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Thursday, June 30, 2011

What Century Is It? Scotland's Royal Highland Show Clydesdale Shoeing Competition Keeps Tradition in Sharp Focus

New Shoes
Royal Highland Show 2011 Clydesdale Shoeing by David McCrone
Sometimes a great photo just jumps up out of the Internet and begs to be featured on the Hoof Blog. Of all the millions of photos in the world, why do these very special ones find their ways here? I don't know, but I'm glad they do.

You're looking at a Clydesdale, the great national horse of Scotland. Each year the famed Royal Highland Show hosts an equally famous shoeing competition for farriers. Shoeing these horses is a time-honored tradition, and there exist minute variances in the way they are shod in these competitions that only a keen judge's eye can discern.

At the end of the competition, the horses' feet might all look more or less the same to the casual observer, but the judge knows better. And even within the strict Scottish tradition, there is room for a judge to have individual prejudices and preferences for details in the work that will often be the only dividing line between highly skilled executions of one of the most difficult shoeing assignments on earth.

After this photo was first published, the photogenic lads in the background were identified as former apprentices, now "qualified" (graduates who have earned their diplomas, and stayed on as employees) farriers, of two of today's leading British farriers, business partners Jim and Allan Ferrie in Ayrshire, Scotland.

Jim wrote when he saw the photo on the Hoofcare & Lameness Facebook Page: "(That's) Graham McBurney on left and Jackie Campbell on right. It was their first time competing as qualified Farriers at the Royal Highland. Jackie won the apprentice championship last year. 

"Although they did not win, both got the hind toe bars welded on and finished on time with very respectable jobs."

Royal Highland Show Archives Copyright-Protected Image

Sixty years ago, the Royal Highland Show farriers worked outside. Here you see the late Edward Martin in his first Royal Highland shoeing competition. And right behind him, at the next anvil, is the grandfather of Allan and Jim Ferrie.  As you can see, not that much has changed, although Edward is sadly missed since his death. I hope that the Ferries will have some connection to the Royal Highland Show for as long as it continues, which will likely be as long as there's a Scotland.

This photograph has a great story to tell. Click here to reveal what this day meant in the life of a very young Edward Martin.

You won't see adhesives and casting tape or aluminum and plastic. You will see hammers and fullers and pritchels at the anvil, rasp and nippers and a knife at the horse. And not much else. You have to do it with the same tools they've always used.


Another reason to love Scotland: tartan plaid ribbons. In Scotland, the red ribbon is first prize. (Photo courtesy of the Royal Highland Show)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nicholas Frank, Noted Laminitis Researcher, Will Chair Tufts University's Cummings Vet School Department of Clinical Sciences

(Edited from press release)

Nicholas Frank, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, an equine clinician and researcher with expertise in laminitis, metabolic syndrome and endocrinology, has been named the chair of the Department of Clinical Sciences at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

As chair of the veterinary school’s largest department, Frank will lead a group of nearly 50 academic and clinical faculty who serve clients in the Cummings School’s hospitals, teach throughout the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program, and undertake ground-breaking research to improve animal and human health.

Dr. Frank
Dr. Frank comes to Tufts from the veterinary faculty at the University of Tennessee, where, as an equine internist, he was section chief of large animal medicine and led the Center for Equine Veterinary Research. He is an award-winning teacher and also serves as a consulting member of the University of Nottingham faculty in the United Kingdom. Dr. Frank has excelled as a clinician-scholar in the field of equine internal medicine and endocrinology.

“To join Tufts as department chair of such a talented and accomplished faculty represents a wonderful challenge and a true honor,” Frank said. “Several of Tufts’ clinical programs are renowned nationally and worldwide, and I look forward to building upon the clinical, research, and teaching programs already in-place.”

Hoof Blog Note: Dr. Frank is the lead author of this Consensus  Statement on Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) for the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), as published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.  The paper is available for download at that link.

Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine is located in North Grafton, Massachusetts.
 

 © 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.

