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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

London 2012 Farriers: Meet James Blurton, Lead Farrier


Jim Blurton of Wales is one of those farriers who has more than one claim to fame. But his most recent is the one that might stick the longest.

Jim is a former world champion at the Calgary Stampede. He’s a veteran of countless Welsh national horseshoeing teams. He’s a successful farrier with a burgeoning group practice employing ten or so farriers, and a manufacturing entrepreneur whose name is on the farrier supply map for manufacturing farrier hand tools and pre-made bar shoes.

But as of yesterday--and forever more--he’ll be remembered as the “Lead Farrier”. His position is attached to the veterinary services department of the London Olympic Games’ organizing committee, a.k.a. LOCOG.

Jim said that his day begins at 5:30 a.m. and that, on the day we first spoke, it ended at 10:30 p.m. There were horses to be attended to: if not shod, they still may need to be adjusted, clenches looked at and maintenance provided. He was waiting for his team of volunteers to arrive the next day (Saturday) when the official duties would begin.

Jim Blurton, NTO Lead Farrier for the London 2012 Olympic Games

Jim’s plan is to spread the farrier team throughout the park and station farriers wherever horses are competing or training. The crew of British farriers has been through a training program, and understands what is expected of them.

There are five positions in the training center area; one farrier is needed at each of five warmup arena. A farrier also needs to be in the forge at the stables and one at the competition venue itself. For the cross-country on Monday, farriers will be at the start and the finish of the course.

Another farrier is on duty at the receiving station, about five miles away. Peden Bloodstock is there, facilitating the processing of any arriving horses. They are all checked for their proper permits and transferred from their vans to official LOCOG transports that carry the horses into the park. Everything that has been sent with a horse is x-rayed at this receiving station, and the farrier is on hand to make sure the horses didn’t have any shoe problems during transport to London.

And the forge itself? It's important to know that it's up in the air. It's built on stilts, just like all the stables and buildings at the equestrian center--even the stadium and the arena itself are built on platforms on stilts. Horses go up and down ramps to get where they're going, and back again.

This morning I spoke with Jay Tovey, an Olympic farrier from Bedfordshire, England who was one of several assisting Jim Blurton on this second day of eventing dressage. Jay has been in the Park with Jim since last Monday and spent today minding hooves at a warmup arena. The sun was shining when we spoke, but they had been through thunder and lightning and a downpour during the dressage.

“Brilliant!” was Jay Tovey’s comment on the farrier scheme. He said that people at the staging center and the park were aware of the farriers and what they were assigned to do.

One of Jim Blurton's business accomplishments has been the mass production of heart bar shoes;
this photo is a still from his video on fitting heart bars.

In the meantime, Jay and Jim are having a few encounters with farriers from other countries. As Jay looked across the arena where he was stationed, he said he could see Nigel Perrott from Somerset, England, who is the farrier for the Irish eventing team, and Dieter Krohnert, the long-time farrier for the German National Federation teams.

I asked Jim Blurton what qualified him to be selected for the job and he had to stop and think a minute. Then he reasoned it out: they needed someone who could be away from his or her business for a month--which jim can be only because of the staff he has at home to take up the slack.

They needed someone who could manage people, he added slowly, which the size of his shoeing and manufacturing business obviously proves.

“And they needed someone who’d know what they’re doing,” he ended.

Coming up: More about the forge, farriers from other countries, and a salute to some of the farriers whose hard work helped their horses get to London.

Thanks to Team Thailand's farrier, David Watson, for taking the photo of Jim in the Olympic forge.


© 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.

Monday, July 30, 2012

London 2012 Farriers: Tending the Other Olympic Flame

Once there was a peaceful park on the edge of London...
The Opening Ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic Games were pretty spectacular. I’m sure that the highlight for many was when the Queen parachuted out of a helicopter and into the stadium with James Bond at her side and her handbag in place.

But for me, the highlight came before that.

Director Danny Boyle’s timeline portrayal began with a bucolic rural England, complete with (real) giant Shire horses. It got even better when smokestacks rose among the meadows and the Industrial Revolution reshaped the land into mills, waterwheels and massive gears. Smoke filled the air. The pastoral farmers turned into millworkers with soot on their faces.

And then it happened.

London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony
The smiths leaned on their hammers and watched the rings they'd forged rise in the sky over the stadium

The center of the stadium glowed with fire and a single giant Olympic ring formed in the earth. And it kept forming because 100 or so hammer-wielding smith-types pounded it into shape. Ok, so their sledges were undoubtedly made of foam. But it was pretty realistic, an Olympic-sized exercise of traditional iron wheel-making in a forge.

