sheared heels and conformational problems are shown and some cases are reviewed with advanced treatment, and prevention is discussed.

The DVD set is $50 plus $5 post in USA, $12 post elsewhere; Visa and MasterCard accepted. To order call 978 281 3222 or email HoofcareDVD@hoofcare.com.

© 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, April 23, 2009

Economic Impact: Brits Cancel Plan to Move International Team Farrier Competition

by Fran Jurga | 23 April 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

Great Britain's National Association of Farriers, Blacksmiths and Agricultural Engineers (NAFBAE) announced this week that it was cancelling previously-announced plans to move and expand the International Team Horseshoeing Competition.

NAFBAE had planned to move the famous event, to be held on 27-30 August 2009, to the Aintree Equestrian Centre near Liverpool.

Richard Hurcomb, NAFBAE president, blames economic concerns for the decision to keep the event at its long-time home with the roaring forges at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire, England. “Whilst I am disappointed that we have had to postpone our plans to develop the ‘International’, I believe that to continue to try and do so in the present economic climate will put unnecessary pressure on our supporters and the organizing team," he said.

(News courtesy of NAFBAE)

© 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.

New Kentucky Derby Logo Might Need a Re-Design

by Fran Jurga | 22 April 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

Do you notice anything about the new Kentucky Derby logo? It's a nice piece of artwork, but it's interesting that it fancifully represents a horseshoe that would not be allowed to touch the hallowed dirt that lies before the Twin Spires.

Here's a story you would only read on the Hoof Blog:

Churchill Downs has created a new family of logos for the Derby and the Oaks this year. I've already become so accustomed to seeing it that I didn't realize until today that the shoe in the logo is illegal at Churchill Downs since the CDI family of racetracks changed its shoeing rules back on October 14...and especially since it was double-scrubbed and approved for its safety policies by the NTRA recently.

Churchill Downs' rules state: "Front horse shoes which have toe grabs greater than two millimeters shall be prohibited from racing or training on all racing surfaces at all Churchill Downs Incorporated racetracks. This includes but is not limited to the following: toe grabs, bends, jar calks, stickers and any other traction device worn on the front shoes of Thoroughbred horses. "

And on hind shoes:

"Any hind shoe with a turndown of more than one-quarter inch will not be allowed on the dirt courses. Hind shoes with calks, stickers, blocks, raised toes or turndowns will not be allowed on the turf courses. This includes quarter horse shoes or any shoe with a toe grab of more than one-quarter inch."

Those heels on the logo shoe are not going to get past the horseshoe inspector.

Am I the only one who notices these things? Or is this artwork supposed to be a nostalgic icon for bygone days when you could nail anything you wanted on the bottom of a horse's foot and send it to the gate?

Now when the conversation lags at your Derby party next weekend, you can point to the logo and ask your friends, "What's wrong with this picture?" and impress them with your command of shoeing rules and horseshoe design.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. Permissions for use elsewhere are mostoften easily arranged. 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, April 21, 2009

Friends at Work: NBC News Says "Thank Goodness" for Paul's Willingness to Share His Knowledge with Farrier Interns

by Fran Jurga | 21 April 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog


Please allow time for NBC's "Thank Goodness" video to load. Click the play icon to begin.

NBC News recently snuck up on farrier Paul Goodness and his Forging Ahead farrier partnership, headquartered in a lovely old barn in Round Hill, Virginia, in the horse country west of Washington D.C., near Middleburg. The crew's quick little piece on shoeing horses for a filler in NBC's coverage of the Kentucky Derby turned into a news feature on the unique educational setting in this area where the only traffic jam might be between trucks hauling horse trailers carrying some of the world's greatest equine athletes.

The greatest athletes...and the lamest, since the Forging Ahead partnership specializes in keeping horses either sound for top-level competing, or bringing them back from every imaginable form of lameness. And sometimes it's a combination of the two.

About three years ago, Forging Ahead initiated an innovative internship program for farriers who wanted more than an apprenticeship. Paul Goodness made a commitment to share his 30 years of experience with one or two interns at a time, and they are getting a place to live, a salary, and exposure to a rustic old fieldstone forge that, like a prop in a Harry Potter movie, doubles as a high-tech testing lab for new products and is a launching pad for many new ideas used in shoeing horses and caring for lameness problems.

Interns even get to work with Paul in his duties providing farrier services at the Marion du Pont Scott Equine Medical Center, a satellite hospital of Virginia Tech University in nearby Leesburg. You'll just never get Paul to brag about it, that's all. The current interns are Evan Mickle, fresh from completing the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine farrier program with Michael Wildenstein and Gwen Nardi. But the NBC piece is not about Paul, it's about the future, which is really what his entire career has been about anyway: making things better for horses, easier for farriers, safer and cleaner and lots less painful for everyone. 