War Horse: The Movie! Trailer of Spielberg's Film Premieres; Meet His Equine Artistic Adviser

War Horse. Steven Spielberg. Dreamworks. Disney. Get ready to put it all together! Watch for the Disney/Dreamworks Hollywood film version of the hit London and Broadway stage play. You'll be able to see it in about six months; the tentative release date is December 28 in the United States.

The War Horse story took on another dimension today, with the release of the first trailer promoting the film version of the hit stage play.

If this trailer is any indication, it looks like Steven Spielberg's amazing directing talents easily extended themselves to showing horses in a very realistic and appealing light. And that's not easy to do!

Sure, the story of War Horse is epic, and a great one. But the horses could easily have ended up looking like stick figures, or limp two-dimensional background objects. Not every film with a great horse-related story line succeeds in showing horses both realistically and inspirationally. The Black Stallion and Phar Lap are two from the past that I think did do it well.

What did horses look like during World War I? How could today's horses be made to look like yesterday's? What about their manes and tails and tack? Yes, even their shoes? Spielberg needed some help there. (©Disney/Dreamworks publicity photo)
When they went looking for a horse to play Joey, the star horse of the film, I think they went to eventing yards. What do you think? Irish-bred? Yes, the mane is too long, you're right. But could it be that's intentional, to make the horse look like he would have during World War I? Ali Bannister would have had a hand in that. Who's she? Keep reading!


Note: for some reason, only the first minute or so of this audio file is playing. I'm sorry. The full file is playing on the Hoofcare and Lameness Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/hoofcareandlameness); I'll try to fix this file if I can.

Take a break and listen to this BBC Radio interview with British equestrian portrait artist Ali Bannister, who literally woke up one morning to find herself and her artwork and her design talents on the set of War Horse. Ali's title was "Equine Artistic Adviser". And while there may be no Academy Award for makeup and hair styling of horses, there is no question that the authenticity of this film rests on the portrayal of the horses as looking like they would have for the time period, and for their work on English farms and in the war. Ali shares her experiences in this first of many interviews.

Here's a sample of Ali Bannister's horse portraiture; watch Theo come to life. You'll see why Spielberg chose her! You can see lots more, and commission Ali to paint your horse or dog, at http://www.alibannister.com.

This video shows scenes of the making of the film in Devon, England last year. Note: the release date is mentioned as August, but it has now been pushed back to December.

If you're new to War Horse, it's both a play and now a film-in-progress based on a best-selling children's book by Michael Morpurgo.


The synopsis, from Disney/Dreamworks Films publicity: The First World War is experienced through the journey of this horse—an odyssey of joy and sorrow, passionate friendship and high adventure. War Horse is one of the great stories of friendship and war— a successful book, it was turned into a hugely successful international theatrical hit. It now comes to screen in an epic adaptation by one of the great directors in film history.

Translation: Yes, of course. But there's more to it than that. War is too painful a subject sometimes to tell from the human perspective. People have built-in defenses in their subconscious selves, to protect them even for the time spent viewing a Spielberg film like Saving Private Ryan or Schindler's List. But when you can show how war affects an animal that has no choice in the matter, people allow themselves to feel something--about animals, about humanity, about themselves--they might not otherwise let slip.

That's War Horse, in a nutshell. You feel it slip, and you let it. It's about a horse, so it's safe to let it slip. But of course it is about much, much more than a horse.

Special thanks to Kentucky equine photographer (and friend of Hoofcare and Lameness) Wendy Uzelac Wooley of Equisport Photos and her late, great ex-racehorse Jaguar Hope, who even after his death is doing amazing things. A sketch of Jaguar Hope by Ali Bannister appears on the Dreamworks crew logo caps for the War Horse film. I highly recommend Wendy's Racehorse to Showhorse blog for anyone who wants to see great photography presented in an upbeat format. Her contributions to this blog have added a lot and there wouldn't be a Hoof Blog without the support of generous, creative, collaborative-spirited people like Wendy.

3-D Equine Anatomy of the Lower Limb: Software to Study, Explore and Expand Your View of Horses! Click Now to Order from Hoofcare Publishing.