The ring rose in the night sky and four others joined it, forming the iconic Olympic rings.

The peaceful park was transformed into an equestrian village, with a smithy, of course.

Across the river in London’s Greenwich Park, the equestrian events were set to begin 12 hours later and the Olympic forge was open for business. The flame burning there is encased in a gas forge, but it is being tended by a group of British farriers who are also sharing it with team farriers from around the world.

If there is a place at the Olympic equestrian venue where the world meets, it will be here. The Olympic forge amidst the sprawling stable area should be a re-creation of the village smithy on a town green.

During the Games, the Hoof Blog will do its best to connect you with the people who are sharing the Olympic Forge’s Flame.

You won’t hear gossip about horses or riders, but you might learn something about how the FEI and individual nations approach farriery and veterinary care as essential parts of equine welfare, how the forge came to be, who the farriers are, and which nations sent a farrier along with the horses to keep things straight.

We’ll end the beginning by saying thank you to all the farriers who have already generously provided interviews and sent over photos of their time in Greenwich Park. Keep it coming...and keep the Olympic forge flame burning for us all.

Call 978 281 3222 for US orders of this crucial reference book; supplies are limited!



© 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, July 28, 2012

Science of the Olympics: Sport Analysis Videos to Inspire Your Thoughts on Horses


Note: NBC Olympics videos have an annoying auto-play function so the videos have been moved off the blog. Please go to "Science of the Summer Olympics: Engineering In Sports", a 10-part video series produced in partnership with NBC Learn to view the videos described in this blog post.

Have you been staring at a television screen, immersed in the Olympics? Are you chewing your nails for the Swiss beach volleyball team or the Luxembourg table tennis team? Do you wonder if they ever really will get back to Greenwich Park and the equestrian events?

We get wrapped up in the competition of sports but the Olympics is a good time to remember that the same sport science that is used to advance horse sports and hoof science is also used on human athletes.

So whether you are Usain Bolt or Zenyatta, there's a professor at MIT who can dissect your stride. And the same terminology is used whether you're measuring the stride of a track star or a Thoroughbred.
   
How can we get BMW interested in horses? In order to maximize his performance in the decathalon, 2008 Olympic gold medalist Bryan Clay teamed up with engineers from BMW to improve measurement of the horizontal and vertical velocities of his long jumps.

Could the same long-jump technique be used to analyze how Kauto Star won the Cheltenham Gold Cup or how a rider like Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum's horse will clear the water jump at Greenwich Park this weekend?

While you're watching the Olympics, think about the fact that the emerging gait analysis and sport science we see used in horse sports is being applied to each and every one of those Olympic sports. In some aspects, horse sports have lead the way. In other aspects, horse sports have a lot of catching up to do.

So don't think for a minute that you're wasting time watching the Olympics. You're doing your homework, albeit on the subconscious level in many instances. Some creative thoughts about how horses move are sure to pop into your head a week or two from now, and you'll wonder where those thoughts originated.

Maybe you'll never see a horse on a balance beam, but when you think about the pressure to always improve the level of performance while not crossing the line to injury, you realize that all athletes have a lot in common, whether they're horse or human.

These two sample videos are part of "Science of the Summer Olympics: Engineering In Sports", a 10-part video series produced in partnership with NBC Learn. (You can watch them all online and if you're really interested or if you know a teacher who might be, there are lesson plans available to use these videos in the classroom. Just pretend the humans are horses.)

It's easy to order this colorful, award-winning image from Michigan State Equine Foot Lab
© 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 on 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, July 22, 2012

What a Farrier Sounds Like (When Horseowners Stop and Listen)

Horseowner, author, actress and comedian Pam Stone gets (somewhat) serious as she explains how something as simple as her horse losing a shoe can remind us of the people we depend on...and that how we communicate with them is what really matters. This was originally written for a daily newspaper, to be read by non-horsemen. Pam should add "storyteller" to her list of skills.



The panicked feeling of hitting a pothole while driving and seeing your hubcap bounce and roll through two lanes of oncoming traffic is not unlike being in the saddle, feeling your horse trip, hearing a metallic “clunk,” and leaning over, just in time to see a horseshoe flip through the air and land somewhere in the tall grass.

Those suckers cost $35 each and you make a mental note of where it is to retrieve it, on foot, after you get back to the barn.

