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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Video: World Horse Welfare Farrier and Saddlery Projects in Mexico

25 March 2010 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog at Hoofcare.com




World Horse Welfare is an international charity with a global mission of educating people about horses. The charity also runs many small, hands-on programs around the world, where local people in developing countries are educated about how to take better care of the horses and donkeys.

Veracruz, on the east coast of Mexico, is just such a place. A second training course has begun in the Veracruz district of Mexico, following the success of last year's project. A new course began there at the end of February with the support of the local Cattlemen's Association. Their support meant that the project could be run from their facilities in the village of Misantla.

Approximately 20,000 horses are based around Veracruz, owing to the prominence of agriculture in the area. The state has the highest population of horses in all of Mexico. Because whole families rely on their horses to survive, horse welfare is essential.

Ten saddler and 12 farrier students are taking this year's course. Two of the student farriers are actually veterinary students, who would like further training.

Click here to learn more about World Horse Welfare's work in Mexico and other Central American countries. Your donation would be very welcome.


© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. Please, 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, March 24, 2010

Racehorse Deaths in USA Continue to Exceed UK and Australia; Did Banning Toe Grabs Have Any Effect?

24 March 2010 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog at Hoofcare.com

A racehorse gallops on the artificial surface at California's Del Mar racetrack. Photo by Nathan Rupert (thanks!).

Yesterday the Jockey Club released numbers for the North American fatality rate for Thoroughbreds. The number is based on a preliminary analysis of data collected over a one-year period in the Equine Injury Database, the North American database for racing injuries.

The statistics were collected beginning November 1, 2008. From 378,864 total starts in Thoroughbred flat races at 73 racetracks participating in the Equine Injury Database, 2.04 fatal injuries were recorded per 1,000 starts.

Eighty-one racetracks and the National Steeplechase Association participate in the Equine Injury Database, representing 86 percent of the flat racing days in North America. By agreement with the participating racetracks, from time to time The Jockey Club may publish certain summary statistics from the Equine Injury Database, but will not provide statistics that identify specific participants, including racetracks, horses or persons.

According to the New York Times, the fatality rate is nearly twice as high in the United States as in the United Kingdom or Australia. Both of those countries race predominantly on turf.

The Grayson-Jockey Club Foundation, through its Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit Shoeing and Hoof Care Committee, works on hoofcare projects to improve all aspects of safety for horses on the racetrack. The attempts at changing rules for toe grabs and other traction devices during the 2008-2009 racing season were part of an overall program to decrease injuries and breakdowns that might lead to fatalities that would appear in this database.

The period of time covered by the statistics released yesterday includes some months when most states were observing a ban on toe grabs, but not all months of the study. Anecdotally, racetrack shoers at some, but not all, racetracks report a marked decrease in the use of traction-equipped horseshoes in the past five years.

One of the projects of the database is to collect more data on the types of shoes that horses wear when racing. Data from a necropsy project at the University of California at Davis was published in 1996 and was able to document what types of shoes were worn by horses who died while racing and training there.

Ongoing hoof research in the Wheat Orthopedics Laboratory at UC Davis by researcher Susan M. Stover, DVM, PhD, ACVS and colleagues adds documentation to the body of evidence that hoof conformation and shoeing affect risk for injury because modifications can amplify loads to bones, tendons, and ligaments. Race surface characteristics, in turn, affect the magnitude and nature of load transferred to the hoof.

While separate tracks and states cannot be segmented from the national study, California does keep its own records. Accord to Dr. Rick Arthur, Equine Medical Director of the California Horse Racing Board, that state has seen a 40 percent reduction in racing fatalities on its new artificial surfaces when compared to statistics for the dirt surfaces in that state going back to 2004. (Plans are, however, for Santa Anita to return to a dirt surface next year.)

At Santa Anita in California and at some other tracks, the meet's horseshoe inspector has started keeping records of the various types of shoes worn by horses as they reach the receiving barn in advance of a race. This practice will hopefully become a national standard, so that shoeing information correlated to racing injuries on a much larger basis.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. Please, 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, March 18, 2010

Rood and Riddle Podiatry Joins with The Sanctuary to Offer Hoof-Related Services in Ocala Area; Seminar with Vets March 27

17 March 2010 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog at Hoofcare.com

Dr. Scott Morrison of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky gluing shoes on an aged pony after cutting the deep digital flexor tendon (tenotomy) as a treatment for chronic laminitis.

