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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why Is That Guy Following Prince William and Kate Middleton Carrying a Big Shiny Ax? Because He's the Farrier, That's Why!

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A farrier with the British Army Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment will escort Prince William and his bride, Kate Middleton, tomorrow in the procession through London as part of the Royal Wedding. This photo was taken during the Queen's Birthday Procession a few years ago. Image by Very Amateurish on Flickr.

The Farrier
Here's a farrier escorting the Queen to the Opening of Parliament. I have always been told that the farriers wore black plumes in their helmets to set them apart from everyone else in the regiment. On CNN yesterday they showed a rehearsal and a troop trotted by with one black-plumed rider, and he was at the rear, so I assume he was the farrier. My television is so small I couldn't see if he was carrying an ax. The word "farrier" seems to be stamped into this ax. Photo by u_sperling, who identified this as the Blues and Royals unit.

The Ax Itself. The ax end is for chopping off the feet of dead horses after battles; each horse's hooves were--and still are--stamped with inventory control numbers. The farrier collected the labeled hooves and made a report. The other end is for dispatching any horses found to be suffering. I wonder how many people in London tomorrow will wonder why there's an ax in the parade? The lettering on this particular ax stands for, I believe, Royal Horse Guards and it can be seen amidst lots and lots of information about the Household Cavalry on a dedicated informational web site.

The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
Here's the Household Cavalry rehearsing for the wedding. There are four horsemen separate at the rear. And one has a black plume in his helmet. Photo by Lynne Draper courtesy of The British Monarchy.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any direct compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned, other than Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Isabell Werth's Satchmo Follows in Totilas' Heart-Bar Hoofprints at FEI World Cup Finals

Satchmo's left front shoe worn at the 2008 Olympics when he and Isabell Werth helped win the team gold medal in dressage for Germany. (provided by Satchmo's farrier, Franz Helmke)
As the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Finals begin in Leipzig, Germany today, the smooth surface of the arena has a special imprint. It's a heart.

Perhaps many horses at the Finals today are shod with heart bar shoes, but this set of hoofprints is especially newsworthy. One of the world's leading champions and one of the favorites to win the World Cup title will be wearing heart-bar shoes on his hind feet as he goes for the title.

A hand-forged heart bar / egg bar shoe with a leather rim pad, also called a "full support" shoe. Photo from the Michael Wildenstein library of images.

In the dressage world, when a horse changes his shoes, people like me pay attention. Earlier this spring it was WEG triple gold medalist Totilas. Now he is joined by another German horse, the 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding Satchmo, ridden by the legendary world champion and Olympic gold medalist Isabell Werth.

Satchmo and Isabell won the World Cup in 2008.

Whoever said that the world wouldn't be interested in the minutiae of equestrian appointments didn't count on the public interest in this age of micro-analyzing sport horses and their every move.

Isabell Werth and Satchmo in World Cup competition earlier this year. Kit Houghton photo for FEI.
News of Satchmo's shoe switch came from Franz Helmke, farrier to both Totilas and Satchmo. Mr. Helmke is an advocate of using the shoes and didn't hesitate to send Satchmo to Leipzig with bar shoes on.

Will heart-bar shoes make a difference to the mighty Satchmo? The horse won two gold medals at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany. Werth shocked many people in 2010 when she loaded her #2 ride, Warum Nicht FRH, on the plane for America at the last minute, instead of Satchmo, to compete in the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Now she prefers Satchmo again. Werth finished the World Cup 2010-2011 qualifiers in third place and will surely be a favorite with Germans in the audience.

On the opening page of her web site, Isabell Werth greeted her fans with this message: "I was spoilt for choice which horse I should ride in the Final. In the end I decided to compete Satchie. He is in a great shape and so he will be my partner in the arena. Cross your fingers!!"

And your heart bars.

Mr. Helmke's spotless anvil looks immaculate. When I commented on how spotless and unscarred it was, he joked that it was 20 years old.  "All of my implements are in excellent shape," he said. (Franz Helmke photo)
The original reason to contact the obliging Mr. Helmke was to discuss Totilas, who was suffering from a hoof abscess at the time. He now assures me that the abscess is resolved.

"Totilas is in absolute best shape," he wrote in an email this week.

For an extensive explanation of how and why a sport horse might be sent into competition wearing heart bar shoes, please read the Hoof Blog's article about Totilas and his heart bar shoes  published in April 2011.