© 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 Hoofcare + Lameness on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
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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.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Video: Fix My Crooked Foal! Reality Time for Horse Breeders, Skill Time for Surgeons and Farriers



It's that time of year. The 2011 foal crop is here and breeders are looking at them under magnifying glasses. What have they bred? Will this foal make it as an athlete in the long run?

In the short run, will he or she sell at a yearling sale?

Making a foal look and move like a future athlete is a controversial part of horse production. Many foals are born with problems, so corrections are often made. Some are left to see if time, weightbearing and chest or muscle development will compensate for the appearance of a bow-legged or knock-kneed conformation.

Double-click image to view at larger size; image strictly copyright HC Biovision and Hoofcare Publishing

Many would say that corrections should have been made in the selection process of matching broodmares and/or stallions instead of later, in the foals, but the prevalence of conformational defects in so many breeds would make selection based on ideal conformation a daunting task, particularly since a horse's original lower-limb alignment may have been surgically altered to some degree.

In 2011, a sire or mare's true conformation may be better seen in the foals he or she produces than in the legs he or she stood on when breeding publicity photos were taken.

This is the time of year when veterinarians and farriers find themselves holding squirming foals and truly working together to decide what should or shouldn't be done to straighten the appearance of the lower limbs. These are important decisions.

The same principlws used to improve the limb alignment on a valuable Thoroughbred or show horse foal can be used to intervene when a foal is born with more severe  defects. Surgery and special shoeing probably saved this foal's life. (Photo from the Wildenstein Photo Library, thanks to Michael Wildenstein.)

Knowing the bloodlines, knowing the breeders, and most of all, knowing the anatomy and growth schedule of the lower limbs are the keys to success. What might work at one farm won't work at another. What might work on a Quarter horse might not work on a Friesian.  And what works at one clinic or hospital might not work at yours...but you know what worked on this foal's half-brother, or you remember its dam, or you know the farm staff is going to diligent about caring for this little guy (or not).

The video team at Thoroughbred Times caught a typical moment with a surgical team at Hagyard Equine Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky this spring. This brief two-part video follows one foal from evaluation through minor surgery and application of a lateral hoof extension aimed at bringing a toed-in foot back into line with the limb.

Part 1: Identifying toe-in conformation with Hagyard Equine Medical Institute's Dr. Michael Spirito




Part 2: Periosteal elevation of the fetlock and application of an adhesive lateral extension on the toed-in foal's foot.



And what if the foals weren't corrected? Toed-in, toed-out, club-footed foals grow up unaltered in the fields of breeders without the budgets of business-oriented breeders. Most people feel strongly that correction early in life gives a foal a chance to bear weight correctly and therefore develop normally so that, as an athlete, the horse has a better chance of running. And winning.

But would they have straightened out on their own, without the pressure of yearling sales for racehorses and in-hand classes for show horse yearlings?

There's no question that the correction has to be done at the right time, before the corresponding growth plates in the area of the deformity close. Wait-and-see is a decision of its own. Conservative trimming techniques can sometimes be enough. A tiny extension like the one shown in the video can be used with or without surgery, and surgery, as shown in the video, can consist of conservative periosteal elevation or more elaborate screw insertion to impede development on one side of the bone.

The idea is to help the foal, and give it a chance to be the best athlete it can be, considering the legs it was given.

To learn more: Read Dr. Ric Redden's overview of foal conformation problems and definition of terms.

Read British veterinary surgeon James Tate describes periosteal bridging and elevation techniques on the website of trainer Mark Johnston.

Still one of the best resources ever: Hoofcare + Lameness "Baby Boom" special issue on foal limb conformation, correction, glue-on shoes, medial and lateral extension shoes, club feet, anglular limb and flexural deformities. $15 per copy. Email Hoofcare office to order or call 978 281 3222.