The Sanctuary Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation Center in Ocala, Florida and the Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital's Podiatry Center in Lexington, Kentucky are joining forces to improve advanced services available for hoof problems. Rood and Riddle will be offering podiatry services from The Sanctuary to farms and trainers and horse owners in the Ocala area.

The Sanctuary is a new 30-acre therapy facility with stabling for 42 horses located outside Ocala. Facilities include an equine hyperbaric oxygen chamber, Ferno AquaPacer Equine Underwater Treadmill, cold saltwater leg spa, equine swimming pool, training track, and many state-of-the-art therapeutic systems and services.

On March 16, Dr. Scott Morrison, director of the clinic at Rood and Riddle, said that one of three of the Kentucky clinic's hoof-specialist veterinarians--Raul Bras DVM, Vernon Dryden DVM, and Dr. Morrison himself--would be available to clients on a rotation basis at the Ocala location throughout the year. All three veterinarians are also trained and accomplished farriers.

Morrison said that they look forward to serving the diverse horse breeding and training operations in the Ocala area and that Rood and Riddle clients from throughout Florida and the southern states will also be able to haul their horses to Ocala for hoof treatment by the Rood and Riddle veterinarians.

Brenda McDuffee, The Sanctuary’s general manager, is enthusiastic about the new services her facility will be offering. “Rood and Riddle is one of the largest and most prestigious veterinary hospitals in the world," she said. "Dr. Morrison is a leader in equine podiatry and we are very excited to offer our clients a Rood and Riddle Podiatry Center at The Sanctuary.”

Horse owners, breeders, and trainers interested in booking appointments for horses with laminitis and other podiatry-related problems can call the Sanctuary (352 369 4325) or the Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital (859 233 0371) . The first cases will be seen March 28.

To introduce the central Florida horse community to the Rood and Riddle concept of podiatry services and expertise, The Sanctuary will host a Foot and Lameness Symposium at the center from 6-9 p.m. on March 27.

Anyone interested in the free symposium should call the Sanctuary at (352) 369-4325 to reserve a place.


© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. Please, 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, March 09, 2010

30 Days and Counting: Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta Set to Meet in the Apple Blossom Invitational on April 9th

13 March 2010 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog at Hoofcare.com

This week began the 30-day countdown to the running of the Apple Blossom Invitational, a $5 Million race for fillies and mares carrying 123 pounds at Oaklawn Racecourse in Hot Springs, Arkansas on Friday, April 9. The distance will be 1 1/8 miles.

Enjoy this little promo about the race, which some are calling a "match" race between the undefeated queen of the west, 2009 Breeders Cup Classic winner Zenyatta, and 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, winner at multiple tracks on multiple surfaces in all sorts of weather.

Zenyatta is a year older, bigger, and more powerful, coming from behind; Rachel is more traveled and likes to run on the lead. But up to ten horses will be running in the race, and anything can happen.

First, though, they have to get through today, when each horse has a prep race. Rachel will run in New Orleans at the Fair Grounds where she has been enjoying the winter, while Zenyatta runs at Santa Anita near her home base at Hollywood Park in California. Both races apparently will be televised on HRTV, for those lucky enough to have access to that service. The rest of us can watch it steamed live on www.ntra.com.

The races will go to post within 30 minutes of each other, between 6 and 7 p.m. EST.

Here's the promo for the Apple Blossom:



You can read much more about the big race and follow it at
www.appleblossominvitational.com
.

Let's hope they both put in characteristic performances in their races this afternoon and then head to Arkansas ready to run. Will it really happen? I don't know, but the buildup and the excitement will be great for all of horseracing and all of horse sports. We can use it right now.

The Hoof Blog will have lots more information about the mares and about the race and, of course, about their hooves, in the weeks to come.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. Please, 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, March 07, 2010

Oklahoma Legislation Defines Equine Dentistry as Husbandry, not Veterinary Medicine; Passes House, on to State Senate

7 March 2010 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog at Hoofcare.com

I think you'd better watch these little video news clips from Oklahoma, and read some news from that state.




That's one way to look at this issue. I'm not sure why equine dentists would need access to cough medications and Ketamine, but there may be something in the bill that could be a loophole. And if people in Oklahoma want to lose weight quickly using a horse drug, shouldn't they try Lasix?

Across the state, a different television station has a completely different, and equally slanted, way of presenting the story to viewers:


Finally, let's hear from the vets themselves. Here's a promotional video from the state's veterinary association, with a demonstration of equine dentistry by Dr. Mark Bianchi. I wonder how many veterinarians in Oklahoma have his level of training in equine dentistry.