Totilas had been scheduled to debut in competition next weekend with his new rider, Matthias Rath, but the abscess medication withdrawal time and days missed from trained worked against the pair.

 © Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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.  


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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any direct compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned, other than Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Totilas and Matthias Rath Cancel Competition Debut; Hoof Abscess Resolved

Team Totilas: Owner Paul Schockemohle, Totilas, and rider Matthias Rath as they appeared on German television in early February when Rath rode Totilas in a demonstration at a stallion exhibition

Almost two weeks ago, the Hoof Blog reported that world champion dressage gold medalist Totilas is now wearing heart-bar shoes. At that time, he was unable to perform for a press conference because of a hoof abscess.

Today, rider Matthias Rath announced that the horse's planned return to competition next weekend at the "Dressage and Dreams" show in Hagen, Germany has been cancelled.

Here is Matthias Rath's statement today:

"We very much regret not being able to compete in Hagen, but the health and welfare of our horses is always the top priority. We had a great feeling before the injury and the preparations and joint development were going much better than expected, which is why we had made firm plans for our early competition debut in May and we were really looking forward to it."

(English version supplied by Matthias Rath)

According to the team, the abscess has healed completely. Rath and Totilas trained over Easter but the veterinary treatment required brings into question the withdrawal/detection times that need to be observed before a competition when a horse has been treated for a medical condition.

 © Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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.  


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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any direct compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned, other than Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Badminton Best Shod Horse Prize: Jim Hayter's Work Wins Second Consecutive Award for Event Horse Farriery

Farrier Jim Hayter DipWCF(Hons), as seen on rider Emily Llewellyn's web site
While the big news from the 2011 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in England may be that veteran Olympic gold medalist Mark Todd of New Zealand has put a 31-year spread on his victories there, Hoof Blog readers want to know who won the prestigious Best Shod Horse Award.

And this is a story within a story. For the second year in a row, the plaque was awarded to Sussex rider Emily Llewellyn. At only 21 years old, she wasn't even born when Mark Todd won his first Badminton in 1980. For her to qualify for Badminton, much less complete it, is an amazing accomplishment.

And this is the second time she's done it.

And not only that, it's the second time she's been deemed to be riding the Best Shod Horse.

Emily Llewellyn and Pardon Me II, Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2011
British event rider Emily Llewellyn with Pardon Me II,  judged the Best Shod Horse at the 2011 Badminton Horse Trials. The horse was shod by James Hayter DipWCF. James Blurton AWCF judged the horses who made it to the show jumping phase. Pardon Me was runner-up last year and is shod with bar shoes behind. (Nico Morgan photo)
Emily's horse Society Spice won the Prize in 2010, and this year the award was given to her horse Pardon Me II, a Dutch Warmblood.

About the award, from the Badminton web site:  "A Rosette and Plaque will be presented by the Worshipful Company of Farriers to the owner of the Best Shod Horse, and a Plaque to its Farrier. Judging will take place during the Final Horse Inspection on Monday, 25th April, 2011." It sounds simple enough, but it's quite an honor--and not easy--to win this prize.

For those who like to indulge in the risky armchair sport of critiquing horseshoeing, foot condition and hoof balance from snapshots: this award is not a beauty contest. It doesn't go to the horse with the prettiest, most perfectly-formed feet, or to the horse who lands flat (or heel-first, if that is what you prefer). As I have understood it, it is an award to a farrier who has done work for a horse and demonstrated a perception and ability to help the horse overcome physical limitations or a problem in order to compete and make it to the final day of one of the most difficult and grueling horse competitions in the world.

Recent winners include Bernie Tidmarsh RSS in 2000, Sam Head DipWCF in 2002 and 2004, Clive Evans DipWCF in 2003, Billy Crothers AWCF in 2005, Jim Blurton AWCF in 2006, Martin Deacon FWCF in 2007, Paul Gordon DipWCF in 2008, Andrew Nickalls DipWCF (New Zealand team farrier) in 2009, and of course Jim Hayter in 2010 and 2011. (Badminton was cancelled in 2001 because of the foot and mouth disease epidemic.) Jim Hayter is the first to win it two years in a row.

Jim Blurton and Bernie Tidmarsh have each won the prize three times; horses ridden by New Zealanders have won four times since the Horse Trials office began keeping official records of the winners in 1993.

Jim Hayter has been shoeing Emily's horses and ponies since she was six years old. If it seems like he has a lock on the contest, consider this: Pardon Me II won second prize last year.

