Friday, December 17, 2004

Revolution in....hoofcare? (new book announcement)

"Revolution in Horsemanship" by RM Miller DVM and Rick Lamb is a great survey (almost scholarly, not quite) of natural horsemanship's impact on the horse world in the past 15 or so years.

I particularly recommend the chapter called "The Hoof Care Debate", which examines the popularity of shoeless horses and covers people like Strasser and Jackson (and even all the way back to Bracy Clark and Xenophon) on the barefoot side, plus Gene Ovnicek, Ric Redden, Rob Sigafoos, etc. Our magazine supplied photographs and some of the text (many of you will recognize the comments on horseshoe manufacturing during the Civil War).

It's odd, but the chapter on hoofcare is much more fleshed out than the chapters on health, nutrition, and alternative therapies. The section on horse whisperers of the past is fantastic, they really did some good research. They also gave some recognition to people whose role in natural horsemanship is often overlooked. It would have been easy to do this book as a chapter on John Lyons, a chapter on Monty Roberts, a chapter on Ray Hunt, etc. but it is not that at all. It is very thoughtfully put together.

A few years ago, there never would have been an entire chapter of a book like this on the ethics/philosophy of how hooves should be trimmed and/or shod. It is amazing what has come to pass in such a short time.

There are some long winter nights coming, this book would make you a wiser, more thoughtful horse person by spring. (Not a quick read, over 350 pages)

Specifics: soft cover, but high quality; black and white inside, fully indexed, glossary, bibliography, resources. Cost is $25 plus $6 post in USA, $15 post ROW.

Chapter titles: Natural Horsemanship, The Horse in Nature and Domestication, The Revolution Begins, The Revolution Continues, Why Now?, Why It Works and Why It's Better, Revolutions in Riding, The Cowboy Enigma: Rodeos and Ranches, Wild Horses: The Ultimate Test, It's Not Just About the Horses, Early Natural Horsemen, Whisperers, Tamers, and Professors, Revolutions in Bridling and Saddling, Other Training Concepts, Foal Training, The Hoof Care Debate, The Revolution in Equine Health Care, Equine Nutrition, Alternative Therapies, The Real Importance of Revolution.

Too bad it's a bit late for Christmas, this would have made a super gift!

--Fran Jurga

Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Sound Hoof: Manifesto of Natural Hoofcare Published by Michigan State researcher/farrier

Book Announcement

The Sound Hoof by Lisa Lancaster

Hoofcare and Lameness is pleased to announce the publication of THE SOUND HOOF: Horse Health from the Ground Up by Lisa Simons Lancaster PhD, foreword by Fran Jurga. $27 per book plus $5 post in USA, $12 air post r.o.w. Worldwide launch 1 October 2004. Soft cover. 126 pages, illustrations/photos, references, reading list, indexed. Focuses on current therapy and philosophies, both traditional mainstream and “natural” shoeing and barefoot care of horses. Author is a leading research team member in hoof physiology lab (Michigan State University), veterinary student, and a farrier.


  1. Holistic Hoofcare (Holistic practitioner, chronic condition issue, farrier’s role in holistic hoofcare, horseman’s role in holistic hoofcare)
  2. Hoof and Lower Leg Anatomy (terminology, anatomical structure)
  3. Reading the Hoof (evaluating soundness, understand balance, three-dimensional balance; great detailed discussion on Dave Duckett's balance system)
  4. Hoof Care Research and Theory (The nature of research, hoof deformation research, history of hoof deformation research, breakover, 4-pt trim and natural balance)
  5. To shoe or not to shoe (Balance, conformation, advantages of barefoot, disadvantages of barefoot, things to discuss with your farrier, dealing with pain)
  6. Laminitis and navicular (laminitis, what is laminitis, causes and mechanisms, metabolically based theories, how is laminitis diagnosed, horse do you know if your horse has laminitis, what to do if you suspect laminitis, prevention and treatment, navicular syndrome, clinical signs, diagnosing navicular, speculative mechanism and risk factors, relationship between inner and outer structures, prevention and treatment of heel pain, foam padding for heel pain, holistic approach)
  7. Sound management (support team, selecting a farrier, how to keep a farrier, doing your own trimming, safety, record keeping, scheduling, your horse’s health is in your hands)
  8. Action gallery (holistically-managed--mostly barefoot—sound horses in competition and recreation
  9. Forms, appendices, references, resources, index.