It's always important to tell both sides of the story. It's easy to do when the media does it for you so graphically.

Here are the basic facts: In the state of Oklahoma, HB 3202 passed by a vote of 71 to 25 in the House of Representatives on Thursday. Authored by Representative Don Armes and Senator Mike Schulz, the bill clarifies that acts of animal husbandry are not prohibited by the Veterinary Practice Act. It also requires that of the five veterinarian members of the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (Board), one must be an equine practitioner and one must be a large animal practitioner.

HB 3202 also sets up a mandatory certification process for equine teeth floaters under the Board.

The bill must now go before the Senate Agriculture committee and the full Senate before reaching the Governor’s desk.

Earlier, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau passed a resolution stating "Equine dentists, chiropractors and farriers are trained professionals who provide essential services to the horse industry. They should be recognized as such and allowed to continue to practice."

According to a detailed article in The Oklahoman newspaper, which I recommend you all read, the state would require that equine dentists prove they have been through 80 hours of training. They would pay a $200 per year certification fee, and disputes or complaints would be handled by the state's agricultural board, not the veterinary board.

Click here to read a letter from Dr. Tina Neel, to state legislators; she is one of the veterinarians who is leading opposition to the bill.
It's amazing to see the resources and energy that have gone into this fight in Oklahoma. The background, of course, includes that teeth floating by non-veterinarians was made a felony, and a popular floater was arrested. He just happened to be a well-known rodeo cowboy as well. So the story made the headlines. Horse owners couldn't believe that it was a felony to run a rasp over a horse's teeth. Since then they've received a major education in the complexity of equine dentistry.

This fight has certainly been a microcosm of many political issues. I have not seen the small type in the bill, but I know that, in some way, the farriers in Oklahoma are probably affected by this proposed legislation as well. And I know full well that other states and other veterinary boards are watching what is going on in Oklahoma, as are groups like the Institute for Justice which often comes to the aid of professions and trades being regulated by legislation.

What will happen in the state senate? Will the abortion ads scare the citizenry into calling their senators and defeating the bill? Or will the don't-tell-me-what-I-can-do mentality win the day? More importantly, what will it mean, a year from now, or five years from now, to the horses and the owners in Oklahoma? There's plenty of chew on here.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. Please, 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, March 05, 2010

Friends at Work (But for how long?): J. C. Maloyed at Virginia Intermont College

5 March 2010 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog at Hoofcare.com


Virginia farrier J. C. Maloyed has survived back surgery and 25 years of ups and downs as farrier for the equestrian program at Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Virginia. But could the wavering economy be affecting the ability of families to send daughters off to college with an equitation horse and an allowance to keep up with a show schedule? JC wonders about his future, as the college--which has won 13 national riding championships, by the way--looks for cash to keep the program going and the stables full. Read an article about J.C. and the job he loves in today's Bristol Herald Courier. What affects the equestrian program at a school like Virginia Intermont affects us all.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Continuing Education Events for Your Calendar

4 March 2010 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog at Hoofcare.com

Pull out your calendar and start filling in some dates for what's ahead in 2010! There are probably many more events in the planning stages, but these are on our calendar of symposia and seminars so far. What's on yours?

March 5-6 UC Davis North American Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Conference in collaboration with Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center and Rood & Riddle Equine hospital at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott in Buellton, California. Click here for details.

March 13 Vermont Farriers Association seminar with Dr Tracy Turner in Bristol, VT. Email Diane Saunders:dlsqtrhs@gmavt.net

March 20 Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire, England presents Laminitis Awareness 2010. Feed company Dodson & Horrell and three British vet schools team up to present the latest laminitis research. Speakers: Professor Derek Knottenbelt, Dr John Keen, Dr Cathy McGowan, Dr Teresa Hollands and Dr Nicola Menzies-Gow. Click here to download program brochure.

March 22 Laminitis: Risk and Treatment evening lecture at the South Shore Equine Clinic 6:00 pm 151 Palmer Rd Plympton, Massachusetts. Please RSVP 781-585-2611 or email southshoreequineclinic@yahoo.com

March 25 Liverpool University and World Horse Welfare in Lancashire, England present Laminitis Awareness 2010. Feed company Dodson & Horrell and three British vet schools team up to present the latest laminitis research. Speakers: Professor Derek Knottenbelt, Dr John Keen, Dr Cathy McGowan, Dr Teresa Hollands and Dr Nicola Menzies-Gow. Click here to download program brochure.