According to the website Eventing Worldwide, "James has ‘shoeing in his blood’ – his late father Bill Hayter was a well known farrier travelling the country to shoe Hackneys. James’s uncle, David Marley, is a farrier with a keen interest in racing and his son Peter saw James and his brother Giles successfully through their apprenticeships."

A separate article on the blog will follow, with quotes from an interview with James Hayter after the prize was announced this afternoon. You'll find out why this horse wore bar shoes at an event like Badminton and why he's not likely to show you a photo of a horse he's just shod. It was an excellent interview and worthy of an article all its own.

Need more info? Send an email or call 978 281 3222 for full details

 © Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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.  
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any direct compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned, other than Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Horses and (Golf) Courses: What Was Nike Thinking? New 20XI Commercial Recreates a Hoofnote in American Golf History



I just had to share this video. Can someone explain it to me? I love Nike, love their commercials, love their stores, love their branding. Yet I don't get this commercial.

But then, I'm not in the market to buy Nike's 20XI golf balls, either.

Years ago I lived a few furlongs from a place called The International--just "The International". It was a golf course in Bolton, Massachusetts and a very exclusive place. Once--once!--my horses got loose and galloped over a green.

That late-night caper would have caused no more stir around town if a tornado had touched down. Each divot looked like a crater in the morning light. In fact, the scene looked almost exactly like the closing shot of Nike's commercial.

Here's an old lawn boot, courtesy of The Antique Horse blog, one of my favorite places to waste a few hours on the Internet. (I warned you!) Back in the days before there were motorized mowers, these boots were worn by horses while mowing golf courses and other lawn-like surfaces where a horse's hoofprints would be undesirable. This one appears to require the horse to be shoeless.




I found out later that when my horses tore up The International, they were merely carrying on a Boston tradition.

Golf, of course, is a Scottish game. It was brought to America by some Bostonians who decided to hit a ball around at a gentleman's racing and polo retreat called The Country Club. (That's right, just "The Country Club".) Golf became so popular so quickly that they kept extending the course and cutting down trees to make more greens.

What's an endangered horse lover to do? The equestrian members of the club revolted one night in 1899 and galloped their horses across the greens in protest.

Let's just say the horses weren't wearing lawn boots.

So the next time you go to a country club, or when Easter dinner conversation lags this Sunday, you can explain that the first country club was actually a racetrack and polo field. When it added golf, its fame spread; the name "country club" came to be associated with golf, but at those early clubs the most popular pursuits would have been horse sports, tennis and shooting. Golf was an upstart, but it certainly did catch on.

There's only one The Country Club. It's still operating, and hosted the 33rd Ryder Cup. The club ran its last horse race in 1935, and the final sections of the racetrack were finally sodded over in 1969. The horses may be gone but the legends live on.

How great would it have been if Nike had filmed their commercial at The Country Club?

Thanks to the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, Harvard University Athletics, the Public Library of the Town of Brookline, Nike Golf, and The Antique Horse blog for assistance with this story.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a 
between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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.  

 
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any direct compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned, other than Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Laminitis-Survivor Overdose Wins in Germany, Sets New Course Record

Overdose, the Hungrian wonder horse who survived a long layoff for what was described as laminitis, broke a track record in Germany yesterday. (Photo via Flickr.com's Gabor Dvornik)
Some quick good news for a Sunday afternoon: Hungarian wonder-horse Overdose is back to his winning ways. Once undefeated, the horse went into an extended layup when he was suffering from some form of laminitis, as reported on this blog last May. Last year he suffered his first defeat but yesterday, after another seven-month layup, he not only won, he set a new course record!

Much of Overdose's successful return to racing had been credited to his American glue-on shoes, made by Sound Horse Technologies, and his British farrier, Stuart Packham who is apparently something of a national hero in Hungary.  I don't know if Stuart is still with Overdose, but something is working.

In a race last year, Overdose lost one of his glue-ons during the race but still won. I think that lost shoe was the most famous shoe story in many years!

Stuart Packham's shoeing of Overdose was featured in a step-by-step story in one of the many Hungarian blogs about Overdose. (This is not meant to be an advertisement for the shoes; it is a great photo story for anyone who'd like to see one of these shoes applied.)

The Racing Post, as usual, has more details about yesterday's win. It sounds like he may be headed for Royal Ascot if all goes well. Wouldn't you love to see him against Black Caviar?


 © Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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.
 