(Note this book has been endorsed by Henry Heymering with a resoundingly positive back cover review, and you know how hard that is to come by! He says, among other good things, “Much of the research on hooves from ancient to current times is explained with unmatched clarity. The more people read this book, the more sound horses there will be.”)

PUBLICATION DATE: 1 October 2004, shipping NOW.

Note: Many of you read Lisa’s insightful article about her role assisting Dr Robert Bowker in hoof research projects at the Michigan State University’s “Equine Hoof Laboratory” in Hoofcare #78.

Kuwaiti Hooves Needs Help!

We've received a request from an associate in Kuwait that an experienced hoof expert is needed there to work on horses. If you are interested and available, please contact Hoofcare & Lameness for more details.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Michigan State Honors H&L's Bowker and Lancaster, Contributing Editor and Author, Respectively

Robert Bowker and Lisa Simons Lancaster
Dr. Robert Bowker and Michigan State student Lisa Lancaster have both received awards from Michigan State University. (Fran Jurga photo)

Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine recently conferred honors on two leading contributors to Hoofcare & Lameness.

First, Robert Bowker DVM PhD, associate professor of pathobiology and diagnostic investigation at MSU, received the Carl J Norden Distinguished Teacher Award.

Then, third-year veterinary student Lisa Simons Lancaster, MSc, PhD received the university's award for best oral presentation by a veterinary student for her lecture "Laminar Density Variation in the Equine Foot".

Lisa is a researcher in Bowker's Equine Foot Laboratory at Michigan State. She collaborated with Bowker on the research, which was featured in Hoofcare & Lameness Issue #78.

Lisa is also the author of The Sound Hoof, a new book sold by Hoofcare Publishing.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Hoof and Leg Problems Are #1 Priority for Research, According to Indiana Horse Owners

A recent survey from the Indiana Agricultural Statistics Service showed that horse owners from all segments of the horse industry in that state consider problems in horses’ hooves and legs to be their top priority for future equine research.

Leg or hoof problems were rated #1 by all types of operations, and breaks down to the following percentages:

• 57 percent of trail and recreational horse operations
• 59 percent of show operations
• 63 percent of racing operations
• 65 percent of working farm operations.

Injuries from wounds or trauma, neurological disorders, and obesity were other conditions related to legs and hooves that concerned owners to some extent. Colic, respiratory disease, and infectious diseases were second or third priorities in most industry segments.

However, no other health concern rated higher than hoof and lameness problems in any of the horse ownership segments.

(Information courtesy of the Indiana Horse Council)

IVAN Floods Threaten Horses in Texas: What Would YOU Do?

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, by David Templeton:

Floodwaters at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Chartiers inundated stables along the fairgrounds' racetrack, and horse owners who rent the stables had to release their Standardbred horses when fast-rising water rose stomach-high on the horses in the stalls.

"It was the heroic efforts by a couple of people to get them released," Wayne Hite, a horse owner and trainer, said, referring to Janis McGhee and Joe Behanna. "Those are real heroes there. They were up to their chins in water releasing these animals."

Water flowing swiftly into each end of the stables and exiting through the middle door created the effect of a raging river. Two released horses got caught atop concrete barriers and will be lost for the rest of the racing season, if not permanently, with significant leg injuries.

The four stables -- Hite Racing Stables, Bruce McGhee Stables, Sharon Donella Stables and Joe Behanna Stables -- lost tack, 12 jogging carts, six racing bikes or sulkies, helmets, racing colors, a Ford Explorer, a Ford Excursion, a track-maintenance truck, medications, a $54,000 horse spa, farrier equipment and grain and hay. The flood also damaged horse trailers. The loss will exceed $100,000 and could reach $200,000, said Trudy Hite of Somerset Township.

"Everything is gone, and it will take years to rebuild," she said.

Because the fairgrounds' track was destroyed, the county will have to rebuild it.

Clydesdale shoeing in Scotland: Is "couping" a welfare concern or standard practice?

A computer-based horseshoeing evaluation test will compare the gait and characteristics of a Clydesdale horse before and after shoeing with traditional (and controversial) Scottish techniques for the hind limbs.

The 2004 International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) Scottish Equine Welfare Seminar has tapped the team behind the new Equinalysis gait and shoeing evaluation system to test the horse.