March 27-28 Harry Patton Horseshoeing Supply hosts a 90th (!) birthday party for toolmaker Jay Sharp, with Shayne Carter seminar and farrier competition in Salinas, California. Call 888 442 9150 or visit www.harrypatton.com.

April 8–11 Equine Affaire at Ohio State Fairgrounds, Columbus, Ohio.

April 10 Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Easter Bush, Scotland presents Laminitis Awareness 2010. Feed company Dodson & Horrell and three British vet schools team up to present the latest laminitis research. Speakers: Professor Derek Knottenbelt, Dr John Keen, Dr Cathy McGowan, Dr Teresa Hollands and Dr Nicola Menzies-Gow. Click here to download program brochure.
April 13 Lameness Diagnosis Panel with Dr. Norris Adams, Dr. Rich Forfa, Farrier Paul Goodness, Dr. Scott Pleasant, and Dr. Nat White at 7:00 pm in the library of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Virginia. Seating is limited. Please contact Amy Troppmann at 703-771-6843 or send email to atroppmann@vt.edu for reservations or information.
April 15-16 Equine Sports Massage Association Conference 2010: Diagnosis And Management Of Equine Locomotor Injuries with Professor Jean Marie Denoix DVM, PhD, Agrege at University of Bristol Veterinary College, Langford, England. http://www.equinesportsmassagetherapy.co.uk

April 20-25 Kentucky Cup test events in dressage and showjumping for 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, plus Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event at Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY. Visit WEG web site for a roster of week-long events.

April 26-27 Kentucky Equine Summit, Lexington Hilton Hotel, Lexington, KY. Sponsored by University of Louisville's Equine Industry Program in cooperation with the University of Kentucky's Equine Initiative. Visit www.kyequinesummit.com for more information.

May 1 The Kentucky Derby!

May 1-2 Equinology's Equine Lameness and Gait Assessment Course with Dr. Barb Crabbe at the McPhail Equine Performance Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Visit
www.equinology.com
.

May 3-6 Equinology's Equine Biomechanics and Current Research Course with Dr. Hilary Clayton at the McPhail Equine Performance Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Visit www.equinology.com.

May 12-15 Animal Care Expo 2010 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center, in Nashville, TN. Call 615 889 1000.

May 15 Carolina Laminitis Conference in Columbia, South Carolina. Speakers to include Katy Watts of Safergrass.org and Dr. Don Walsh of the Animal Health Foundation. To benefit the Animal Health Foundation and fund laminitis research. Watch for more information at www.ahf-laminitis.org.

June 21-26 International Wild Equid Conference hosted by the University of Queensland's Australian Brumby Research Unit at the remote Kings Creek Station, Northern Territory, Australia. Absolute Aboriginal adventurists encounter extreme equid academics in the Outback. Experience both wild horses and observe international equine hoof research, firsthand. The opportunity of a lifetime; full details can be downloaded at the bottom of this post. Visit www.wildhorseresearch.com.

August 3 Hoofcare@Saratoga Racing Season Kickoff Event Saratoga Springs, New York (date depends on opening day of the Saratoga race meet). Sponsors needed! Watch this blog!

August 10, 17, and 24 6th Annual Hoofcare@Saratoga Event Series and Speakers in Saratoga Springs, New York; Evening events at The Parting Glass on Lake Avenue, unless announced otherwise; all are welcome, for a casual, fun experience in the summer racing capital! (Dates subject to change one week forward or back, based on racing calendar.) Sponsors needed! Watch this blog!

September 17-19 Laminitis West Seminar at Monterey Conference Center in Monterey, CA, hosted by Steinbeck Country Equine Clinic. Details should be announced at http://www.steinbeckequine.com.

September 22-24 Promoting Peak Performance in Equine Athletes World Equestrian Games Sport Horse Veterinary Conference, Marriott Griffin Gate Resort, Lexington KY, hosted by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, AAEP and USEF. Includes speakers Drs. Kent Allen, Wayne McIlwraith, Jean-Marie Denoix, and many more. Foot-related speakers: Drs. Jeff Thomason, Simon Collins, Scott Pleasant and Scott Morrison. www.alltechfeigames.com/

September 23-25 2nd Invitation to Excellence Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners Symposium at the Mystic Marriott in Mystic, Connecticut. Includes special programs on lameness and farriery. Visit http://www.neaep.net/.

September 25 - October 10 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games ("Kentucky 2010"); probably the biggest and most ambititious horse event ever held on Earth. World championships in eight disciplines, trade shows, exhibitions, celebrations, seminars, education, parties, people from every nation, and horses, horses, horses. Bring family, friends, cameras; don't miss this. Volunteers needed, too. Go to http://www.alltechfeigames.com.