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any direct compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned, other than Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Totilas: Heart Bar Shoes for the Dressage Champion

I've written so many stories about the triple-World Champion dressage stallion Totilas. I've taken so many photographs of him. But you know, I've never really seen his feet. The horse always has bell boots on. They take them off at the edge of the arena, and they put them right back on.

In case you haven't heard of him, Totilas and his rider, Edward Gal, swept the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games last fall. They took home all three gold medals for The Netherlands. 

A few weeks later, when Totilas was sold by his Dutch owners to German stallion magnate Paul Schockemohle, I wondered if he might very well have bought the horse without ever seeing his hooves. But something tells me that the hooves weren't why he paid so many millions for Totilas.

This is what we saw of Totilas's feet at the World Equestrian Games. There were bell boots of many colors.

I always had the feeling, though, that my time would come. I didn't think or wish that the horse would go lame; his Dutch horseshoer is my friend. I thought maybe there would be an auction of one of his shoes or a celebrity horseshoeing stunt and I'd be there to photograph it. Instead, the horse was sold.

Soon after Totilas was off to Germany, I found this unlabeled Swedish video on YouTube with comments from Dutch farrier Rob Renirie about shoeing Totilas. For true fans, this video will be a revelation, as it actually shows the bottom of one of his unshod feet, something not shown before, to my knowledge.

This video was made a year ago, but I only discovered it after the horse was sold.

A few weeks ago, England's Horse and Hound Magazine did an interview with Matthias Rath, the lucky German rider who has taken over the reins of the great horse. Totilas looked very sporty in the photo shoot by our friend, Dutch photographer Arnd Bronkhorst; he sported stealth-style black leg wraps with matching black bell boots. A new image!

Right about the same time, this blog started to get queries about heart bar shoes. There is nothing unusual about that. We get queries at all hours of the day and night. It is laminitis season, so questions about heart bar shoes seem logical in April. But these questions were on the order of: "Why would a dressage horse wear heart bar shoes?" Another asked me point-blank if a heart bar shoe meant only one thing: laminitis.

This image is mirrored from the Horse and Hound web site, where you can see the full gallery (and at a larger size) of Arnd Bronkhorst's photos of Totilas and Matthias Rath. Image by Arnd Bronkhorst © Horse and Hound. See lots more images of Totilas on Arnd's website: www.arnd.nl
A quick google told me what was going on. The rumor on  the Internet was that Totilas was wearing heart bar shoes. Except it wasn't a rumor. On the Horse and Hound web site, a new set of Arnd's photos was posted from the same shoot that had been in the magazine, but this series showed the bottom of the horse's feet (in bell boots, of course). And he is undeniably wearing heart bar shoes on both front feet.

Note: When I first posted this story, I did not know that the photos were taken by Arnd Bronkhorst, although I should have guessed! You can see (and purchase) pages and pages of photos of Totilas, of Rob Renirie, and of whatever else in the entire horse world you'd like to see on Arnd's searchable database of extraordinary horse photography. You'll also see where some of Hoofcare and Lameness's favorite and award-winning magazine covers originate! Arnd's website is one of the very best things on the Internet, in my estimation.

I still wasn't sure I should write anything about this great horseshoe expose. I talked it over with a friend; I could tell she wasn't impressed. I emailed Rob Renirie and Matthias Rath. But I knew that if I didn't write about what heart bar shoes were all about, the rumor mill wouldn't have an anchor. Now I just have to hope that people find this information.

This heart bar shoe made by Jim Blurton Tools in Great Britain is somewhat similar to the shoe that Totilas wears. It has sculpted heels, which provide support under the heel bulbs but are designed to have less steel at the back of the foot so the horse is less likely to step on it. A heart bar shoe for a lame horse might be oval in the heel area (called an egg-heart bar) or it might be straight across the heels, creating a firm platform and base of support both for the horse's weight and for the farrier to be able to forge the steel into the tongue. A machine-made shoe allows the luxury of pre-sculpted heels; horse owners complain a lot when horses pull off expensive shoes. (See Jim Blurton Bar Shoes page for more information.)

Then on Wednesday, I received notice that Totilas had to cancel a public appearance, and that he was suffering from an abscess in one of his left front heels. That transparency impressed me as much as the news saddened me. The message was that he needed a few days off but that he'd still begin competition the first week in May.