© 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 Hoofcare + Lameness on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
 
Read this blog's headlines and read special Facebook-only news and links when you "like" the Hoofcare + Lameness Facebook Page
 
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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.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Foot Photos: Totilas Used His Shoes at German Dressage Championships at Balve Today, Set New German High-Score Record

German rider Matthias Alexander Rath riding Totilas competes in the Grand Prix Dressage Competition at the German Championships in the western city of Balve June 17, 2011 REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT EQUESTRIANISM)

New rider, new trainer, new stable, new vet, new farrier...Dressage World Champion Totilas seems to be putting it all together and, with luck, hit a new kind of stride.

Under new rider Matthias Rath, the horse who won all three gold medals at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games for the Netherlands is hoping to be crowned champion under a new flag this weekend at the German National Dressage Championships at Balve. In today's Grand Prix, the black stallion set a new high record for a German horse, with a score of 81.021.

Excitement is building for the musical freestyle portion of the championships, where the new music for Totilas will be heard in its entirety for the first time. It was composed/created/compiled by music producer and dj Paul Van Dyk and has been widely touted in the international music and entertainment news.

Hooves of German dressage horse Totilas are pictured during the Grand Prix Dressage Competition at the German Championships in the western city of Balve June 17, 2011  REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT EQUESTRIANISM)
   
Luckily for us, Ina Fassbender was on hand to take these photos. Totilas's new farrier is Franz Helmke, who is also farrier to Isabell Werth. As previously reported, Totilas's shoes have been changed from the simple open-heeled shoes he wore under Dutch rider Edward Gal, finetuned for him by Dutch farrier Rob Renirie. The new left hind would be described as a lateral extension shoe. Totilas's heart-bar shoes are explained at length in a previous Hoof Blog post.


Hooves of German dressage horse Totilas are pictured during the Grand Prix Dressage Competition at the German Championships in the western city of Balve June 17, 2011  REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT EQUESTRIANISM)
   
Totilas is now shod with heart bar shoes in front and a combination of lateral adjustments on the hinds. The right hind would be described perhaps as a thumb print heel with a kicked-out trailer on the lateral branch.


German rider Matthias Alexander Rath riding Totilas competes in the Grand Prix Dressage Competition at the German Championships in the western city of Balve June 17, 2011  REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT EQUESTRIANISM)
   
It's easy to see why Grand-Prix level dressage horses often receive increased lateral adjustments in their shoes. The pirouette requires the horse to lower his haunches, elevate the front end, turn...and not move forward. The test will require the horse to do the pirouette both to the left and to the right, to demonstrate balance.

German rider Matthias Alexander Rath trains with dressage horse Totilas during in Kronberg near Frankfurt May 9, 2011. The owners relocated Totilas from another stable to Kronberg on Monday. REUTERS/Alex Domanski (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT EQUESTRIANISM)

In this Alex Domanski photo of Totilas schooling at home, you can see where his hind fetlocks are headed in the piaffe. Also, notice the equipment he wears: lined bellboots and wraps in front, but behind he is wearing a full-length wrap/boot combination, similar to the one-piece stretch-and-flex "spats" (my nickname for them) sold in the USA by the British company Equilibrium. The one-piece construction prevents the inevitable rubbing between a bell boot and a leg wrap or boot, which can pinch or irritate the pastern and heel bulbs on the hind leg. As with any leg gear used during training, these boots have to applied properly, however, or the horse will be annoyed.

Thanks to Alex Domanski and Ina Fassbinder for aiming their lenses at the hooves.

The book you shouldn't be without! Call 978 281 3222 or email to order the ultimate survey of lower limb equine anatomy.


© 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 Hoofcare + Lameness on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
Read this blog's headlines and read special Facebook-only news and links when you "like" the Hoofcare + Lameness Facebook Page
Hoofcare Publishing (Hoofcare and Lameness Journal) on LinkedIn  
 
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, June 16, 2011

Grazing Muzzles Reduce Pasture Consumption by 80 Percent in Grazing Ponies, According to New Study

"It's not funny!" this horse seems to be saying and there's no question that most horses are less than amused at the prospect of wearing muzzles. Would it be different if all the horses in the pasture had to wear them? This expressive photo is by the talented animal photographer Judith Whelan.

