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Monday, June 29, 2009

Grayson Jockey Club Summit's DVD "The Hoof: Inside and Out" Ready for Free Downloading



(Continuing Education Announcement)


Welfare and Safety Summit Committee Releases
Free Educational DVD on Hoof Care
The Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit’s Shoeing and Hoof Care Committee is now offering a free educational DVD. The Hoof: Inside and Out examines the physiology of the equine hoof and demonstrates proper care and shoeing techniques.
“The hoof is the foundation of equine performance so it is imperative that those entrusted with the well-being of racehorses possess the knowledge necessary to properly care for and maintain this core component of equine locomotion,” said WinStar Farm co-owner Bill Casner, chairman of the Summit’s Shoeing and Hoof Care Committee. “This DVD provides some basic information that will be helpful to owners, trainers, grooms, and anyone else involved with the racehorse, to have a better understanding of the hoof and its care.”
The 65-minute DVD, which was produced by the Keeneland Association’s broadcast services department under the direction of G.D. Hieronymus, includes seven segments:
  • Introduction and Overview
  • Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit
  • Physiology — The Equine Limb
  • Basic Hoof Care and Trimming
  • The Basics of Horse Shoeing
  • Types of Shoes
  • Farrier’s Role and Communication (with Trainers and Owners)
The video is available for download (at no charge) from the summit’s website at http://www.grayson-jockeyclub.org/summitdisplay.asp. (Note: this is a large file download.)
A DVD copy of The Hoof: Inside and Out can be obtained free of charge (limit one per customer) by contacting Cathy McNeeley, The Jockey Club’s administrative assistant for industry initiatives, at (859) 224-2728 or cmcneeley@jockeyclub.com.
The Hoof: Inside and Out features the insights of a number of hoof experts and industry professionals, including Mitch Taylor, director of the Kentucky Horseshoeing School; prominent Kentucky-based farriers Steve Norman and Colby Tipton; Dr. Scott Morrison of the Podiatry Center at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital; Dr. Sue Stover of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Mary Scollay, equine medical director for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission; Kentucky Derby-winning trainer John T. Ward; Bill Casner; and Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation President Ed Bowen.
The Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, coordinated and underwritten by Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and The Jockey Club, featured a wide cross-section of the breeding, racing, and veterinary community for two-day workshops in October 2006 and March 2008. Both summits were hosted by Keeneland Association.
Additional information about the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit is available on the summit’s website at http://www.grayson-jockeyclub.org/summitdisplay.asp.

Note: Fran Jurga and Hoofcare & Lameness Journal were involved in making this DVD. Readers of the journal and blog will recognize authors, photos and video clips from Hoofcare projects. In addition to the "stars" listed above, the video includes still photos and clips by Sarah K. Andrew, Rob van Nassau and his Hoof Problems book, Michael Wildenstein and other sources. The 65-minute video is a large-file download.

Click here to follow Fran Jurga on Twitter.
Hoof Blog contents © 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.

Rachel's Hoof Blog Confidential: Hind Hooves of the Hottest Filly in the USA

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

The jock in the shower: Preakness Stakes winner Rachel Alexandra enjoyed a bath after her 19-length romp in Saturday's Mother Goose Stakes at New York's Belmont Park. She set a new stakes record, in spite of being eased to a rolling canter by rider Calvin Borel at the finish.

Photographer Sarah K. Andrew (Rock and Racehorses) followed the filly back to the barn and waited patiently for Rachel to do a little dance so you could clearly see at least one of the four fleet feet on this filly.

As far as I know, Rachel is still being shod by David Hinton from Oklahoma.

Rachel has now moved to the Asmussen training camp at Saratoga Springs, where the rest of the racing world will join her in a few weeks.

Hoofcare & Lameness and The Hoof Blog will be there, too. Join me on Tueday nights at The Parting for speakers and social time, and plan to be at our special Hoofcare & Lameness night at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame on Tuesday, August 4, where we will celebrate the addition of lots more horseshoes and hoof paraphernalia to the RideOn! exhibit on horse health.

Horseshoes from the Rood and Riddle Podiatry Clinic are prominently featured in the new exhibit, along with hoof boots from Castle Plastics and Hoofeez from New Zealand, another handmade shoe by Cornell vet school's Michael Wildenstein, the new hoof pads from Vibram, a Plastinate hoof model from HC Biovision (formerly featured just in photos) and much more. Watch for speaker and sponsor announcements!

