Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital opens doors for International Equine Podiatry Conference April 18-20, 2024


Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky will host the third International Equine Podiatry Conference.


The doors to the forge are always open at the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. Someone is always going in or out, and the equine podiatry clinic is a favorite stop on every hospital tour. But from April 18-20 this year, the doors will open even wider to welcome attendees to the hospital's third International Podiatry Conference. 

Attendees should expect to roll up their sleeves, don their aprons, and spend two days in a stimulating state-of-the-art treatment and diagnosis center where the highly-trained staff looks expertly -- and exclusively -- at the equine hoof. A registration at this conference guarantees that the motivated participants can--and will--get their hands dirty and their questions answered.

The hospital has just announced key information about this year's conference so attendees can now reserve their places. The event returns to the main hospital campus this year, and expands its program to complement lectures by leading authorities on laminitis and hoof biomechanics with an extensive menu of "hands on" learning and sharing experiences ranging from traditional blacksmithing skills to the most advanced imaging and methods of shoe applications.

The 2024 guest speakers ensure the "international" part of the event's name. Between them, they circle the globe, and will bring a mix of accents to the stage in the hospital's well-appointed conference center.

Dr. Jenny Hagen

Dr Jenny Hagen of Germany
Dr habil med vet Jenny Hagen has been associated with the University of Leipzig in Germany for many years, and is the author on 16 peer-reviewed papers, with ten as lead author focusing on the biomechanics of the foot and the specific function of therapeutic shoe designs. Her research often includes not just the weightbearing and breakover aspects of shoe designs, but also compares how their function alters in hard or soft footing.

Dr Hagen earned the "habilitation" in veterinary medicine while at the University of Leipzig; it is the highest degree attainable in Germany. It is earned by fulfilling the university's set criteria of excellence in research, teaching, and further education, and usually includes a dissertation, as well as a public oral defense of the research; it is often a qualification for full professorship in those countries.

In her independent work, Dr Hagen is a widely traveled lecturer and has been a leader in collaborating with farrier authors in her work. Given her involvement in the widely known 3D hoof anatomy software program, you could say that she is the original "Hoof Explorer", along with her colleagues at Leipzig and the 3D engineers who transformed traditional hoof anatomy diagrams into accurate and colorful learning tools.

In addition, Dr Hagen will have two demonstration times for exploring the relationship between gait quality, hoof conformation, body posture, and the role of the proximal locomotor system (neck, back, pelvis) on Friday and gait analysis and management of uneven feet on Saturday. Both will use demo horses to illustrate principles from her lectures that precede the demonstrations.

Dr Andrew van Eps


Andrew van Eps, BVSc, PhD, MACVSc, DACVIM, the Dean W. Richardson Endowed Chair of Equine Disease Research.
From the other side of the world, via PennVet's New Bolton Center, comes Australia's Andrew van Eps, BVSc, PhD, MACVSc, DACVIM, the Dean W. Richardson Endowed Chair of Equine Disease Research. His van Eps Laminitis and Endocrinology Laboratory at New Bolton Center is focused on understanding the key events that drive laminitis under different circumstances in order to develop reliable means of prevention and treatment.  

Dr van Eps's research covers the gamut of laminitis pathogenesis and includes both laboratory and clinical studies. He is acknowledged as the pioneer of the role that continuous digital hypothermia ("icing the feet") can play in laminitis prevention and also has studied many aspects of both endocrine-related laminitis and support-limb laminitis, as well. Dr. van Eps earned his doctorate in laminitis research as a protege of Professor Chris Pollitt at the University of Queensland.

His frank "Aussie-style" attitude toward the challenges of preventing and treating laminitis on a case by case basis will be refreshing for attendees, many of whom share his dedication to helping horses with the disease, and he will interface with colleagues on the Rood & Riddle podiatry staff who face perhaps the largest caseload of Bluegrass clients and international referrals of laminitic horses of any equine hospital in the world.

Rood & Riddle podiatry veterinarians


Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital veterinary podiatry veterinarians Dr. Scott Morrison, Dr. Scott Fleming, and Dr. Craig Lesser
Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital veterinary podiatry veterinarians Dr. Scott Morrison, Dr. Scott Fleming, and Dr. Craig Lesser.

The Rood & Riddle veterinary podiatrists will take the podium to share their deep expertise and caseload experiences in topics like management of hoof capsule injuries (traumatic avulsions, lacerations, puncture wounds, and cracks) (Dr Scott Morrison), shoeing for hoof morphology (Dr Scott Fleming), and chronic abscesses (Dr Craig Lesser).

On both Friday and Saturday afternoons, the conference plans wide-ranging, in-depth learning and sharing experiences, which are explained in the conference agenda by topic and facilitator. 