If the publicity could do one thing for Forging Ahead, Paul hopes it will bring new awareness to the internship program so that people who want to commit to an in-depth program to learn advanced farriery will find their way to Round Hill. Paul completed his own advanced farrier training in a similar program, now sadly discontinued, at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, and remembers that there was a long, long waiting list to gain a place there in the 1980s. The future looks bright for Forging Ahead.

In addition to Paul, the lineup of farriers working from Round Hill is currently Matt Hatcher, Randy Pawlak, Scott Sellers, and newcomers Zeb Foltz and Travis Burns (who is a graduate of the internship program), plus veteran farrier Scott Brouse recently joined the Forging Ahead roster. Farrier Amy Sidwar is on sabbatical, but still managing the internship program.

I asked Paul today how the economy was affecting the practice; Forging Ahead has a lot of mouths to feed. Although he said that his customers were buying fewer new horses, he said that it might work out for Forging Ahead if competitors want to take extra care to keep their veteran campaigners sound through the coming year.

"This winter was great, we actually are caught up, maybe for the first time ever," he sighed, but then quickly added that the expanding Florida eventing circuit was more demanding of their services than ever before, requiring at least one farrier to be there at all times.

"Things are just right," he said, but then remembered that the top event horses will come home from further south or from competing at the Rolex (Kentucky) Three-Day Event this weekend. "Everything could change next week, once they all get back," he acknowledged.

Whatever happens, the interns will have a front-row seat on some of the best action in the farrier world.

Click here to read an article about the launch of the internship program.

Click here to learn more about Forging Ahead.

Click here to learn more about the Forging Ahead internship application process.

Update: Since this article was first published in 2009, a few things have changed at Forging Ahead. Randy Pawlak is now on his own, pursuing his career shoeing some of the world's top event horses. Former intern Travis Burns is now Resident Farrier and Lecturer at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia. Read the comments for more news!

Just click image to order: $20 per poster; Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Drs Lisa Lancaster and Robert Bowker for sharing this incredible image!

  © 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, April 20, 2009

Keratoma Surgery Video: Case Study from World Horse Welfare

by Fran Jurga | 20 April 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

The pony's first keratoma surgery removed a section of hoof wall and the tumor beneath. The first surgery was done with the horse standing. (World Horse Welfare photo)

What's a keratoma? An irritation in the hoof wall, or perhaps trauma or some other cause, can disrupt the keratinization pattern in the wall. The horn tubules grow abnormally and form what could be called a horn-filled, non-cancerous tumor. Since it is caught under the hard wall, it presses against the soft tissue of the laminae that surround the coffin bone, or may press against the coronary band and disrupt growth. And it would probably cause a horse a lot of pain.

Yet many horses have keratomas and never show signs of lameness. When a radiograph suggests a keratoma may be present in a lame horse's foot, the horse will have minor surgery to remove it; in most cases the horse improves. The cause and treatment of keratomas seem to be of mild interest to most vet practices.

But if you can read the vet journals and farrier books from Europe, you might think we're missing something. Just as the Eskimos have 100 words for snow, they have a word for every specific condition in the foot and keratomas are classified into groups so that they start to sound pretty interesting.

You will agree if you ever attend a lecture by Dr Hans Castelijns of Italy on keratoma surgery; it is a “don’t miss” opportunity. He says that the German vets and farriers differentiate strongly between a regular keratoma, which he says originates at the sole, and a strand-like tumor that runs the entire length of the wall and originates at the coronary band.

Dutch author Rob Van Nassau in his outstanding book Hoof Problems, classifies equine foot keratomas into three types: fan-shaped, toe, and side wall.

In the nipper jaws you can see the vertical strands of the keratoma that was removed in the initial surgery.


Today’s case involves what is probably a strand-like tumor in a foundered pony named Toby that was rescued by our friends at World Horse Welfare (formerly the International League for the Protection of Horses) in England. It took two surgeries to remove the entire keratoma.

As an introduction, the pony was severely overweight and laminitic; when the laminitis pain was relieved, he still had pain in his toe, and radiography showed a defect that was attributed to a keratoma, so surgery was performed (top photo). The process involves removing a strip of hoof wall. Most horses recover quickly and fully. Surgery is usually conservative because removal of hoof wall at the toe can de-stablize the foot.