Did I just say that Rachel Alexandra was the hottest filly in the USA? Make that the hottest racehorse, period, in the USA, although I would still give equal time to her older rival, Zenyatta. The buzz surrounding these two horses is enlivening a racing scene that had been written off by the doom-and-gloom set a few months ago.

Follow the Hoof Blog's Fran Jurga on Twitter: www.twitter.com/franjurga




© 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, June 23, 2009

Ireland's Fine Horses Once Passed Through This Arch

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

County Carlow in Ireland is home to this skeleton of a once proud forge. Double-click on the image for a larger view. Photo kindly loaned by Paddy Martin.

Throughout the lifetime of this blog, I have periodically shared with readers and casual visitors, evidence of a few special remaining buildings that are scattered around the globe. These buildings are usually in the British Isles. They are special in that they employ the simplest and most elegant form in nature, the arch, to emulate a horseshoe as the supporting doorway of a smithy or shoeing forge.

True to form, as soon as you publish one, another one pops up. Or, in today's case, two pop up.

We have Paddy Martin from Ireland to thank for these, and I do thank him heartily.

The top photo is my favorite. The arch of the old forge may soon be all that is left. It was definitely the strongest form. Notice the arch in the fence gate. And even the ivy on the cottage is attempting to imitate the form of an arch. This must be a magical place.

I can't help but notice that the scale of this arch is more powerful than many of the horseshoe doorways seen in other smithys from days gone by. The balance between doorway and the front face of the building is fully dominated by the arch. You could drive a truck through there, or Vulcan's fieriest steeds. Surely either this farrier was a proud man, or a prosperous one, or both, and that must have meant that the horses in the area were worthy of a fine smithy, back in the day.

But why hasn't it been preserved? There's certainly something beautiful in the neglectful state, but how long before it crumbles?

Paddy writes, "I'm now 60 years old and the first time that I saw this old forge was when I was walking or 'driving' cattle from a farm near Castledermot to another farm near Rathvilly in County Carlow...a distance of about seven miles. I was helping my father and I must have been about 10 at the time. I seem to remember the name Cummins or Cummings being associated with this old forge. At about 18 I moved away from the area and I have only become reacquainted since my daughter moved into a house two minutes away a couple of years ago.

"The forge is located at Corballis Cross Roads which is on the 'back road' from Castledermot to Baltinglass through Crop Hill in South Kildare. The building itself seems not to be past restoration...must have a closer look when I'm there again."

Note to Paddy: Find out if it is for sale....

And this slightly different rendition on the arched doorway is in County Kildare. Photo kindly loaned by Paddy Martin.

Paddy's second forge photo is one that I believe I have seen pictured before; he says it is on the road from Kildare Town to Rathangan in County Kildare. It is very similar to others found in Ireland but it doesn't have the single window above the keystone--or maybe it did and it has been bricked over.

I need to make some sort of a Google Map with all these great old forges marked on it so someone (maybe even me, someday) could go on tour and visit them all. We could have some sort of a smithy architecture road rally up and down the British Isles. In order to win you'd have to have a picture of yourself in front of each forge. That's the sort of farrier competition I might be able to win.

© 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.

When Art and Craft Combined in One Tool: Steve Teichman's Hoof Nippers

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

Back in the depths of winter, I was at the American Farrier's Association Convention in Tennessee. The annual fundraising auction there is a special treat because it is a collection of work by farriers, for the most part, or by artists who have painted or sculpted farriers or hooves or horses. From the tiniest, most delicate ring to a huge, rough-hewn coffee table or a towering wine rack, each treasure is one of a kind and somehow bears the indelible stamp of farrierism on it. Unmistakably. Undeniably. The prices that these items usually bring are as impressive as the workmanship.

This year, I was knocked out the most by this pair of GE nippers. Yes, this is a standard out-of-the-pouch pair of GE nippers. But they have been transformed by farrier Steve Teichman of Pennsylvania, who is also a master at artistic engraving. Steve's work is subtle and very fine, and the fact that he would choose to engrave a tool that has reins that are edged in different ways is testimony to his confidence in his art. Surely these are the nippers that would have manicured the hoof walls of the horses in some fantasy kingdom faraway. They looked enchanted.