New research, presented at the Equine Science Society (ESS) Symposium in Nashville, Tennessee last month, shows that using a grazing muzzle can reduce the pasture intake of ponies by over 80 percent.

When horses and ponies, in particular, are given free access to grass, they appear to be more susceptible to obesity and related disorders, such as insulin resistance and laminitis, than are those with restricted access to grass.

However, simply reducing the amount of time a horse or pony is allowed to be out at pasture may not be as effective as previously thought. Another study, also presented at the ESS meeting, has shown that ponies may adapt their grazing behavior to eat more in a shorter time.

The new research shows that the use of a grazing muzzle could be a much more effective and reliable solution if used appropriately.

Grazing muzzles significantly reduce bite size and intake. Anecdotally, ponies fitted with grazing muzzles spend a greater proportion of time engaging in foraging- and eating-directed behaviors than their non-muzzled counterparts, yet they still either lose weight or retain an established, trim body condition.

The study, which was conducted by the British-based Waltham® Equine Studies Group in collaboration with Dr Annette Longland of Equine Livestock and Nutrition Services in Wales, aimed to quantify the effect of wearing a grazing muzzle on herbage intake by ponies.

Four mature ponies were recruited for the study. After an adaptation period, their pasture intakes were determined when wearing a grazing muzzle and when grazing without a muzzle. Pasture samples were obtained daily to assess the grazing available. Insensible weight loss (ISWL) was determined for each pony immediately preceding and immediately following each three-hour grazing period. Intakes were determined by changes in body weight (after taking into account the weight of any feces and urine produced plus the estimated ISWL) after the three hours of grazing, using a calibrated weighbridge.

Pasture intake by the ponies grazing for three hours without muzzles averaged 0.8 percent (with some eating close to 1 percent) of their bodyweight. This is the equivalent of up to two-thirds of the recommended daily dry matter intake for many ponies on restricted diets.

Funny Cide is NOT amused by his new grazing muzzle
Even Kentucky Derby winners have to wear grazing muzzles. Here's Funny Cide, looking like he's saying, "Don't you know who I am? Don't take my picture when I'm wearing this thing!" in his paddock at the Kentucky Horse Park. (Sarah K. Andrew photo)

Owners therefore may under-estimate pasture intakes of un-muzzled ponies, even when they are provided with restricted time at pasture.

In contrast, the pasture intake of the ponies when wearing muzzles was around 0.14 percent of bodyweight over three hours, representing an average reduction of 83% percent compared to when they were not wearing muzzles.

Clare Barfoot RNutr, is research and development manager at Spillers®, a British feed company. Her comment on the research: “These figures clearly show how effective grazing muzzles appear to be as a method to restrict pasture intake. The study has given us helpful, practical guidance on how we can safely manage grass intake to control weight gain and reduce the risk of obesity-related disorders, without significantly compromising the natural behavior and wellbeing of our horses and ponies.”

Grazing muzzles must be used with care, should be properly fitted and horses and ponies should be adapted gradually to wearing them. Group and individual behavior should be monitored closely to observe any potential concerns caused by changes to the herd dynamics. Total exclusion muzzles are not advised.

Reference for this research: 
A Longland, ELNS, Pantafallen Fach, Tregaron, SY25 6NG, P Harris, WALTHAM Centre For Pet Nutrition, C Barfoot, Mars Horsecare UK Ltd, Old Wolverton, Buckinghamshire UK. (2011) The effect of wearing a grazing muzzle vs not wearing a grazing muzzle on pasture dry matter intake by ponies. J Equine Veterinary Science 31: 282-283

Additional reference for research mentioned in this article:
J. Ince, Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS). Aberystwyth University; A. Longland, ELNS, Pantafallen Fach, Tregaron, SY25 6NG C. J. Newbold, Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS). Aberystwyth University & P. Harris, WALTHAM Centre For Pet Nutrition.(2011) Changes in proportions of dry matter intakes by ponies with access to pasture and haylage for 3 and 20 hours per day respectively for six weeks. J Equine Veterinary Science 31: 283

Click here! Rev up your knee-to-hoof anatomy knowledge with the 3-D animation study tool everyone's talking about! Easy to order!