Last Monday, this is what happened to me and I sent a text to my farrier (that’s “horseshoer” to all you high-falutin’ city folk who don’t have to change your sweat soaked T-shirt twice a day at your job) that same evening, reading: “Lost r f shoe” (lost right fore shoe).

Within minutes came my reply, the only reply one will ever hear from a farrier in such a situation.

“Do u have the shoe?”

“I no where it is. I heard it clunk.”

To this, he quickly texted back: “U r beginning to sound like a farrier.”

“No,” I retorted, typing feverishly and venting at the same time. “Farriers say things like, ‘I’ll be there tomorrow at 9am’ but neglect to tell you they’re speaking in farrier years, which are much longer than dog’s.”

My fingers began to cramp but I knew my point was taken when he succinctly replied,
“See you 2morrow pm.”

In conversation
Conversation isn't always easy. You have to really listen, sometimes.

2morrow pm arrived on the heels of an enormous storm that blew up, out of nowhere, immediately following lunch. I was clearing away the countertop of bread crumbs when a sudden crack sizzled through the sky followed by a cymbal crash of thunder. Having noted the sky was beginning to fill with the odd thunderhead and hour earlier, I had brought the horses (and donk) out of the fields and into the barn.

Now, with the wind beginning to howl and the tree tops bending at impossible degrees, I ran like a madwoman the short distance to my horses to pull close the sliding barn doors and close the windows. Hail was pelting down as I made my dash back to the house.

My phone dinged and a text appeared.

“B there in 5 min.”

I gave a snort of laughter. Sean loves a good joke.

“Yeah, right,” I wrote back. “Where are u?”

“2 min closer than I was,” he replied. “I can barely see ur road”

“Go home!” my fingers barked. “2 dangerous! Lightning everywhere!”

“Do u have the shoe?”

“Hell, no, I don’t have the shoe! I’m not going to run through the field with a metal shoe!”

“Pulling in now.”

And he was. I couldn’t believe it. Coming down my drive I could make out his huge Dodge and farrier’s trailer, containing forge, propane, tools, pulling up to the front of the barn.

I threw on enough gear to rival the Gorton’s Fisherman and ducking for cover, ran blindly through the orchard, lightning exploding somewhere behind in the woods and saw Sean, bent calmly over Tino’s front right leg, filing the hoof.

“You know, there’s no lightning rod on this barn, Captain Propane,” I informed him, pulling the door behind me.

“Aw, I’ll be all right,” he said between a mouthful of horseshoe nails. “So what did you think about the Supreme Court ruling?”

Because that’s the kind of relationship we have. Sean’s a Republican, I’m a Democrat and, while sitting on a bale of hay, holding my horse, the skies exploding above us, we crack jokes, talk about health care, gossip, and ask about our respective families.

“How’s that baby of yours?” I ask. “Is he driving yet?”

“Teething,” he said. “So no sleep for any of us. Once I’m done here, I got two more barns to go to, then I gotta swing by the store and get home to do my share so my wife can have a break.”

I smiled and nodded knowingly.

Because that’s what sounds like a farrier.

Pam Stone lives on her farm in South Carolina with countless horses, dogs, cats and one alarmingly territorial donkey. She is the author of “I Love Me A Turkey Butt Samwich.” Contact Pam at www.thesatisfiedlifenetwork.com.


Photo at top by the talented California photographer Eleanor Anderson. Horse and sheep conversing by Gillie.

Order your copy of this popular reference poster--or is it art? You decide!

© 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.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Auburn University: Ampututation and Prosthesis Create a Dolphin's Tale Story at Vet School Hospital for Miniature Donkey Foal


Emma, a miniature donkey foal, was just two days old when she arrived at Auburn University's John Thomas Vaughan Large Animal Teaching Hospital with a severe hind limb deformity, one that required amputation of the limb and the placement of a prosthesis.

Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine and the Hanger Clinic, formerly Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, have been working together since April on this case that could have implications in the treatment and rehabilitation of horses, donkeys and other equids with congenital deformities or injuries.

Dr. Fred Caldwell, an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences and equine surgeon, performed the amputation procedure, and is working with clinician Billy Fletcher from Hanger Clinic – the same company which made the prosthetic tail for Winter, the amputee dolphin and star of the film "Dolphin Tale" – to develop a prosthesis for her limb. The two worked out a plan to both allow Emma time to heal from the surgery and transition from her cast to the prosthesis.

Emma’s caregivers change her bandage and adjust her prosthesis regularly as healing of the surgical site continues.
Emma's fitting session for the new pink prosthesis that accommodates her growth.