What are nippers?
For those readers who are not in or around the farrier world, nippers are sort of long-handled toe-nail clippers for horses. The three main cutting tools used in trimming horses are the nippers for the wall, the sole knife, and the rasp for flattening the foot and dressing the wall. Nippers come first and there's no going back if you nip too much. They are used to clip the edge of the hoof wall and come in different lengths, and there are racetrack nippers and saddlehorse nippers. The cutting edges of the blades, where they meet, are very sharp, so that a farrier can nip accurately and get a clean cut on a hard, dry hoof wall as well as a soggy, soft one. Farriers take very good care of all their tools, but are especially careful of their nippers. The nippers in this photo are made from a high grade of steel by the GE Forge and Tool Company of Arroyo Grande, California. I've always wondered when riveted or hinged nippers first came into use and where. Does anyone know?

I admired Steve's nippers all week but when the auction started, they were one of the first items to go. The room was only half full and they sold for far less than their real value, many of us thought. I was crushed, and glad Steve wasn't there. The buyer got a real bargain. And he knew it, too.

As much time as Steve spent engraving the nippers, I think I have spent trying to get a good Photoshop image of them. My friends Liz and Garnet Oetjens took great photos, but they always look different on the computer screen and I've been afraid to post a photo because I want to do Steve's work justice. But enough time has passed: suffice to say, the dark areas are just shadows, not any artifact of the engraving or manufacturing the nippers.

The next AFA auction will be at their 2010 convention in Portland, Oregon February 24-27. I'm sure all the artists are busy working on their masterpieces now. Enchantments are underway in studios, forges, basements, garages and through camera lens across the USA. I'll be amazed, all over again.

© 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, June 21, 2009

Father's Day Video Treat: Buster Keaton in "The Blacksmith"

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




"Under the scrawny palm tree,
 the village smithy stands..."

It may have been made in 1922, but it will still make you laugh. One of the world's all-time great film stars and comedians didn't need a voice. You don't need to hear his hammer strike or his fire hiss or the horse's hoof hit the smithy floor. He's so good, he makes you hear it.

Settle down for 20 minutes and watch a bit of film history. And if you're a father, happy father's day.

Old car buffs will like the vintage Rolls Royce in this film! I like the rolling ladder, not to mention all the wooden boxes of horseshoes. I liked the display of sample horseshoes too; it looked like he had a sample of a rope shoe or pad, used to prevent slipping on pavement.


Don't you wonder how they set this up for filming and where they found the props? Or did they just remove one wall of an existing shoeing shop somewhere outside Los Angeles?

Keaton was the director as well as the star of this film. I wish I knew more about how and why and where he made this little gem of a film. The video is hosted from archive.org, and we appreciate their help in making it possible to share it with you.

Update: In 2013, a new cut of this film was unearthed, so there are now two versions of this film, with different scenes. This one is the original, longstanding version but wouldn't you love to watch them both!

Thanks to Susanna Forrest, author of If Wishes Were Horses, for assistance with this article.

Here's one of my favorite-ever covers of Hoofcare & Lameness Journal, perfect for Fathers Day! If you double-click on the image, you should be able to see it in a larger size.

© 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, June 17, 2009

Tim Flach's EQUUS: What Image Defines the Horse for You?





© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. All images and text protected to full extent of law. Permissions for use in other media or elsewhere on the web can be 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 or received via a daily email through an automated delivery service.

To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness, please visit our 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.

Comments to individual posts are welcome; please click on the comment icon at the bottom of the post.

A Foal Meets His First Rasp


Foal_2009_0038, originally uploaded by Equest Images.

"Hey, Mom, what's that thing?"

Photographer Nadja Fischer captured this rite of passage at the Oswood Stallion Station in Weatherford, Texas recently. The shiny tool box on wheels is old hat to the mare, but the foal is curious, and will probably soon feel the cool cut of the rasp's teeth on the soft hoof wall.

Nadja Fischer is a bilingual German/English photographer just launching her career with a promising portfolio of images. We wish her luck as, just like this foal, she learns her way around the business and rises, hopefully, to the top through the proven combination of hard work and talent.

Weatherford, Texas is one of the cutting horse industry's central points for breeding and training farms, and also home to several major equine hospitals.