After he had recovered and the hoof wall healed, Toby started to develop a bulge around his coronary band so the decision was made to go a bit higher with the surgery and remove more tissue and get to the root of the keratoma.

This is probably the strand type of keratoma referred to by Dr. Castelijns. A similar but more worm-like non-horny growth was featured in Hoofcare & Lameness 78 in an article by Andrew Poynton FWCF. While working on that article with Andrew, I found an old 1800s paper that suggested that these strands really were worms that were lodged beneath the hoof wall and were eating the soft tissue, causing great pain.



Settle down for a few minutes and watch Toby go through his surgery under the capable care of vet Andy Williamson at World Horse Welfare's Hall Farm in the United Kingdom. This might be a great video for horse owners to learn about surgery and anesthesia, too. The first surgery was done with Toby standing, but this one was more involved.

It looks like a simple affair to make a video like this but for Mr Williamson to perform surgery with a camera crew hovering over him and all the while speaking into a microphone and sounding coherent is quite an accomplishment.

World Horse Welfare takes their role in educating people about the best possible care of horses very seriously, whether they are working in the scrapheaps of Soweto in South Africa or keeping an eye on horse welfare at a posh three-day event. When they take time out to make educational videos that will help with hoofcare education and offer them to Hoofcare and Lameness readers, I am amazed at the scope of their mission and their service to the horse. And their generosity.

Please take some time to visit their web site and look around; their laminitis prevention work is wonderful. They need your support...they certainly have mine.

To learn more about keratomas:

Click here to see a 3-D cat scan of a hoof with a keratoma.

Click here to download Hoof Wall Resection and Reconstruction for a Tubular Defect by Andrew Poynton FWCF as published in Hoofcare and Lameness Issue 78 as a free file from www.hoofcare.com.

Click here to order Hoof Problems by Rob Van Nassau and study the three types of keratomas.

© 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, April 19, 2009

Meet NEAEP. Now Ask: Who's an Equine Practitioner? New Org's Broader Definition Includes Vets and Farriers; Meeting Discount for Hoofcare Subscribers

by Fran Jurga | 19 April 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

NEAEP President Christopher ("Kit") Miller DVM and NEAEP Board Member David Farley work together in the barn aisle and in the board room. (NEAEP photo)

And now for something completely different...

A new organization unleashed a flurry of email promotions on the east coast of the USA this winter, and they're not done yet. The message is that a new organization, the Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners (NEAEP), plans to expand what (and who) an equine practitioner organization is by inviting veterinarians, technicians and farriers to become members of the new umbrella professional group.

And they would recommend that everyone's first step--whether members or prospective members--be to plan to attend an equally ambitious dual-program conference planned for the fall at the Foxwoods Casino Resort in Connecticut.

According to its web site, the mission of the NEAEP is "to improve the health and welfare of horses by providing state-of-the-art professional education and to support the economic security of the equine industry by complementing local associations thereby giving equine veterinarians, farriers, technicians, veterinary students and horse owners a unified voice at the state and regional levels."

Two farriers--Patrick Reilly of Pennsylvania and David Farley of Florida--are on the new association's Board of Directors.

Reilly said, "It is fantastic to have these two professions working together in these areas. While this was intended as a regional association, we have had interest in membership from farriers all over the United States, and from as far as Ireland. I am encouraged to see that other farriers are equally excited at this unique opportunity for our professions to work and learn together."

I caught up with Dave Farley recently to ask him about the organization from the working farrier's point of view. Dave is a longtime advocate of continuing education for farriers; he runs a show horse shoeing business with his son, both in Florida and in Ohio, and keeps up a busy clinic schedule working in product development and especially product education for Farrier Product Distribution.

"This is a commitment, it's not an experiment," Dave stressed. "And the wider membership extends to vet students and technicians. The NEAEP is committing to hosting a foot conference each year, which will benefit any farrier. It's really exciting, and a very open group. The veterinarians are willing to learn from us (farriers).

"One of the biggest accolades in the farrier industry is this, to be accepted on an equal level," he continued. "And here it is. I work with vets all the time, but I know a lot of farriers who don't, and this organization will help them."

Perusing the list of directors and officers of the organization shows that this group is rooted in the east coast circuit of show horses and sport horses, with several noted veterinary practitioners making a commitment to the startup, including Dr Mark Baus of Fairfield Equine Associates and Dr Stephen Soule of Palm Beach Equine Clinic. President Miller practices outside New York City.

The academic side of equine practice is not forgotten; Dr Jose Garcia-Lopez of Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine is currently President-Elect, and Reilly, the farrier quoted earlier, is on staff at the University of Pennsylvania and is on the board with Farley. You may recognize other disciplines and individuals on the long list of officials.