According to team leader Haydn Price, DipWCF, the test horse has already been shod with its traditional shoes. To begin the test, the horse’s shoes will be removed, and the horse will be evaluated barefoot. The shoes will then be nailed back on, and the horse will be evaluated again. Finally, the horse will be shod with full-coverage shoes, and the results of the three tests compared.

Equinalysis is a system of using video-based computer software to track the movement of joint markers as a horse is walked before cameras recording from different angles. The resulting reports compare stride length, knee action, hock action, straightness, etc. and are helpful in showing the effects of trimming and shoeing on the horse's movement. The system was used to help fine-tune shoeing alterations on horses competing for the United Kingdom at the recent Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

What is couping?  

“Couping” is the name given the practice of nailing on hind shoes that do not cover the horse’s inside heel area. Shaped like a sickle, the shoe has a protruding lateral calk and exaggerated quarter. These shoes have reportedly been used in Scotland for centuries to help Clydesdales with their work, such as navigating narrow rows of crops.

In the show horse world, couping is used to present horses in-hand with hocks that touch; this is a desired conformation in the breed. With the help of the shoes, an optical illusion is created: the hind legs appear as one limb.

How does couping affect the horse?  

While the technique appears to intentionally imbalance the horse, its proponents point out that it is designed for the horse that works in soft ground, where the outside calk is helpful. They also point to the overall soundness of horses shod in this way.

Critics point out that the horses stand on hard-floored stables and must be transported to shows on solid floors.

Comparative testing of couped and normally-shod horses  

Price pointed out to Hoofcare & Lameness that while the shoe itself is a radical instrument of imbalance, the hoof is generally prepared according to normal balance parameters, so the test horse can be legitimately tested barefoot, and shod in two different ways without having to re-dress the foot. Noted Clydesdale farrier James Balfour, AWCF of Dundee, Scotland is preparing the test horse.

The modern Clydesdale horse has been intentionally bred for characteristics that make it look quite different from this ideal stallion painted in 1820 by artist John Herring. Long legs were not an advantage to a horse working on rough ground in Scotland in the 1800s.

Welfare implications of couping  

Welfare advocates and the Scottish parliament became concerned about couping a few years ago, when a farrier blew the whistle on the practice and called for its elimination. As a result, the Clydesdale Horse Society worked with master farrier David Wilson, FWCF, BEM and published revised guidelines for hoof balance and shoe coverage, but couping itself was not outlawed.

(See "Cruelty Charged in Scottish Clydesdale Shoeing" published in  the print edition of Hoofcare and Lameness 74.)  

In the United States and Canada, single-calked three-quarter shoes are in widespread use for the hind feet of show draft horses. There are no known regulations on how draft horses may be shod for shows and no known public complaints of abuse in the United States. The terminology of "couping" is not generally used in the United States to describe this type of shoeing.

More on couping  

Couping was a topic often mentioned by speakers at the March 2003 “Heavy Horse Hoofcare” conference at Tufts University College of Veterinary Medicine, sponsored by Hoofcare & Lameness Journal, particularly by British speaker Roger Clark, FWCF(Hons).

Roger Clark, FWCF(Hons) (left) with Disney World heavy horse farrier Gary Wade at the Tufts Vet School conference on heavy horse shoeing.

More coverage of couping and follow-up of the Scottish Equinalysis test will be published in issue #79 of Hoofcare & Lameness Journal.

Equinalysis was recently introduced in the US at a seminar at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky and was featured in issue 78 of Hoofcare & Lameness Journal, in respect to hock displacement in dressage horses.

Top photo: Clydesdale shoeing competition at the Royal Highland Show, Scotland, by David McCrone, used with permission.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

AAEP Convention Schedule Announced: Highlights Related to Lameness

The schedule for the 2004 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention arrived at the office yesterday. The convention will be held December 4-8 in Denver, Colorado, and of course, Hoofcare & Lameness will be there with a double booth this time in the huge trade show.

Here are a few highlights from the schedule that may interest Hoofcare & Lameness readers.

Friday 12/3 Foot Surgery wet lab with Kent Carter, Bill Moyer, and Robin Dabareiner--the Texas A&M hoof surgery team--or Advanced Ultrasound with Jean-Marie Denoix, Norm Rantanen, Ron Genovese, and others.