© 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 Hoofcare + Lameness on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
Read this blog's headlines and read special Facebook-only news and links when you "like" the Hoofcare + Lameness Facebook Page
 
Hoofcare Publishing (Hoofcare and Lameness Journal) on LinkedIn  
 
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, June 13, 2011

Silent Anvil: Buster Conklin, Retired Cornell Vet School Farrier, Has Died

Say good-bye to Marshall "Buster" Conklin of Horseheads, New York, one of the great faces and spirits of late-20th century horseshoeing in America.

Buster was the longtime farrier instructor and resident farrier at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine but he will be remembered much more for his character and his passion for his profession than for any job he held. After all, no job could quite hold a man like Buster Conklin.

I'm sure more information will come in and I'll think of something to say but not quite yet. Just "good-bye, Buster" for now.

And definitely, "What a guy".

Please check back for more information. Photo © Fran Jurga, Hoofcare Publishing.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's International Helmet Awareness Day! Helmets Are Handy Out of the Saddle, Too--Just Ask This Farrier!

Farrier trimming feet by World Horse Welfare

Today is International Helmet Awareness Day, part of a worldwide campaign to urge more riders to protect their heads while on horseback. But it occurred to me that there are times when helmets come in handy on the ground too. World Horse Welfare recently published this series of photos, which I thought would be appropriate for today.

An operation to round up 93 semi-feral highland-type ponies in the North East of Scotland was launched with the help of Horseback UK, The Royal Marines and the staff and students of The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

Each of the horses was microchipped and issued a corresponding equine passport. They were then sorted into herd groups, and then 41 males were anesthetized and castrated, which gave plenty of practice for the vet school students!

Donald Nicol was the farrier who trimmed the feet--you see him working on a mare in this photo. 

The vets and students wore helmets too. 

Retailers are offering discounts today to people who purchase helmets as part of the International Helmet Awareness Day program. So, if you're a vet, technician, or farrier, there may be a very good reason for you to keep a helmet on hand, even if you don't ride!

Friday, June 10, 2011

USA TODAY Laminitis Video: Penn Vet's New Bolton Center and the Legacy of Barbaro


USA Today had a terrific article yesterday about the laminitis work being done at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine's New Bolton Center. At the rural campus outside Philadelphia, 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was a patient for about seven months while he struggled to both recover from a fractured leg suffered in the 2006 Preakness Stakes and, even more poignantly, fight laminitis.

What a nice surprise to find out that, in addition to the terrific photos and article that were actually in the newspaper, they also filmed a video at New Bolton, which we are privileged to share with you here on the Hoof Blog.

In the video, you will recognize (in order of appearance) farrier Pat Reilly, Laminitis Institute researcher Hannah Gallantino-Homer, and veterinarians Jim Orsini and Dean Richardson, all members of the staff at New Bolton Center.

The full article can be read online but the great photos are not available:
Five years after Barbaro, pains and gains

Many staff and researchers associated with New Bolton Center's Laminitis Institute will be involved in the Sixth International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot to be held October 29-31 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Visit www.laminitisconference.com for more information; the program will be announced soon.

The ONE book you need! Call 978 281 3222 to order

 © 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 Hoofcare + Lameness on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
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Thursday, June 09, 2011

For Want of a Nail...Queen's Colt Loses Epsom Derby (and a Shoe)

If you look closely at this photo by David Davies/PA mirrored from The Guardian newspaper in England, you can see Carlton House's shoe landing on the grass of the Epsom Racecourse as he was charging home in the 2011 Epsom Derby last weekend. Carlton House (red sleeves) was favored to win, and his victory would have brought great joy to his owner, Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth, who is now 85 years old and hasn't ever won the race. Carlton House was a gift to the Queen from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. The Queen was watching it all from the royal box, and must believe, like all racehorse owners, that she'll be make it to the winner's circle next year.