Hoofcare and Lameness has made a commitment in this venture as well. We will support the first conference and look forward to seeing many of our Hoof Blog readers and Journal subscribers there.

CONFERENCE DISCOUNT: The NEAEP has generously offered a $75 conference registration discount to Hoofcare and Lameness subscribers. This is like getting your subscription for free...with money left over! The catch is that you must pre-register by August 15th and, since the online registration is automated, you would need to register by phone to receive the discount. The normal registration for the three-day event is $465; the Hoofcare and Lameness rate will be just $390 for telephone registrations by August 15th.

By the time August rolls around, you will have forgotten this announcement, lost it, be away on vacation or be too busy to call. But you can get your registration done now, guarantee a hotel room, and plan to have a quality educational experience.

See you there!

Here are the links you will need to learn more:
NEAEP officials and staff
Vet program
Podiatry program
NEAEP membership information

© 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.

Friday, April 17, 2009

High-Tech Plastic Glue Shoes Carry American Horse to Historic Win at Dressage World Cup

by Fran Jurga | 16 April 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

UPDATE: Steffen Peters' freestyle score on Saturday night was high enough to put him over the top and declare the USA winner of the 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup in Dressage in Las Vegas. This is the first-ever non-European victory in the World Cup. Peters bested Germany's Isabel Werth on Satchmo by only .45 points; Dutch defending World Cup champion Anky Van Grunsven on IPS Painted Black--her #2 horse--was third.

The following story was written on Thursday night when Peters and Ravel won the Grand Prix, the first event in the World Cup competition. That was a shock in itself; this overall victory is astounding.

Two important bits of horse history were made and celebrated in the Thomas and Mack Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada today: First of all, an American horse and rider combination won the Rolex FEI World Cup Final Grand Prix, first leg of the Dressage World Cup Finals.

This is akin to an American soccer team winning in the FIFA World Cup! Steffen Peters and the black Dutch gelding Ravel bested second place rider (and defending World Cup champion) Anky Van Grunsven of The Netherlands by 3.8 points in a sport that is usually decided by decimals--and has never been won by an American!


But the Hoofcare and Lameness community will want to know that this was more than a sporting victory: it was a technological victory, as the San Diego-based duo did it the new-fangled way. Ravel has now won 11 shows in a row in the USA and finished fourth in the 2008 Olympics wearing glued EponaShoes on his front feet. Ravel is shod by Stephan Tournier of Fallbrook, California.

It was a great night for innovators in the hoof technology world.

I spoke with John Craig of Eponashoes tonight, who said that he and his wife, Monique, are thrilled for Steffen and Ravel; they are also the developers of Metron software for quantitative hoof measurement analysis. John said that the shoes are held on by glue and a couple of nails, as well, in the case of this large warmblood. Ravel is owned by Akiko Yamazaki of California.

The World Cup will be decided on Saturday night when the top horses from today's Grand Prix compete in the musical freestyle. Stay tuned: a lot can happen, but Steffen has a solid lead.

Top photo of Ravel links to www.clubequestrian.com, the social networking site of the US Equestrian Team. Thanks to Joanie Morris and John Craig for information used in this post.


© 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, April 14, 2009

"The Horse Boy" Rides Today: The Healing Power of Horses Illuminates Our Need to Know More About Autism

"This is a story everyone needs to hear."
--Animal Behaviorist Temple Grandin PhD
(who is also autistic)

Today is the USA release day for the new book The Horse Boy by Rupert Isaacson, a book that has nothing to do with hooves and everything to do with horses on the most elemental level: the power of horses to let us be ourselves and to bring out the best in us.

If you had a child who needed your help with a massive problem like autism, where would you turn after you had been to all the doctors, all the clinics, and all the psychologists? Would you pace around your own dusty Texas backyard, and then turn to your neighbor's Quarter horse mare, to see if she might be able to help? Horses helped you when you were a child, didn't they? And if she did help him...then what? Would you stop there?

Or would you go to the ends of the earth to try to help your child? If a little bit of horse is good, would a lot of horse be better? Would you set aside all the cultural and belief systems you hold and look for help in a place so strange and foreign that only the smell of the horses was familiar?

If you did those things, it would sound and look like the story and photos in this important new book, the true story of a family on the run toward hope, because they already know it is futile to stand still. "It's important to do something," the experts tell them. But no one expected a young family to take on an adventure like this.

A photo by Justin Hennard who accompanied the family on their Mongolian journey.