What's wrong with Totilas? Maybe nothing. A heart bar shoe is recommended for something as minimal as to help increase sole growth on a flat-footed horse or to relieve pressure on the hoof wall when the hair line at the coronet is uneven, so it can grow more uniformly. It might be a rest shoe. Or it might be a full support shoe for a lameness issue, but it's doubtful that his backers would still be training him.

The key to a heart bar shoe is how much, if any, pressure is applied to the heart bar. Pressure is key for laminitis therapy; support is key for sport horses in need of wall or sole rehabilitation.

As far as disorders that respond to heart bar shoes are concerned, there is a long list of conditions that might improve with a heart bar shoe if it is fit properly. It is one of several shoes that a vet and farrier will try out to see how the horse tolerates it. Some horses barely tolerate frog contact, let alone any pressure. Other horses thrive on it.

This is a heart bar shoe handmade for a horse with laminitis. Every heart bar is different because of the shape of a horse's heels and foot, and the width and length of frog. I believe that the horse's toes had been resected (hoof wall cut away). With laminitis, the only sound place to nail may toward the heel area. David Gulley/Mark Caldwell photo.
So what about these shoes for laminitis? First of all, if Totilas had laminitis, there would likely be a pad and some type of support material filling his foot, and he wouldn't have been schooling in front of a photographer a month ago.

I checked in with James Gilchrist of Wellington, Florida, who probably shoes more Grand Prix dressage horses than anyone in the USA. He concurred that there are many reasons why a horse would be shod with heart bar shoes during the off season. He immediately quoted Rob Renirie, however, in stating that, when the time comes for competition, the best shoeing is also the simplest, most uncomplicated shoeing.

James Gilchrist (right) spoke on sport horse farriery at the 3rd International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot, along with fellow sport-horse specialist Aaron Gygax, left, of Switzerland, in 2005.

James Gilchrist didn't seem surprised that a grand prix world champion horse being used for breeding and not competing would be wearing heart bar shoes in March.

That said, James and I both see dressage horses competing at all levels with heart bar shoes on. Some vets and farriers say that they like bar shoes, particularly in deep footing or if the horse has had suspensory problems, because the horse will "float" more and not sink into the footing. If a horse sinks too deep, he has to work harder to breakover, and the strenuous upper level movements can lead to early fatigue. The shoes should match the footing, but the footing shouldn't be too deep and strain the horses anyway.

Another aspect of heart bar shoes is that they come in, or can be made in, all weights and thicknesses of materials. You can pop on a set of beautiful Imprint plastic glue-on heart bar shoes right out of a box. Laminitis calls for a lot of seating out. They can be made from fullered steel, British style, or aluminum, American show horse style. As big as a Shire's hoof, as tiny as a Shetland's.

But for all the talk about heart bar shoes, what you don't hear about is that they are one of the most difficult shoes for farriers to learn to make and/or fit. And they must be truly fit to the foot and to the frog. Many farriers don't like them either because they have had bad experiences with them or they never bothered to learn to use them correctly or they prefer other methods that they feel will achieve the same results.

Possibly as many horses have gone lame because of heart bar shoes as have gone sound. The farriers who know how to fit them have a very valuable skill. But a skilled farrier can still meet a horse who won't tolerate the shoe; the skilled farrier recognizes that, as well.

Back in the 1980s, the late Burney Chapman of Lubbock, Texas gave the world the Great Heart Bar Shoe Revival. And it's still going on, as this week's news from Germany attests. (Photo © Hoofcare Publishing)

Heart bar shoes were dug up from the old shoeing textbooks and re-introduced to the horse world in the early 1980s by a farrier from Lubbock, Texas named Burney Chapman. 

Burney isn't with us anymore. He died of brain cancer eleven years ago, when he was just 57 years old. But if his shoe is helping Totilas, our friends in Germany should turn toward Lubbock, Texas and tip their hats to the man who made it possible. Totilas should take a little bow.

Somewhere, Burney Chapman is smiling.

It all comes down to this: if Totilas is sound under his new rider the first week of May when he comes back into competition after almost eight months off, we'll all be smiling. I am sure I speak for the universe when I say that no one wants that horse to be lame. He was born to be in motion.

To learn more: Hoofcare@WEG: Rob Renirie's Dutch Gold Shoeing Keeps It Simple

Call the office to order your copy or email books@hoofcare.com for details.

 © Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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.
 