October (tentative, date tba) Luwex Hufsymposium in Krueth, Germany. Visit www.luwex.de.

November 6-- Danny Ward's 34th Farrier Gathering at his school in Martinsville, Virginia. Certainly the biggest little event in the United States, and everyone knows your name, or will by lunchtime. There's nothing quite like this: lectures, demonstrations, auction, food, music (bluegrass, of course), trade show (no charge to exhibit), dancing, and even some trimming and shoeing of horses. Email dannyward@embarqmail.com or call 276 638 7908.

November 7-12 8th International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology in Cape Town, South Africa. For more information, visit http://www.iceep.org/.

November 13-14 Cornell Farrier Conference at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York. Click here for Cornell info.

December 4 - 8 56th American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention will be held in Baltimore, Maryland. Visit http://www.aaep.org/convention.htm.

Watch for more details about additional events! This information will also be posted and updated on the events page at http://www.hoofcare.com/ and periodically updated here on the blog as new events are added.
© 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.

Favorite Photo: A Hand-Forged Reflection

4 March 2010 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog at Hoofcare.com

This is my favorite photo, so far, from the 2010 American Farrier's Association Convention, which was held last week in Portland, Oregon.

The gentleman reflected in the mirror looks somber, but I can assure you, he is probably just either a) stunned by the artistry of the mirror (as was I) or b) humbled by the fact that, when this photo was taken, he had less than 24 hours left in his term as president of the American Farrier's Association. With luck, he'd make it after all. The man in the mirror is Dick Fanguy, who survived a heart attack and several personal tragedies during his year as AFA president, and probably did need a moment to reflect.


And what a mirror to catch anyone's gaze! It was made, leaf by leaf and twig by twig, by our friend Mike Chisham of Petaluma, California. The mirror design was inspired by the late Edward Martin's iconic "Nessie" Loch Ness monster, which you can see clinging to the mid-left of the mirror frame. Mike donated the mirror to the American Farrier's Association's annual fundraising auction, held on Friday night during the convention. The annual auction is a showplace for the talented members of the association, who donate their most beautiful creative work.

Thanks to April Raine for the loan of her great photo. If you double-click on the photo, you should be able to see the mirror frame (and Dick) in greater detail.

PS Happy Birthday, Dick!

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. Please, 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, March 01, 2010

Multi-Tasking: How Many Men Does It Take to Shoe a Horse?


Farriers, originally uploaded by Crafty Dogma.

They say that men are not good at multi-tasking and the traditional European method of shoeing horses seems to prove that out.

This photo is completely unidentified; all the owner knows is that it was taken on February 2, 1918, presumably somewhere in Europe during World War I. Perhaps some blog readers will be able to provide some additional details or guesses, based on the dress and uniform details?

In 1918, American soldiers had been fighting in Europe for about six months; the Bolsheviks has seized power in Russia only a few months before. Virtually all of Europe and the Middle East were torn apart with the war; millions of horses took to the battlefields, never to return to civiliar life--or any life at all. Over one million horses and mules were shipped to Europe from the United States alone, long before any soldiers were sent abroad.

The photo shows what appears to be seven men involved in the task of shoeing two horses. Perhaps there are more farriers who are hard at work somewhere inside the forge, making or heating the shoes.

Someone has to hold the horse's head. Someone (most often the horse's groom or, in military cases, the rider) had to hold up the hoof. Someone has to trim the foot and nail on the shoe. Someone else has to run back and forth between the shoeing floor and the forge, where more people are forging and striking and tending fires.

And let's not forget an officer of the forge to oversee the whole operation.

This photo is unique, however: the presence of the small anvil in the center suggests that perhaps these fellows are doing resets, and had a portable anvil for shaping shoes close to the horse. Who knows? If war conditions were tough enough, they might even have been cold-shoeing.

The photo was purchased in Germany, but would German farriers have worn berets? And where in Europe would these handsome farriers have been working in their shirtsleeves in February?

In our special book, Horses of the German Army in World War II, the grooms at the Germany state stud farms are shown wearing white jackets like the hoof holders in this photo are wearing 25 years earlier, but they also wore white pants. Suggest to any hard-working groom you know that he or she should dress in white to clean stalls and care for horses!

If anyone has suggestions about this photo, please click on the comments button. Thanks!

Click here to read more about Horses of the German Army in World War II, available for sale by Hoofcare's book division.