"Billy was excited and enthusiastic to assist," Caldwell said. "Once we proceeded with the surgery and amputated the distal limb, he provided a small footplate to incorporate into the cast to even out the length of her hind limbs so she could bear weight until we could get the surgical site healed and have her fitted with a prosthesis. It has been a group effort on behalf of many caring individuals willing to go to great lengths to save her."

Emma's case is providing a unique and beneficial teaching opportunity for everyone involved. The practice of using prostheses with large equids is relatively uncommon because of their size and weight-bearing limitations.

But because Emma is a miniature donkey, she will be fairly small as an adult, weighing approximately 350 pounds when fully grown. This gave Caldwell and Fletcher hope for a positive prognosis and success in Emma's treatment.

Emma is now 11 weeks old and has been thriving with her prosthesis, making an impression on everyone who has worked with her.

A closer look at Emma’s first prosthetic device. As she grows, she could potentially transition through eight or nine variations of the prosthesis before reaching full growth.
An earlier version of Emma's prosthetic hind limb.

"She absolutely loved it from the get-go," Caldwell said. "It was a very impressive design and she did very well in it. She has progressed to the second iteration of her prosthesis, which doesn't incorporate as much of the limb and allows her more range of motion. She is getting stronger; she's growing and doing wonderfully."

Fletcher said that as Emma grows, she could potentially transition through eight or nine variations of the prosthesis before reaching her full size. At that point, she will be fitted with a piece that is more permanent.

The prosthesis is made of carbon fiber, Kevlar and fiberglass. These are materials that are strong and extremely light, and are the same materials used for prostheses for Paralympic athletes. The materials are also flexible and adjustable to allow for growth and progression in Emma's gait.

The first finished prosthesis weighed less than a pound; the most recent iteration, which is pink, is smaller, but weighs a little more to provide stability as she's grown taller and almost doubled her weight since surgery.

"The next step is trying to make sure we keep the prosthesis set up so she's ambulatory and she can run and play and do things uninhibited, but also, to keep the area of concern, the surgical site, offloaded so Dr. Caldwell can do his job in keeping her completely healed," Fletcher said.

A closer look at Emma’s first prosthetic device. As she grows, she could potentially transition through eight or nine variations of the prosthesis before reaching full growth.
Emma shows off her latest prosthesis. Notice how it cups the hock.
"As time goes by," he continued, "we'll continue to provide a prosthesis that's going to allow for growth. We want to provide her with full range of motion, but also give her the ability to use full strength. I think she's got that in her current set-up, so the big thing now is keeping everything offloaded so she heals completely; we'll continue to increase the size of the prosthesis as she grows."

Caldwell said he has learned a tremendous amount from the case and it has given him hope that in the future amputation and prosthesis could be a more feasible option for larger horse patients.

Story by Carol Nelson, Communications Editor at Auburn Univeristy


© 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.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Calgary Stampede Farriers: Steve Beane Victory Video and Official Re-Cap



The Calgary Stampede has provided a short video interview with British farrier Steven Beane, AWCF of Yorkshire, England. Steven won the World Championship Blacksmiths Competition at the Stampede last weekend for the fourth consecutive year.

Here's the official press release from the Stampede about the final day of the competition and the last Hoof Blog post on Calgary (for this year):


Steven Beane of Yorkshire, England won the Calgary Stampede farrier championship for the fourth year in a row. (Calgary Stampede photo)
In recent years, Steven Beane has established himself as a world-class farrier. And on Sunday afternoon under the Big Top, the anvil-basher from Northallerton, Yorkshire, England, further entrenched that reputation – emerging from a heated battle for his fourth consecutive win at the Calgary Stampede’s 33rd annual World Championship Blacksmiths’ Competition, presented by Mustad. Beane is just the third man to claim four straight crowns at the WCBC, known globally as the “Olympics of blacksmithing.”

“When you’re at the top, everyone’s pushing to get there, and everyone’s pushing you,” said Beane, 33. “Especially this year, with four former world champions in the top 10? A fantastic competition.

“It probably won’t sink in for a while, you know? I need to get back, get home, spend some time with my family. They haven’t seen a lot of me for a while.”

As winner of the 33rd annual WCBC, presented by Mustad, Beane takes home a $10,000 cheque, a limited-edition bronze trophy, a handtooled Stampede buckle, and a champion’s jacket, among other prizes. Grant Moon of Wales finished second, followed by third-place David Varini of Scotland, fellow Scotsman Derek Gardner in fourth, and France’s Yoann Policard in fifth.