Options in hands-on experience 

Attendees will reserve their choices of experiences from these subjects, hosted by Rood & Riddle podiatry staff: 
  • Welding - Fabrication for Therapeutic Shoeing Applications
  • Performance and Interpretations of Venograms
  • Hoof Mapping
  • Forging Shoe Modification
  • Glue On Shoe Modification
  • Glue On Shoes – Preparation and Application
  • Knife Sharpening
  • Rocker Shoe Application
  • Surgical Approaches
  • Hoof Cracks
  • Ultrasound

The attendees will be treated to much wider views than just the speakers on stage. A welcome reception on Thursday evening will be hosted by Soft Ride boots. Friday night attendees will travel a few miles to an event at the lovely historic Spindletop Hall with its sweeping (and appropriate) horseshoe staircase, and Saturday morning attendees can enjoy the ultimate springtime-in-Kentucky rite of passage, an early morning at nearby Keeneland Racecourse to enjoy the morning track workouts. 

• • • • •

Most forge doors creak. Some are falling off their hinges. That is because, traditionally, forge doors were left open. Was it for ventilation or has the idea been, from the beginning of time, to let the public peek in and observe the horses being shod, and the hard work being done so expertly?

At Rood & Riddle, the well-oiled steel doors are always in motion, opening and closing countless times each day, as horses, veterinarians, farriers, and clients come and go. Few hospitals are as busy or as generous with their open-door policy in a place where work must be done with the highest attention paid to the horse's needs. But often, everyone is busy going about their work, heading out to farms or airports, or fabricating the shoes, braces, and devices needed for every imaginable hoof problem known to horses. Shoes custom-fabricated in the clinic's sophisticated milling shop may be customized for a horse down the road or across the world.

For two days in April, 60 fortunate attendees will be not just attending a conference but also working in and around the actual clinic,  taking home exposure to new ideas, tools, and procedures, while also forging new relationships with professional colleagues.

They will feel right at home here where the very newest ideas and products mix surprisingly well with the traditions preserved in collected pieces beautifully displayed in a growing museum display showcasing the history of equine podiatry. 

Inside the walls of this unique must-see combination of ultra-modern forge and treatment center, more history is being made every day. This conference is a special opportunity to be part of it all.

A link to the full schedule will be added.

A look back...

Some photos from cases treated during the first Rood & Riddle International Equine Podiatry Conference in 2019; an informal album.





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Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Horseshoer Joe Alfano celebrates 50 years of service with Pennsylvania National Horse Show Hall of Fame honor.

Joe Alfano has been the horseshoer at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg for 50 years. The horse show honored him this year by inducting him in the event's Hall of Fame. Joe is shown here with his niece (left), well-known equestrian Jennifer Alfano, and PNHS Executive Director Susie Shirk. (Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography)

How do you top reaching the landmark of 50 years of farrier service at one of America's most prestigious horse shows? Joe Alfano knows the answer to that question.

And he might be the only one who knows. It's hard to imagine that anyone else holds such a record for longevity of service to a show.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Shire horses inspected for controversial “couping” horseshoe practice at British horse shows in 2023


Shire horse couping shoe inspection by Grant Moon
At England’s Staffordshire County Show earlier this month, British farrier Grant Moon, FWCF represented the Worshipful Company of Farriers in an inspection of Shire Horses entered to show. This is one of the hind feet he inspected. (Photo courtesy of Grant Moon)


The feathery hooves of Britain’s magnificent Shire horses are receiving close scrutiny in 2023, as the breed society addresses possible welfare impacts of shoeing practices on the feet of show horses exhibited for conformation.

At England's recent Staffordshire County Show, held May 31-June 1,  the Shires’ hooves were inspected by British farrier Grant Moon, FWCF,  acting as a representative of the Worshipful Company of Farriers. 

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Hoof bruises 101: Forte's Kentucky Derby scratch had a common but loosely-defined cause

Shoeing for the Roses (Kentucky Derby)

On Saturday, the 2023 Kentucky Derby favorite was scratched from the big race, just hours before the horses headed to the starting gate. Two-year-old champion Forte stayed in the barn that afternoon, after a Kentucky Horse Racing Commission veterinarian scratched the colt following a post-gallop inspection in the stable area.

foot bruises in the horse
Forte’s scratch by regulators came at a time when a dark cloud already hung over Churchill Downs. He would be the fifth horse to be scratched that week from the roster of three-year-old colts who had qualified for the 2023 Kentucky Derby. By Derby time, seven horses had lost their lives at Churchill Downs, including two as a result of injuries suffered in undercard races on Derby Day itself.

As tragic as those losses were, it was Forte's scratch that attracted the most attention and discussion on Derby Day. Should he have run or not? Was the colt a victim of discrimination by regulators who feared that such a high-profile and valuable horse might be further injured if he raced? We'll never know that answer, but Forte is safe tonight, and will almost certainly run again.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Meet University of California at Davis new veterinary hospital farrier Ian Davies



Ian Davies, DipWCF is hard at work in his new job.

The British-born and British-educated farrier has joined the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in Davis, California. The vet school welcomed Ian to his new position yesterday.

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Research Supports Compression Treatment System Ability to Relieve Horses’ Painful Swollen Limbs




Human patients use them--why not horses? Therapy devices don't always translate for parallel use between humans and horses, but a system developed at a US veterinary college may bring relief for horses suffering from swollen limbs and lymphedema. And it can do on all four legs at once.