You may know someone who works with therapeutic riding programs, a special needs teacher or volunteer, a parent or family member with a child who needs some hope, or someone who believes very strongly in the spiritual power of horses to heal humans on many levels. Please tell those people about this book. However, The Horse Boy is not a how-to book, and it's not a text on autism or horse-assisted therapy: it is one family's story...that happens to be a great adventure.

Here's a short clip from the documentary film made about the family's journey to Mongolia. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah this winter and will be in theaters across the US and Britain this fall.
A year ago the readers of this blog forwarded Molly the Pony's story around the world and back again. If you can possibly forward this post to friends today, it might make the difference to some children or some therapeutic riding programs somewhere. I am sure that the publicity surrounding this book will be wonderful for all who are involved with equine-assisted therapy. Let's get the word out! The copy-and-paste address for this blog post is: http://hoofcare.blogspot.com/2009/04/horse-boy-rides-today-healing-power-of.html The book can be ordered now from Hoofcare Books (see below), or possibly from your local independently-owned bookstore. Editors, journalists: Please contact Fran Jurga about The Horse Boy's horse-related publicity. Click here to read an article about the book in today's edition of the New York Times. Ordering info: Mail checks in US funds to Hoofcare/Horse Boy, 19 Harbor Loop, Gloucester MA 01930. Tel orders 978 281 3222; Fax orders to 978 283 8775; email orders horseboy@hoofcare.com. Cost per book: $25 plus US postage: $6 first book, $4 each additional book. Canada and the rest of the world: $25 per book plus $13 post per book. Note: postage rates subject to change without notice. Please include telephone and/or email contact information with all orders. THE HORSE BOY was published in the USA by Little,Brown on April 14, 2009; it is 368 pages, hardcover with dust jacket, color photographs. Click here to download a printable/mailable/faxable order form.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mo-Cap Video Treat: Horse and Rider in Motion, Video-Captured and Computer-Recreated

by Fran Jurga | 13 April 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog



This little clip is titled A Biomechanical Analysis of Relationship Between the Head and Neck Position, Vertebral Column and Limbs in the Horse at Walk and Trot and is from the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science in Uppsala, Sweden. Thanks to researcher Marie Rhodin for sharing this little snapshot of what goes on at Uppsala.

Dr. Rhodin writes: "Reflective markers were glued onto the skin above anatomical structures defined through palpation. A high speed 3D infrared camera system (ProReflex) was used to capture data. Twelve cameras were used and a treadmill instrumented with a force measuring system was used for simultaneous, synchronized force measurements. Qualisys software was used for the motion analysis."

Dr. Rhodin's name is one that is seen quite often lately on the rosters of world-class equine biomechanics research. She was involved with two presentations at last year's International Conference on Equine Locomotion (ICEL6) in France. Working with our friend at Uppsala, Dr. Christopher Johnston, and Lars Roepstorff and Anna Byström, and collaborating with researcher Dr. Michael Weishaupt at the University of Zurich and Dr. René van Weeren at the University of Utrecht in Holland, Dr. Rhodin's team collected data on the motion of horses when the rider is in the sitting vs rising (posting) trot, and also compared the motion of the horse on each lead.

What you are seeing in this little video clip is the new generation of motion capture gait analysis--the rider gets analyzed along with the horse! The clip begins with the "real" video of the markered horse and rider; you then see the dots that the infrared cameras would "see" and translate into data. The data is then crunched and re-configured into an accurate animation of the horse and rider in skeletal form so that the movement of the bones and joints can be analyzed. This is a huge advance, since the horse is an asymmetric form and needs to be seen from all angles to get a true picture of movement. (And this is a vast over-simplification of the process.)

Through this type of motion capture, researchers can compare the effects of different equipment (Uppsala recently studied the effect of weighted boots on the movement of the back), different riders, and (one day), different surfaces. Being able to accurately record both the rider and the horse are rocketing equestrian sport science ahead. These are exciting times.

Many thanks to Dr. Rhodin and her research team at Uppsala and beyond for making the video clip available to Hoof Blog readers.

© 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, April 11, 2009

Will You See a Horse Being Shod in Your Church Window on Easter Sunday?

by Fran Jurga | 11 April 2009 | Fran Jurga Hoof Blog

A church window expertly photographed by Dave Webster

Not out the window, but in the window! In at least two churches I've found, farriers are featured in the windows!

The first, which you see above, is in St Cuthbert in Kildale, in North Yorkshire, England. Notice that the farrier is using what we call now a "toeing knife" to trim the hoof, instead of nippers with jaws.

The church hosts some magnificent contemporary (1990s) stained windows by the English artist firm, Goddard and Gibbs. The church windows show a yoke of oxen, too!