Thanks, Nadja, and good luck to foal #38!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Another Country Heard From: 2009 Malaysian Farriers Competition

by Fran Jurga | 14 June 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog


National Horse Show 2009, Penang, originally uploaded by zehom.

Last week's National Horse Show at Penang in Malaysia featured the nation's farrier competition. We don't have any details, but these photos are more than we've had in previous years...if there have been competitions in Malaysia in previous years. Thanks to Zehom for sharing these photos with The Hoof Blog. I know we have blog readers from Malaysia, so I hope that someone in this photo gets the news that these photos are making their way around the world!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Before the Sun Sets on the Triple Crown

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

Before the 2009 Triple Crown series of races fades from our memories, I'd like to share this photo with you, which is my pick for the best of many, many great photos to come out of this year's Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont races for three-year-old Thoroughbreds. Sarah K. Andrew did it again, and I'd like to thank her for being in the right place at the right time and for sharing this photo.

What's special about this photo is that it was taken minutes after the finish of the Kentucky Derby. My guess is that Mine That Bird's camp had not done a dress rehearsal of where to go and what to do if the horse won and would be headed to the winner's circle.

Charlie Figueroa has been Mine That Bird's groom and exercise rider throughout the Triple Crown, as well as Chip Woolley's legs while the trainer has been on crutches. Charlie normally works at the farm back in New Mexico, where he breaks and trains the young horses.

I've seen a hundred pictures of this man in the past couple of months and he's been smiling in most of them. But the smile on his face in this photo, when he's just grabbed his muddy horse out of the winner's circle to bring him back to the barn, is very special. You can almost see the lift in his walk. He's a happy man.

After all that racing has been through lately, the Triple Crown seemed to have an angel looking over it, even though Friesan Fire and Dunkirk are now out with fractures, I Want Revenge has fetlock ligament damage, and we're still waiting for Florida Derby winner Quality Road to get back to the races after recovering from his matching front and hind quarter cracks.

They've gone to the four winds: Pioneerof The Nile with his hot fit flames is back to California. Belmont winner Summer Bird is headed to Louisiana. Mine That Bird's team seems to understandably like it at Churchill Downs, where rumor has it that the Kentucky Derby Museum has asked Chip Woolley for his crutches when he's ready to walk on his own again.

The Triple Crown may be over, but in six weeks, the sun will be glowing through the fog in Saratoga at dawn, the way it always does and the way it always has. With luck, these three-year-old horses we've come to know and maybe even Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra will give the racing tribe some thrills at America's oldest track.

Charlie, his big smile, and his fast little horse would fit right in.

See you there!

Hoofcare Publishing will host a series of informal educational events in Saratoga during the race meet on Tuesday evenings. Watch this blog for more details of speakers and sponsors, or email Saratoga@hoofcare.com for more details about attending or sponsoring. The blog will come alive! Most events are held either at the Parting Pub's back room or at the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Australian Anatomy Animation: Tendons and Ligaments of the Distal Limb

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



People make a lot of jokes about "boning" up on their equine anatomy knowledge, but Australian researcher Jonathan Merritt took it to heart and dedicated himself to creating a three-dimensional model of the lower limb of the horse, on which he has applied the ligaments that hold the entire apparatus together and the tendons that move its parts. He applied them layer by layer so that you can see the enormous complexity of the segmented structure of the equine limb.

The technical definition of a ligament is an attachment between two bones; generally a ligament is in a position that will make use of its fibruous strength in just the right place and angle to stabilize a joint. Ligaments allow flexion, but prevent malfunction. Tendons, of course, are extensions of the muscles in the upper limb that move the joints in the lower limb.

Jonathan Merritt's PhD thesis at the University of Melbourne was on the biomechanics of the forelimb of the horse. The focus of the research has been the relationship between the dynamics of locomotion and the strains induced in the third metacarpal bone. Dr. Merritt's work includes being lead researcher in the study Influence of Muscle-Tendon Wrapping on Calculations of Joint Reaction Forces in the Equine Distal Forelimb in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology (Click here to read online.)

Here's his description of how the little video was made: "The models of the bones were created from real equine limb bones using in-house photogrammetric software that I wrote. The bones were imported into Blender, and the ligaments and tendons were modeled by hand. Finally, a custom RenderMan exporter script was used to export the models and camera animations to the Aqsis renderer."