Intriguingly, Moon is the only competitor to win a Calgary title five straight times, from 1988 through 1992. Canada’s Bob Marshall won the first four editions of the WCBC, from 1980 through ’83. Moon, who returned to the competitive blacksmith arena in 2008 after a decade-long absence, is impressed with Beane’s grace under fire.

“It’s extremely difficult to win this four times in a row. Steven’s almost certainly one of the best competitors that’s ever been,” said Moon, who’s won the WCBC a total of six times.

“I’m more than holding my own. I’d say I’m really happy with this result. A pretty good accomplishment today,” added the 50-year-old Moon. “I think Steven’s just a bit more hungry than I am. I just play at this. It’s my golf. I’m here to make up the numbers for the other guys.”

In all, 72 competitors from 14 different countries – England, Denmark, New Zealand, Scotland, Australia, Northern Ireland, Norway, France, Wales, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, the United States, and Canada – went at it hammer and anvil during the 33rd annual WCBC, presented by Mustad, through four intense days of competition under the Big Top, with more than $50,000 in cash and prizes at stake.

The final five were put through their paces all weekend under a sweltering Big Top, collecting points in 10 different classes including Sunday’s semifinal and final.

During Sunday morning’s semifinal, the 10 remaining modern-day Vulcans shoed the front feet of a light draft horse in 60 minutes. After a brief equipment break, the five finalists were right back at it, given another 60 minutes to shoe the hind feet of that same horse. This year’s judges, David Wilson Sr. of Scotland and Shayne Carter of the U.S., based their decisions on shoe forging, finish, and nail placement, as well as preparation and balance of the horses’ feet, using a blind judging process.

Beane did not author a runaway victory like he did in 2011, but shone in Sunday’s showdown.

“I was in third place heading into the semifinals (jumping to first overall heading into the final). I felt I was getting better through the week, but I knew this last day, the semifinal and final, was more geared toward my strengths,” he said. “And for the fourth year, now, I’ve had the same two-man (shoeing-class) partner in Derek Gardner, and he’s fantastic to work with.

“He’s so unselfish. Probably the most unselfish guy I know. When we practice together, we help each other, look at each other’s stuff. He would tell you everything to help you get better.”

England’s Darren Bazin, Denmark’s Henrik Berger, Sweden’s Jesper Eriksson, American Gene Lieser, and Paul Robinson of Northern Ireland participated in semifinals, but were eliminated in their quest to earn a spot in the final five.

Beane, Gardner, Varini, and Robinson emerged as the WCBC’s Four Man Team Draft Horseshoeing champions, splitting a prize pot of $8,000. Moon was named this year’s forging champion, Beane was hailed as shoeing champion, and Eriksson was tapped as the show’s rookie of the year; all three awards are worth $1,000.

“The scores at the top end, even the scores in the semifinal, were very close this year,” said Erik Swanby, who chairs the Stampede’s Blacksmiths committee. “And it was really cool to have so many past champions (six) as part of the Stampede’s Centennial.”
  

© 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 on 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, July 08, 2012

Calgary Stampede Farriers: Potluck Forging Class Showcases the "Art" of Shoeing Horses (And Why That Matters)


People throw around the term "the art and science of farriery" a lot. What does that mean?

Professional hoofcare requires that the farrier use both sides of his or her brain. While they have to learn the anatomy of the horse and the mechanics of the job, they also have to be able to "right brain" the creation, adjustment or placement of the shoe or appliance being attached to the foot.

I think it goes even further than that, and a good farrier is separated from the pack by the ability to "see" with his or her right brain what the foot should or would look like and understand the left-brain concepts of trimming adjustment and support mechanics required to get it there.

Another aspect is the often unconscious right-brain knowing what the foot will look like in a few weeks or a few months as it grows out from the way it has been trimmed or from the effects of what is being nailed or glued on. It seems obvious that a lot of horses' problems arise not from how the horse is shod initially, but how the foot reacts to that mechanical message over time, especially if a shoe that wasn't ideal on Day One is left on too long.

So there is an "art" to it but sometimes people outside the profession don't see the art in the job, since it is invisible, unspoken and almost impossible to teach or even articulate.

You probably can't measure it, either. No judge in a competition can develop a score sheet for it and you can't design a test for it.

Until, of course, you get a group of farriers together and you hand them simple bars of steel and tell them to make something. Blacksmithing skills tell them how to make something...but what part of their profession is showing them what is inside that piece of steel, wanting to come out?