Surely there is no more famous farrier window than in the magnificent cathedral at Chartres in France. This window was a gift from the guild of farriers and was sent to Hoof Blog readers by our dear friend, French farrier Denis Leveillard, former president of the European Federation of Farriers.

It's interesting to note that this farrier has a hammer in his hand but he's not nailing on a shoe. He might be guiding some sort of toe knife but the foot is on the ground, so I might need some Euro-coaching to explain this for you. Or maybe he's clinching a nail?

Food for thought: The Cathedral at Chartres was completed in 1260, roughly 700 years before St Cuthbert.

Thanks to Dave and Denis for sharing these images...and happy jelly beans, chocolate eggs and marshmallow Peeps to all!

© 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.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Video: Ian McKinlay's Quarter Crack Patch Drainage System

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



As promised, here's "film at eleven", just like on the evening news. Ian McKinlay videotaped the steps in the process he used to make a sub-p,atch drainage system for a quarter crack on Kentucky Derby contender Quality Road, who is now training at Belmont Park with trainer Jimmy Jerkens and will hopefully get a good work by this weekend.

PLEASE NOTE: The horse in this video clip is not Quality Road. It's his stunt double. Ian did do this procedure yesterday on Quality Road (scroll down for more on this horse's crack and patch over the past five days) but did it again on another horse in order to make this video so the Hoofcare and Lameness community could see both what he did and how he did it.

The drain is a precautionary step so that if the horse does have a flareup of inflammation, it can be treated. Please read the previous post about the technique, which Ian is not claiming to have invented.

I know that everyone will ask about the glue, it is the same PMMA-adhesive Ian has been selling, but in a new packaging system that will allow the user to cool it in summer to slow down the setup time so it can be shaped. Ian's Tenderhoof company sells sutures, drains and adhesive on his website. Click here to learn more.

Thanks to Ian for doing this; it's not easy filming a procedure in a racetrack shedrow with a moving horse, and that's just the beginning: editing and narrating can be even more work than the filming. I'm sure that this makes it much easier for everyone to understand.

© 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, April 08, 2009

Ian McKinlay: Quality Road's Hoof Is Patched and Ready to Go

by Fran Jurga | 8 April 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

Hoof repair specialist Ian McKinlay checked in this morning to let Hoof Blog readers know that the heat is gone from Quality Road's foot and that he was able to patch the colt's quarter crack today at trainer Jimmy Jerkens's barn at New York's Belmont Park. (Scroll down to read Monday's post about the crack.)

There is so much riding on this horse's ability to stay in training over the next few weeks as the Kentucky Derby approaches that Ian modified his usual patching technique: he installed a drain under the patch in the event that any fluid needs to escape. "It's probably overkill," Ian said, "but why take any chances?"

He said that the foot was "cold" (meaning not overly warm to the touch, indicating inflammation).

Other professionals, such as Rob Sigafoos and Dr. Scott Morrison, have used drains under acrylic repair and hoof casting material routinely but Ian has been cautious about this, perhaps because so many of the cases he works on are drive-bys, and he may not be able to return to make adjustments. Thoroughbred racehorses, especially lame ones, circulate from the track to layup farms to other tracks to sales to vet clinics to training centers and back again.

A galloping young Thoroughbred, especially one as large as Quality Road, would also put a lot of stress on a tiny length of plastic tubing.

We should have media on his new technique later this week.

© 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.

Oklahoma Uprising? Rodeo Star Arrest for Illegal Equine Dentistry Sends Horse Owners to State Capitol

by Fran Jurga | 8 April 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog


They say "Don't mess with Texas," but I think there's a PS implied in there: "Or Oklahoma, neither."

I don't usually have much news from Oklahoma but between last year's disease outbreak there, horseshoeing school owner Reggie Kester's recent death, and philanthropist Madeleine Pickens's withdrawal of her multi-million dollar donation to the Oklahoma State vet school because they use live animals to teach surgery, I am singing the Broadway theme song.

Add in the growing popularity of Oklahoma veterinarian Dr. Michael Steward's clog treatment for laminitis, the recent banning of cloned Quarter horses from the state's racetracks and the stiffening of the state's veterinary practice act to classify non-veterinary tooth floating as a felony and I feel like I may as well move there just to report on the news.

But I won't be packing a tooth rasp.

And isn't it tornado season?

In a nutshell, to bring you up to date: Oklahoma's state legislature in 2008 voted to re-classify dentistry work by a non-veterinarian as a felony. It was formerly a misdemeanor. But would they actually arrest someone for illegal tooth floating?