Follow the Hoof Blog on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
Join the Hoofcare + Lameness Facebook Page
 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any direct compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned, other than Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Dr. David Hood Launches the Hoof Diagnostic and Rehabilitation Clinic in Texas

David M. Hood DVM, PhD will launch a new chapter of his research and hoof disease treatment work in a purpose-built facility to be known as the Hoof Diagnostic and Rehabilitation Center in Bryan, Texas.

David M. Hood DVM, PhD recently retired from his long-time position as associate professor at the Texas A+M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Dr. Hood is announcing the opening of the new Hoof Diagnostic and Rehabilitation Clinic (HDRC), a specialized referral practice restricted to diseases and dysfunctions of the equine hoof. Dr. Hood’s clinical research on diseases of the foot will continue at the HDRC.

Beginning this fall, the HDRC will offer innovative continuing education opportunities for horse owners, farriers and veterinarians, both at the clinic and electronically. 

The new facility is located at Valley Shadow Farm, just north of Bryan/College Station, Texas. Valley Shadow Farm also serves as the home office for the Hoof Project Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to rehabilitation, education and research in the area of equine hoof physiology and disease.

Editor's note: In addition to his work at Texas A+M, Dr. Hood is a longtime contributor and editorial board member for Hoofcare and Lameness. Among his many research accomplishments are a long list of contributions to the study of the disease of laminitis and the mentorship of many researchers and students. He is the author of Building the Equine Hoof, the editor of the Laminitis volume of the Veterinary Clinics of North America: Equine Practice, and has been a featured lecturer at many of the world's leading conferences and symposia on hoof diseases. He established The Hoof Project at Texas A&M in the 1990s as a center for hoof-related research.


Ready to ship! USA orders only: call 978 281 3222 or email books@hoofcare.com

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any direct compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned, other than Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

All Clear! Quarantine Lifted at Cornell Vet School's Equine Hospital

Two weeks ago, this blog reported the closure of the Equine Hospital at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York after a foal died and later tested positive for Equine Herpes Virus. A gelding at the hospital also became ill.

Cornell voluntarily closed its hospital doors on March 30 and worked with animal health authorities from the State of New York to initiate the proper biosecurity procedures.

Today I learned that the Equine Hospital re-opened yesterday afternoon.

“The quarantine on Cornell’s Equine hospital barns and several other barns owned by the college was lifted yesterday afternoon after the results of twice-daily temperature-taking and testing by nasal swabs during the quarantine did not reveal any EHV-1,” wrote Stephanie Specchio, Director of Communications at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in an email this afternoon. “The Equine Hospital is now operating under normal status.”

Although the Hospital and its barn are now open, the Equine Research Park and the Annex remain quarantined through April 19; a different quarantine schedule was established for those locations.

The following additional information has been posted on the vet school’s web site: “Presently, there are no horses exhibiting symptoms of EHV-1. While we believe there is a low risk of exposure, we are taking every precaution to ensure the health and well-being of all animals.

“The quarantine was lifted from the equine hospital barns and some additional college-owned barns on April 12, after temperatures (taken twice daily) and additional tests conducted on all horses indicated that EHV-1 is not present.”


© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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.
 
Follow the Hoof Blog on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
Join the Hoofcare + Lameness Facebook Page
 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any direct compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned, other than Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Friends at Work: Ellick Shod Horses in the Civil War

Today is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of one of the darkest and most painful chapters in United States history: the Civil War. Where I live, every little village has a monument to its men who died in places like Gettysburg and Antietam. The names go on and on. It makes you wonder if anyone came back at all.

I can imagine that in the southern states, the lists could be longer and it would be possible that no one returned.

As much as I read and study about the Civil War, I keep learning new things. For me, the horses are the thing of interest, and the farriers who serviced them, and the foot problems that challenged both horses and farriers.

Farriers for the Union horses were often foreign immigrants. This group looks like new arrivals: their aprons are clean and their hammers shiny.

If you have read this blog for any length of time you know that the Burden Horseshoe played a big role in turning the tide of the War in favor of the Union. Trainloads of horseshoes could leave the factory in Troy, New York and be bound for the huge remount stations or go directly to the front. Not just the cavalry but the entire artillery and the massive kitchens and quartermaster depots moved camp only the horses were shod. And those first machine-made shoes from Troy kept them all moving.

The Confederacy wasn't so lucky. They had a limited supply of iron, and it was needed for munitions as much as for horseshoes. There were no horseshoe factories in the South and orders were given for any raids on Union supply trains to go for two things: cash and horseshoes.