Dr. Merritt has been very generous to post this video and others he's made both on YouTube and vimeo.com.

I don't know that you can or should download it and hope that no one will abuse his generosity in both posting the videos and allowing them to be seen in places like this blog. The right thing to do would be to bookmark the video, send others to watch it and send an email to him letting him know you appreciated his hard work.

Encouraging talented people like Dr Merritt to pursue further studies in equine biomechanics and anatomy would benefit us all. Thanking generous people like him can't be done often enough.

Click here to go to Jonathan Merritt's home page on YouTube.com; you can send him an email from there and also see some of his other videos.

© 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, June 07, 2009

More About Tex

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

A service was held today for Tex Cauthen, a farrier who died in Kentucky last week. At first, all the newspapers could say was that the father of a famous jockey had died, but after a few days, articles like this one ("Tex Taught People to Live") from the Cincinnati newspaper began to bring the true identity of this man to light.

Turfway Park President Bob Elliston said Cauthen was one of the best farriers in the thoroughbred business. In the article he said, "Tex was one of the classiest people I ever met. He was incredibly gifted in his craft and was equally gifted as a human being."

That is wonderful praise.

I've heard from members of Tex's family and friends and learned so much about him that I never knew. I hope you'll take a minute and read the article from the Cincinnati newspaper.

I also hope you all read Ada Gates Patton's memoir of running into Tex in Cinncinati last winter. It was very nice of her to write that all down and share it. Just scroll down to the first article about Tex from last week and click on the comments to read Ada's letter.

© 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, June 06, 2009

Re-imagining History: D-Day at the Forge

When allied forces landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944 and fought their way inland from the beaches, a couple of soldiers on a detail with a photographer discovered that, in spite of the invasion, life was going on as usual down at the forge. This beautiful and peaceful photo was taken during one of the bloodiest, deadliest weeks of human history--and right down the road. I would have thought the town would have been evacuated. Perhaps it was--and the farrier defied orders and stayed behind to get his work done. 

Today (June 6, 2009) is the 65th Anniversary of D-Day, the World War II invasion of France by an allied force of British, US, Australian, Canadian, and many other nations. They came by sea and they dropped from the sky by parachute. You've seen the movies, and you probably know the story. (If you don't, you need to find out more!)

Imagine my surprise when I found these two photos in the archives of the invasion. In the midst of all the fighter planes, tanks and artillery, we find some unidentified soldiers who appear to have stumbled on a smithy in the countryside in Cruelly, one the first towns inland from the beaches, and hence one of the first real places in France to be "liberated" by the invading allies.

Here's an enlargement of the men's faces. This could be a Norman Rockwell painting.
The elderly marechal ferrant (that's French for farrier) is not caught up in the revelry of liberation; he has horses to shoe, and looks pretty nonchalant about his foreign visitors. I am sure that when this photo was taken you could hear the battle going on, yet inside this smithy, time has stopped.

It's easy to imagine a scenario here--perhaps the American-looking soldier is a farm boy from Tennessee or even a farrier himself, who has never seen the European way of holding up the hind foot for the farrier. He'd be saying (with a helmet on, after just almost being killed on the beach at Omaha), "Geez, that's dangerous! you might get kicked, old man!"

Or perhaps he was an inner city boy from Chicago who had never seen a horse shod in his life, and after surviving the landing on the beach and marching inland, sees life with new eyes. He and his detail are supposed to check that all the buildings of this village are empty and secure and instead they find this old man and a farmer's son shoeing a plow horse. He's dismayed. They have to leave. But first, they insist on finishing the horse, the translator in the beret tells him: they're not going anywhere until the last nail on the last shoe is clinched.

Perhaps they needed the horse to be shod so they could use him for transportation to evacuate.

I think these photos illustrate one of the most magical things about shoeing horses, anywhere and everywhere it happens, but especially in a purpose-built shop or a real smithy. Time does seem to stop. No one can go anywhere until it's done. No matter how modern the materials, how buzzed up the hairstyle of the farrier or the number of body piercings and tattoos of the horse holder, the ritual is timeless.