And, if so, which of the state's twenty-odd horse dentists would be targeted?

We found out last month. National Finals Rodeo saddle bronc star Bobby Griswold apparently picks up some money on the side by doing teeth; his downfall came when he sedated a horse and did dental work for an undercover investigator for the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

That's the first part of the story and it reads like a tv script: the first person arrested in Oklahoma for violating the beefed-up law just happened to be a celebrity. A celebrity who may be turning into a folk hero if you read the barrel racing and rodeo magazines and web sites.

I think there is interesting information in Bobby Griswold's biography: his town was hit by an F5 tornado in 1999, then five years later, in 2004, another tornado hit his new property in a new town. And now, five years again later, he's caught up in a whirlwind, of a different sort. And tornado season is just beginning.

The rest of this story is that, according to an article in today's edition of the Oklahoman, about 50 horse owners "stormed" the state Capitol yesterday and a state legislator filed an amendment to the veterinary statutes.

To quote the newspaper:
"This amendment would allow equine dentistry and other animal procedures, such as shoeing hooves and transferring embryos in cattle, to be done without a veterinary license. Those practices now fall under the supervision of the state Board of Veterinary Examiners. The amendment would put them under the state Agriculture, Food and Forestry Department."

That's the first time I have seen a reference to shoeing in this matter, and it certainly got my attention. Then I re-read it and, being the editor I am, realized that it technically meant shoeing hooves of cattle, which may or may not have been the intent of the writer.

The rally was organized by the Institute for Justice, an organization that has been actively challenging veterinary practice acts in states like Maryland, where a massage therapist stood up for her rights to rub horses.

Somehow, I don't think this is the end to this story. Stay tuned!

Please read information from many different sources before you make up your mind on this complex issue...and please be sure to stay abreast of developments and changes in legislation status affecting the care and health of animals--and who can do what to them, and where and how--in any state where you work on, show, breed, ride, buy or sell horses.

Click here for information from the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association (not the state regulatory board, but the association of veterinarians) about equine dentistry and regulations in the state.
Click here for an article in the Journal-Record about the new legislation and the Institute for Justice's involvement.
Click here for the Oklahoman's account of the horse owners' rally and new legislation.
Click here for the Oklahoman's account of Bobby Griswold's arrest for violating the Veterinary Practice Act, complete with mug shot.
Click here for Bobby Griswold's defense fund home page.


© 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, April 07, 2009

Sport Horse Biomechanics DVD Rollout: "If Horses Could Speak"--Would They Scream "Ouch"? German Vet Thinks So.

by Fran Jurga | 7 April 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog


The trailer for our new "If Horses Could Speak" DVD is in German with subtitles but the DVD we are selling has been re-engineered with an English soundtrack.

Enjoy this trailer for the feature-length DVD now offered for sale by Hoofcare Publishing.

What are the potential ill effects of training methods used for "sport" dressage vs the "classical" way of riding and training? Known for his campaign against "rollkur" (hyperflexion), Dr Gerd Heuschmann's If Horses Could Speak DVD goes even further in this dvd and condemns "modern" training and riding methods that he feels are damaging to horses, even though they produce an upper level dressage horse in a shorter time and the judges seem to like what he considers incorrect movement.

Warning: this DVD is graphic and sometimes even violent; at other times it is beautiful and poetic and the special 3-d animated anatomy graphics are spectacular, if all too brief. The scenes of an anesthestized horse being prepped for surgery may be upsetting to someone who hasn't seen it before and the DVD is not specific about the nature of the leg tendon or suspensory ligament injury surgery and how it is related to improper training or movement.

For all of you who ever thought of dressage as being akin to "watching paint dry", here's your wake-up call.

Specifics:75 minute DVD format in English • USA DVD format (may not play on all Euro systems) • "Starring" Dr. Gerd Heuschmann with commentary by Oberberieter Johann Riegler of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna and Professor Heinz Meyer and Peter Kreinberg, riding by Grand Prix rider David de Wispelaere, with introduction and epilogue by the esteemed equestrian historian Hans-Heinrich Isenbart and so much more. • Special effects and animation by Pixomondo • Produced by Isabella Sonntag and Wu-Wei VerlagPrice $60US plus $6 post in USA, $12 post to the rest of the world. (Companion book, Tug of War, is $25 plus $6 post.)

Click here for more information on ordering the complete 75-minute dvd with new English narration and/or Dr Heuschmann's best-selling book Tug of War. Alternately, call 01 978 281 3222 or fax 01 978 283 8775 with Visa/Mastercard information, send checks to Hoofcare Books, 19 Harbor Loop, Gloucester MA 01930, or email our office.