"Just wait until next year," she seems to be thinking as her colt finished third. Hopefully no "off with his head!"  thoughts crossed her mind! (Reuters/Suzanne Pluckett photo via Fotoglif)
For want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
For want of the shoe, the horse was lost;
For want of the horse, the rider was lost;
For want of the rider, the battle was lost;
For want of the battle, the kingdom was lost;
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
(--unknown; English nursery rhyme and moralist tale, dating back to 1390)

Just a few weeks ago, the Queen was laughing and smiling at the Irish National Stud. The farriers there were delighted to meet her. She might be thinking of the age-old frailties of the hoof this week, as she experiences the universal highs and lows of owning racehorses.

In fairness, according to observers, the shoe was lost after the colt's chance of winning had passed and didn't affect the order of finish.

Fear not, our friend and intrepid British racing journalist and broadcaster Graham Cunningham was seen sporting the shoe after the race. Note the extended pinky. Is that the proper way to hold a horseshoe, as one would hold a china teacup? If that's in a royal etiquette book somewhere, let us know! (Courtesy of Graham Cunningham)

Explore the hoof wall's micro-zones, created at Michigan State University's Equine Foot Laboratory



 © 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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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Farrier Jim Quick's Colorado Shop and Equipment Destroyed by Fire, Explosion

Fire and an explosion destroyed farrier Jim Quick's workshop in Niwot, Colorado on Sunday, June 5, 2011. This is all that remained.  (Jim Quick photo)
 Jim Quick is a lucky man. He has a good sense of timing, too.

He took a break from working on some tools Sunday morning. The well-known farrier clinician and competitor left his farrier shop in Niwot, Colorado to step onto his patio and speak to a neighbor for a few minutes. It would be the last time he'd set foot in that shop.

Jim Quick will still compete at Calgary
 Jim said, "I was running the power hammer and using a gas forge" before he shut everything off to speak to the neighbor. "We walked up to the house to sit on the patio when we heard a boom..." he continued. The blast was said to have sent a gas tank flying 100 yards in the air before it landed in a field.

According to a passerby quoted on Denver's Channel 7 ABC-TV local news, the shop caught fire and then exploded, eventually leaving behind just a few hulking metal skeletons.

Jim was mourning the loss of some of his favorite tools today, many of which were made for him or were gifts from great farriers and friends, living and dead, from all over the world. His Kohlswa anvil and some hammers survived the explosion and his shoeing truck was not damaged.

"The Practice Palace is gone," Jim Quick wrote on Monday after fire and an explosion destroyed his shop. (photo provided by Jim Quick)

"The Practice Palace is gone," he wrote on Monday. But even without most of his beloved special tools, he plans to keep practicing.

Looking at the calendar, it's easy math to see that Jim Quick has exactly 30 days left to practice for the Calgary Stampede World Championship Blacksmiths' Competition in Canada next month. He's promised he won't let his teammates down. I told him Monday night that he may be practicing under the stars, so it had better not rain for the next month.

He's a lucky man to be practicing at all.


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Friday, June 03, 2011

Racehorse Fetlock Screening Via Standing MRI Could Identify Horses at Risk for Condylar Fractures of the Fetlock


If there is one thing that we all learned by watching the Kentucky Derby this year, it was the term "condylar fracture". Watching first Battle of Hastings and then Archarcharch load into the horse ambulance was the low point of the day.

Are you one of the people who just shrugs and says, "That's racing!" or are you one of the people who asks, "Why? Why? Why?"

Maybe this article will raise the eyebrows of people in both camps and get them both saying, "What if..."

So what if...

What if a standing MRI could help identify horses with potential fetlock problems before any injury ever even happens? It's possible, and that's the prospect that equine practitioner John Peloso of Equine Medical Associates of Ocala, Florida put forward in March in an article in Thoroughbred Times.

Little did he know how timely the article would be six weeks later!

Let's start with the injury. Condylar fracture means that the portion of the long bone that was broken was the condyle. When you look at the end of the cannon bone, you see a ridge in the middle, between two rounded bulbs, called condyles.