I think that the "art" side of farriery is something that horses can immediately recognize, and appreciate. Maybe some horses have never experienced it. Maybe, for other horses, it is all they have ever known and they have the soundness to prove it. Still others, the high-end competition horses, depend on the art side of farriery to come to their rescue and keep them going, often after the "science" side has failed.

Stand back: watch the art side take over a group of farriers from around the world at the 2012 Calgary Stampede World Championship. Enjoy the show.

(Note the show has 50 or so photos of the farriers and then it may keep going to other unrelated subjects posted by the Stampede. Sorry about that!)

Click here for more information

© 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.

New Shoes: Calgary Stampede 2012 Farrier Slide Show


Love farrier competitions? Then enjoy these photos from the first day at the Calgary Stampede farrier events by Vicki Kaiser. These were the last photos she took before her backpack was stolen with her laptop, wallet, car keys and everything she needed for her trip.

Click on the full-screen button at the bottom right for a better view.

You'd probably enjoy Vicki's blog: Read about her tragic and costly trip to the Stampede, and her ability to look on the bright side of her unfortunate experience there.

Many thanks to Vicki, who is newly married to farrier Dillon Kaiser and lives in British Colombia. I'm hoping we can work together again soon--under less dramatic circumstances.

Click here to go to information page to order yours

© 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 on 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.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Calgary Stampede: Live Video Farrier Competition on the Hoof Blog



Here's the live video stream from the Calgary Stampede farrier competitions. When the farriers are competiting, it will be shown, otherwise it will be blank or you will see other agricultural events.

When posted on Saturday afternoon, the four-man draft competition was underway.

Enjoy!







© 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 on 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.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Friends at Work: Hoof-Related Road Call in Melbourne, Australia

Farrier changing horseshoes on Swanston Street

Now that's service. A street scene today in Melbourne, Australia showed a farrier performing a road repair for a carriage horse on Swanston Street in the city center.

Perhaps the carriage company has a fleet maintenance contract?


It looks like the farrier arrived on the motorcycle, which makes sense since Swanston Street is pretty much a pedestrian mall. Horse-drawn carriages, streetcars and bicycles are the vehicles of choice here.



The street is watched over by this wonderful metal sculpture of a horse, which swings in the wind.

Photo courtesy of Chef Alpha.


Click here to order this helpful, informative guide to the inner layers of the hoof wall from Drs Lancaster and Bowker via Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine'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.  


Follow Hoofcare + Lameness on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
Read this blog's headlines on 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.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Laminitis: Video Lecture on Metabolic Pathway for Hoof Blog Readers

Please allow sufficient time for this video to load.

Settle down...You needed to get out of the heat anyway. Take an hour to catch up on the latest information about laminitis, with a special emphasis on insulin resistance and Equine Metabolic Syndrome.
What this is: a one-hour video Powerpoint lecture by Dr. Don Walsh on the latest research and horse management information related to laminitis, primarily via the metabolic pathway common in pleasure horses. A preliminary explanation of the septis-related form of laminitis is provided to differentiate between the two main forms of the disease.
Thanks to EquiSearch.com and EQUUS magazine for hosting "Laminitis Lessons: A Webinar for Every Horse Owner" with The Animal Health Foundation's Don Walsh, DVM, and for making this video archive available to readers of The Hoof Blog.

Dr. Walsh
The Foundation is a leading funder of laminitis research and education around the world; it relies solely on donations from individual horse owners and horsecare professionals like you and me to fund research at Dr. Chris Pollitt's Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit as well as at leading veterinary colleges like Cornell University's equine genetics lab and the labs of private professional researchers like Katy Watts of safergrass.org.

It's not enough just to soak up the information shared in this webinar. It's not enough even to share this video and the information in it with horse owners or horsecare professionals. Please help by sharing information about the Animal Health Foundation, too and by supporting it with your donation--no matter how small--and encouraging others to do the same.

Without a doubt, horses who have laminitis--and horses who might be risk for laminitis--have benefited from the work of the Animal Health Foundation. Directly or indirectly, you have too. Please give back; the Animal Health Foundation will put your donation to work immediately.


Click on the "Donate Online Now" button to go to the Animal Health Foundation PayPal donation page and click on the "donate" button for PayPal. Donations are fully tax-deductible in the United States and may be submitted from any country, in any currency, via a number of credit cards, any time of the day or night. Thank you.

Donation checks may be sent to:
Animal Health Foundation   3615 Bassett Rd.   Pacific, MO 63069


Photo of Dr. Walsh by Julie Plaster. Thanks!

© 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 on 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.