Until recently, I never thought much about who the farriers of the Confederacy were. I knew the Union recruiters met ships in New York and convinced farriers and blacksmiths from all nations to either enlist or to go to work as civilian government horseshoers in the remount stations.

But what about the Confederacy?

This is the enlistment paper for Ellick, an African-American who was brought into military service to work as a farrier for the Confederate States of America, even though it was not approved for white men to conscript blacks into service. This document is preserved in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

This week I learned that the laws of the Confederacy prohibited the conscription of slaves into military service. But African-Americans were there anyway, in fighting and non-fighting roles, and if authors Kevin M. Weeks and Ann DeWitt are correct, the care of the horses may have been one area where they could have been found. Just take Ellick's case.

Ellick was a farrier for the Confederacy, though he had no rank and drew no pay. It's impossible to know if he went willingly. It's quite likely that the Confederate army was desperate for farriers and experienced horsemen. Ellick may have played an important role.

Not only did the Union have new recruits with shiny hammers and unmarked aprons. They had mobile forges built on double wheel axles. In front of the forge you see here was a big bellows. The US Army designed and built these to get the farriers and the shoes to the front, where they were needed. (Library of Congress photo)
How amazing is it that the National Archives in Washington would have preserved the enlistment paper of a farrier after that war was over? This is just one example of the millions of bits of fascinating information that lies buried in those vaults of papers.

Who found Ellick? Kevin Weeks and Ann DeWitt are the authors of the new book, Entangled in Freedom: A Civil War Story. Last week their book graced the cover of Publishers Weekly's Special Independent Publishers Spring Announcement Issue. Entangled in Freedom is a young adult novel written as a first-person account of a young African-American serving with his slaveholder in the Confederate Army. The book has already won the Bonnie Blue Society Award. Ann DeWitt runs the web site www.blackconfederatesoldiers.com.

I'd like to thank them for bringing Ellick to my attention, for pulling him out of the piles of papers in the Archives, and for making him come to life. Maybe we'll never know much about Ellick but for today, he's the star farrier on the Hoof Blog and the Civil War is interesting all over again.

Click here to order your beautiful educational hoof wall microanatomy chart


 © Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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.
 
Follow the Hoof Blog on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
Join the Hoofcare + Lameness Facebook Page
 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any direct compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned, other than Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Merial Announces Deadline for 2011 Applied Equine Research Award Nominations

Merial has announced that nominations may be submitted for the 2011 Merial Applied Equine Research Award. The award recognizes outstanding research conducted in a specific field of applied equine science over the past five years. The 2011 award will honor advances in pain management of horses.

The winner will be recognized during the 12th WEVA Congress in Hyderabad, India, to be held November 2 –5, 2011. The recipient will be awarded a plaque and a $6,000 (U.S.) award, plus a $1000 contribution to travel costs. He or she will be invited to present an oral and written summary of their work to the Congress.

Award Guidelines

National equine veterinary practitioner associations and individual members of those organizations can submit a nomination. Nominees do not have to be members of the nominating association, nor do they have to be of the same nationality or live in the country from which the nomination stems.

Nominations should be comprised of the following contents:
  •  A brief (not more than one page) cover letter from the nominator. This should include the candidate’s name, address, telephone, e-mail address, fax number (if required), and a listing/summary of his/her current and past positions of employment.
  • One-page listing the candidate’s major scientific publications from 2006 to 2010 (inclusive).
  • One-page narrative of the scientific basis for this nomination. For example: for what advances in the management and treatment of pain in horses has this candidate been responsible within the last five years, and why are they noteworthy?
An international panel will select the award recipient.

Nominations should be submitted electronically to:

David R. Hodgson, Professor and Head of Department

Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences
VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine

Virginia Tech
Duck Pond Drive (0442)
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
(540) 231-7666
hodgson@vt.edu

The deadline for submissions is May 1, 2011.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Cornell Vet School Equine Herpes Virus Quarantine: Hospital and Barns Closed; Shoeing School, Farrier Shop Open

The following information is provided as a public service for horse owners and horsecare professionals.
The Smithy

The world-famous horseshoeing school and farrier shop at Cornell vet school is remaining open during the quarantine, according to resident farrier Steve Kraus. The shoes in the display case are part of the university's extensive collection of shoes made by Professor Henry Asmus, founder of Cornell's shoeing school in 1913; it was the first in the United States. (Flickr.com photo by Michael King)
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ animal health officials and veterinarians from the Equine Hospital at Cornell University are investigating two confirmed cases of Equine Herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1) in New York State. Both horses listed as cases of EHV-1 were inpatients of the Equine Hospital at Cornell University, and could have potentially exposed 69 other horses.