The fetlock joint surface can be subject to a lot of wear and tear, as well as evidence of a degenerative condition, that might now show on a radiograph but might be visible via MRI. (John Peloso DVM photo)

The condyles sit in the fetlock joint and rotate within it, like balls in a socket, as the horse flexes his lower leg. Battle of Hastings' fracture was the medial (rough translation: inner side of the limb) condyle, whereas Archarcharch's injury involved the lateral  (rough translation: outer side of the limb) condyle.

Racehorses are especially prone to condylar fractures. Something (trainers like to call it "a bad step") causes increased pressure on the condyles in the fetlock joint. Normally a horse is fine but sometimes the condyle fractures, to varying degrees. A radiograph will show what looks like a crack in the cannon bone in the condyle area.

Thoroughbreds "Make It or Break It"

In his article, Dr Peloso reminds us that the process of building and creating an equine athlete is dependent on the horse's ability to "remodel" his bones.

The rigors of training cause a horse to continually lose bone and then replace it. In a healthy normal horse, the resulting replacement is more dense than the original.

But in some horses, the lost bone is not adequately replaced or fortified. This is called non-adaptive bone modeling. The effects of training may actually weaken the bone rather than fortify it.

If you have looked at a good radiograph of a horse's fetlock and cannon bone, you know that bone has different density values, and yet the inadequate bone modeling syndrome is deep in the bone and difficult for a radiograph to show. The depth of the problem means that the tissue around the joint doesn't swell, either. It's invisible.

MRI scans the fetlock in 3-D

Which horse would you bet on? The horse on the left had not begun training; the horse on the right shows mild thickening of the subchondral bone in the condyle region. (John Peloso photo)
Dr Peloso recommends the use of standing MRI to evaluate racehorses. MRI scans the fetlock in three dimensions and shows what's going on with the soft tissue in and around the joint as well as the architecture of the bony column itself. And with standing MRI, the horse does not need general anesthesia; trainers are reluctant to schedule their horses in training for anesthesia.

Standing MRI allows the horse to stand in a natural position while the scanning goes on. The horse is sedated but does not need general anesthesia. (Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging photo)

Certainly there is no way to know how many injuries can be prevented by monitoring fetlocks for non-adaptive bone remodeling. But in human medicine, MRI is the modality of choice to routinely detect almost-invisible stress fractures in athletes.

Dr Peloso noted that standing MRI screening of the fetlock is commonly performed in England, Ireland, France and Dubai, where many vet clinics are equipped with standing MRI units and may screen as many as two to three racehorses per day.

What veterinarians like Dr. Peloso hope to help trainers avoid: two examples of the early stages of condylar fracture of the fetlock. The red arrows are pointing to white crack-like lines that indicate a fracture has begun. (John Peloso photo)
Of course, you have to wonder why this happens at all: why are some horses normal? Why is it that the bones in other horses--horses who look and act perfectly healthy--just don't adapt properly?

Those are big questions. MRI can't answer those but a racehorse monitoring protocol of standing MRI sounds like a hopeful proposal that could possibly save some American horses' lives, careers or months lost from training. It could be that famous "ounce of prevention" that is worth many pounds of surgery, layup and rehabilitative cure.

Thanks to the kindness of our friends at Thoroughbred Times, we're able to post the entire article by Dr Peloso here on the Hoof Blog. You'll find an interactive window at the end of this article. Use the controls at the bottom of the document window to enlarge the text or scroll through the pages.

To contact Dr Peloso about his work on bone remodeling in Thoroughbreds, please contact John G. Peloso, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS, Equine Medical Center of Ocala, 7107 West Highway 326, Ocala, Florida 34482.

To learn more about standing MRI, visit Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging on the web.

Also on the Hoof Blog:
Thoroughbred Times 032511 Hallmarq Benefits of MRI Peloso

Article reprinted with permission from
Thoroughbred Times

 
 
Disclosure of Material Connection: Hoofcare Publishing contracted to receive compensation for compiling this post but the veterinary expertise and opinions in the article were provided by John Peloso DVM and Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging.  The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used to replace professional veterinary advice for your horse. Visitors to the website are responsible for how they choose to utilize this content. 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.