The farrier's name was Monsieur M. Le Jolivet and the forge was on rue de Bayeux in Creully. I wondered if he invited the soldiers for a sip of calvados, the fine brandy of the region, after the horse was done. That would be the French way, even with shells falling around the town and tanks rolling down the land. Or maybe he had more horses to do. 
Another amazing thing about this photo is the skill of the photographer. Taking photos of this quality in the available light of a forge was probably a delightful challenge to a photographer who had been dodging artillery shells or seeing soldiers fall the day before--or perhaps the hour before. Everyone must have been mentally and physically spent, beyond belief. He or she was probably dumbstruck when stumbling upon this timeless scene. I am very sorry that the archive did not provide the name of the photographer.

Sixty-five years later, I was amazed to find these photos and couldn't wait until June 6 rolled around on the calendar to share them with you. I hope you will remember the importance of this day and all the people who died from all the many nations that day.

--by Fran Jurga

Photo credit: Conseil Régional de Basse-Normandie / National Archives USA. Many thanks for the loan of these photographs.

P.S. Someone may be able to re-create this photo or check in to see if the forge is still there; Normandy has been chosen as the site of the 2014 World Equestrian Games. Bayeaux is also near CIRALE, the equine locomotion and lameness diagnostic and research center lead by Professor Jean-Marie Denoix.


© 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, June 04, 2009

Zenyatta's Revealing Close-up: Secrets of the Foot That Always Crosses the Finish Line First


Zenyatta, originally uploaded by Rock and Racehorses.

"Flats" are in for the front feet of racing Thoroughbreds these days and here we see evidence that champion supermare Zenyatta is playing by the rules with her flat-as-a-pancake front plates.

This revealing shot was taken back in May when The Zen of Horse Racing passed through Churchill Downs. New York area racing photographer Sarah K. Andrew (a.k.a. "Rock and Racehorses") stood in a puddle waiting for her to lift her foot so you all could see her frog and wall and plate and nails.

Zenyatta is shod by California farrier Tom Halpenny.

Thank you, Sarah and Zenyatta!

Click here to see her full-fit hind feet, also shot by a puddle-jumping Sarah.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Video: Laminitis in Standardbreds at Ohio State's Vet Hospital

by Fran Jurga | 2 June 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog


Part 1 features Ohio State clinician/researcher Dr. James Belknap



Part 2 features farrier Trey Green

The US Trotting Association's magazine Hoof Beats has a feature on laminitis this month and the magazine sent a video crew to the veterinary hospital at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Columbus, Ohio to film a supporting video to accompany the article.

I hope you will check out the article, and also watch these two short videos. The first features Ohio State's Dr. James Belknap, a respected leader in the study of the mechanism of the disease and of medications' effects. The article in Hoof Beats was written by Dr. Belknap. He obviously works in a hands-0n role at Ohio State, as well, and you'll see him giving some of his opinions about the clinical aspects of the disease.

On the second clip, you'll see Dr. Belknap work on the foot of the patient, and then Ohio State farrier Trey Green goes to work and finds the case ideal for the applicaion of a heart-bar shoe.

I wonder where and how the horse is now.

Many thanks to the USTA for posting the video.

© 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.

Friends at Rest: Tex Cauthen

by Fran Jurga | 2 June 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog


The racing publications are reporting that Ronald "Tex" Cauthen of Walton, Kentucky has died. Tex was a well-known horseshoer in central Kentucky and was reportedly 77 years old.

I remember "meeting" Tex Cauthen the first time I walked through the then brand-new Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs in the early 1980s. I held my breath going around each corner, thinking that surely there would be an exhibit about horseshoeing coming ahead.

But there wasn't. Instead, I turned a corner by a stairway and there was a photo, set off by itself, of a farrier's hands, working. I stared at it for a long time because it was a beautiful photograph, and seemed to have been put there just so I wouldn't go home in a huff.

I stared at the name: "Tex Cauthen". I made a mental note to look him up. I felt like I knew him, having met his hands. And the name sort of rang a bell. I must have heard his name before.

I was probably the only person in the world more impressed with the fact that Tex Cauthen was a horseshoer than that he was the father of the world-famous teenage jockey who rode Affirmed to win the Triple Crown. It took me a while to put two and two together.

All the racing magazine stories say that the famous jockey's father died and, oh yes, he was a blacksmith.

Let this be one place where he's remembered for who he was, and for a pair of hands that could stop me in my tracks.

Rest in peace, Tex.

© 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.