EHV-1 is a common viral infection of horses that is highly contagious and exhibits an array of symptoms, ranging from no clinical signs to neurological disorders.

Equine Park

New York State Veterinarian Dr. David Smith said, “While a common virus in horses, we are taking this situation very seriously given the large number of horses that have potentially been exposed to a highly communicable and sometimes fatal disease. To date, no other horses have showed signs, nor tested positive for the virus. However, this serves as an excellent reminder to horse owners that they should always be cautious of introducing new horses with an unknown disease status.”

“We recognize the seriousness of the Equine Herpesvirus Type 1 and other infectious diseases,” said Dr. Alfonso Torres, Associate Dean of Public Policy at the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. “Thanks to our surveillance systems and access to highly sensitive testing at the New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, we were able to rapidly identify the infectious agent and implement appropriate actions immediately to prevent the spread of the infection.”
Cornell, Large Animal Hospiltal
A quiet barn aisle at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Equine Hospital, photo by Ernest Fox courtesy of Flickr.com

This incident involves two confirmed cases of EHV-1 in New York State. One was a one-day old foal that was admitted to the Equine Hospital on March 18. The foal died two days later of pneumonia, and tests revealed the presence of EHV-1 on March 25.

During the same time, a gelding was being treated at the hospital for a spinal injury. It was discharged on March 22, but became severely ill and showed neurological symptoms after arriving back at its home farm. This horse tested positive for EHV-1 on March 30. The gelding is now recovering.

In response to the two confirmed cases, both the gelding’s farm and the Equine Hospital were quarantined immediately, restricting movement and access to animals at both facilities. Horses at both facilities are being monitored closely and having their temperatures taken twice daily. So far, no animals have exhibited a fever attributable to EHV-1, which would be an early warning of the virus.

At the hospital, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have also been completed for four consecutive days on all current patients. The PCR samples from all animals in the hospital are negative, indicating that no virus shedding is occurring.

20070814 Cornell Animal Hospital
The Equine Hospital is located in Cornell's extensive new complex of animal clinics on the edge of the Ithaca, New York campus. Photo by Ernest Fox, courtesy of flickr.com

As part of this on-going investigation, the Department of Agriculture and Markets is working to determine the source of the infection, as well as to identify and isolate potentially exposed horses. In doing so, Cornell has been contacting all referring veterinarians and the owners of 69 other equine patients that may have been exposed while at the Equine Hospital. The Department is also communicating with private veterinarians to provide information related to this situation, and is prepared to follow up on possible quarantines of trace-out barns of the 69 potentially exposed horses, if necessary.

At this time, neither the Department nor Cornell know of any other animals that have showed signs or tested positive for EHV-1 in association with this incident.

Nearly all horses in their lifetime will be exposed to EHV-1 at some point, and therefore it is difficult to detect as it takes on a wide range of manifestations, from a complete lack of clinical symptoms, to pneumonia, to abortion in mares, to full-blown fatal neurologic cases. The virus does not persist in the environment and is neutralized by hand soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and sunlight. Transmission of the virus is mostly via direct contact with infected materials.

EHV-1 does not affect humans or dogs, cats, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs or birds; however, alpacas and llamas can be affected.

If you are the owner or caretaker of a horse that was or has been at the Equine Hospital at Cornell on or after March 18, 2011 or that may have come in contact with a potentially exposed patient, the following guidelines are recommended:
  • Isolate your animal, if possible. It is always recommended that horses returning from veterinary hospitals be isolated for three weeks when possible.
  • Check your horse’s temperature twice a day for ten days. If the temperature is 102 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • If you care to test your horse, consult your veterinarian. At this time, the preferred test is PCR analysis performed on nasal swab specimens.
Since March 30, 2011, the Equine Hospital at Cornell University has been quarantined. No movement of animals between the equine barns and other Cornell facilities is permitted at this time, and the hospital is only accepting emergency cases.

Out of an abundance of caution, the quarantine at the hospital will remain in effect through April 11.

For more information on EHV-1, visit the American Association of Equine Practitioners website or check USDA APHIS brochure on the virus.


 © Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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.
 
Follow the Hoof Blog on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
Join the Hoofcare + Lameness Facebook Page

 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any direct compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned, other than Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.