Click here to watch an interview with Dr. Heuschmann posted previously on The Hoof Blog.

Disclaimer: Opinions stated in the DVD are open to interpretation according to some anatomists and biomechanics experts. Trainers and riders and veterinarians and farriers and anyone who works around these horses shares their moments of pain and knows their athletic prowess. There are no easy answers and anyone interested in this area should follow the research of biomechancs leaders like Drs. Hilary Clayton and Jean-Marie Denoix as well as the equine spinal research of Drs. Rachel Murray, Sue Dyson or Kevin Haussler (to name but a few).

The Hoof Blog
tries to keep readers abreast of new developments in this area and they are coming along at a fast clip, which must be very encouraging for Dr. Heuschmann and others who have rattled a stick on the fence to get attention for the welfare of competition horses.

Please let me know what you think of this DVD after you have watched it. Whether you agree with this DVD or not, you will have to agree that the window is open to a new world of science and research and that Heuschmann's passionate work legitimizes and demands more of the new field of equine sport science. Thank you, Dr. Heuschmann.

© 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, April 06, 2009

Quarter Crack! Quality Road Meets Ian McKinlay for Hoof Repair Session 25 Days Before Kentucky Derby

by Fran Jurga | 6 April 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

This is an example of a quarter crack lacing technique, using stainless steel sutures laced through tiny and shallow guide holes drilled with a very fine drill bit. The idea is not to shut the crack but to hold it open and stabilize it so that any infection or "heat" can dissipate before a patch is applied. Quarter cracks have varying degrees of infection and may or may not be associated with an abscess somewhere else under the hoof wall. The new complete hoof wall grows down from the hairline, much as you grow a new fingernail from the cuticle. (Ian McKinlay photo)

One week you're a hero: On March 28, a New York-based colt named Quality Road wowed the racing world with a powerhouse victory over Todd Pletcher's highly-regarded contender Dunkirk in the 2009 Florida Derby at Gulfstream. Kentucky Derby, here they come!

Ten days later, you're looking for a hero.

Quality Road has found one: Ian McKinlay's black Suburban has been parked in front of the big colt's stall at New York's Belmont Park. The noted hoof repair specialist--neither veterinarian nor farrier but a critical consultant to top racehorse trainers--got the call from trainer Jimmy Jerkens to work on a crack in the inside quarter of the colt's right hind hoof.

McKinlay said this afternoon that the crack popped during the Florida Derby and was patched before the horse shipped back to New York, but that inflammation under the Florida patch had Jerkens looking for some help, and New Jersey-based McKinlay was soon on his way to the track.

McKinlay said he pulled off the old patch, cleaned up the crack, laced it with stainless steel sutures and applied a drying agent. He left the crack "wide open" so it would dry and said that the horse galloped today and was sound, but they were waiting for it to dry up.

"We should be able to patch it, possibly by the end of the week. The whole thing should be over by this weekend and he'll be on his way...or else my reputation will be shot!" McKinlay said, half joking.

Jerkens is a popular New York trainer who would carry a lot of sentimental support with him when and if his horse makes the scheduled April 28th departure date for Kentucky.

McKinlay said that the cracked hoof had been shod with a bar shoe to stabilize it but that Quality Road will be back in a regular shoe once the patch is applied later this week.

He repeated several times that he did not think that this crack would affect the horse's trip to Kentucky or his chances in the Derby, barring unforeseen complications. "This is no Big Brown type of situation," he said more than once.

Last year's Triple Crown news was headlined by McKinlay's work to help that colt through wall separations on both front feet and then a pre-Belmont quarter crack that may or may not have been too much for the champion. Something was, as he failed to run his race in the Belmont Stakes and did not win the Triple Crown in spite of patches on patches and designer glue-on Yasha shoes that have been successful for other horses and had helped him win the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

Quality Road is a very big colt; he is a Virginia-bred son of Elusive Quality and is owned by Edward P. Evans. He set a new 1 1/8-mile course record in 1:47.72 at Gulfstream with his Florida Derby win. Pletcher complained after the race that the track was too fast and that he wouldn't have run his horse if he had known how lightning fast the track would be.

Quality Road may have paid the price for an exciting race and a new track record. Let's hope Ian McKinlay is right and this is a minor setback for a horse that--if he's sound--can help make this year's Triple Crown series exciting.

Click here for stories and video of Ian McKinlay's technique for quarter crack repair.
Click here for an overview of quarter crack repair.
Click here for an article about Big Brown's pre-Belmont 2008 quarter crack.

© 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.