Saturday 12/4 1-3 pm "Veterinarian-Farrier Relations Committee" is listed; I don't know if this is an open meeting or not. Stacey and I will be there setting up the booth that day (helpers welcome!).

Sunday 12/5 10 a.m. Larry Bramlage presents the "Kester News Hour". This is always fun--a rapid-fire review of veterinary developments over the past year, with some humor thrown in.

Sunday 12/5 NOON--Bill Moyer and our farrier friend Bob Pethick will host a lunchtime "table topic" on therapeutic shoeing. Should be great! Also at the same time: Cushings Disease and Hind Limb Lameness.

Monday 12/6--get up before dawn (or just stay up) for sunrise sessions on foot lameness, gaited horse lameness, racehorse lameness, laminitis, western performance horse lameness, and a lot more by presenters such as Bill Moyer, Tracy Turner, Scott Bennett, Scott Morrison, Steve O'Grady, Jay Merriam, Rick Mitchell, Reynolds Cowles, Kent Carter, Terry Swanson, Jerry Black and many more. You must reserve in advance!

Monday 12/6 1:30 I am looking forward to a group of presentations under the heading "The Unwanted Horse"..but unfortunately at the same time are "how-to" sessions with Tracy Turner, Steve O'Grady and Kevin Keegan on saddle fitting, canker, and head/pelvis movement evaluation in lameness diagnosis, respectively. I won't miss those three, but hope to see some of the welfare presentations, too!

Tuesday 12/7 The sports medicine session starts at 8 a.m. with one of our consulting editors, Sue Dyson, presenting "Collateral Desmitis of the Distal Interphalangeal Joint in 62 Horses". This is a great topic on what I think will be a new BUZZ in our industry. (Read Jean-Marie Denoix's article "Collateral Ligaments of the Distal Interphalangeal Joint: Anatomy, Roles, and Lesions" in Hoofcare #70 for more on this subject.)

Tuesday 12/7 At the same time Sue is presenting, there will also be an imaging panel in progress, with Jean-Marie Denoix, Rick Mitchell, Kent Carter, etc.

Tuesday 12/7 Lameness Program begins at 1:30 (unfortunately overlapping with the tearing down of the trade show! Helpers welcome!) with EIGHT interesting lectures including Sue Dyson again, this time of a VERY HOT TOPIC: "Is there an association between distal phalanx angles and deep digital flexor tendon lesions"? My guess is that she will be comparing lateral radiographs showing P-3 angle with MRIs of the same foot showing tendon lesions in the navicular area. This should be worthwhile. Robin Dabareiner (navicular bursa medication results), Scott McClure (shock waver therapy for navicular disease) and lots more in that special section of the convention.

Tuesday 12/7 Yes, at the same time, there are medical presentations on Cushings syndrome and thyriod dysfunction, plus Jim Belknap on using COX-2 inhibitors in developmental stages of laminitis.

Wednesday 12/8 A terrific program on sacroiliac lameness with Sue Dyson as moderator; speakers include Cornell's Kevin Haussler, Dan Marks, Jean-Marie Denoix.

Wednesday 12/8 NOON Table topics on shock wave therapy and a great one on treating sore backs with Dan Marks and Midge Leitch.

Wednesday 12/8 1:30 pm Hooray! The Hoof! Rood & Riddle's Scott Morrison (see article in our current issue on maggot debridement therapy) and our old friend (and the only farrier on the program) Bob Pethick from New Jersey will do an afternoon program on farriery, with live horses. In the surgery program that afternoon, Robin Dabareiner will speak on heel bulb lacerations and the UK's Andy Bathe will speak about medial patellar desmotomy cases.


Those are just some of the highlights. Also, I don't know what the AAEP's policy is about non-veterinarians attending, so if you are not a veterinarian, you may want to register in advance to avoid late fees on top of non-member rates.

Hotels:The Marriott City Center is the HQ hotel, but the Holiday Inn is much closer to the convention center and $50 less per night. Hoofcare rooms will be at the Holiday Inn.
At the trade show: Visit the Hoofcare & Lameness booth and learn about the exciting new "in the field" (literally, sometimes) gait analysis system from the UK "Equinalysis", plus new lameness-related or farriery products from St Croix Forge, Harmany Equine, Eponaire, Grand Meadows, and The Smart Boot.

PLUS socialize at our booth during book signing events with Joyce Harman (The Horse's Pain-Free Back and Saddle Fitting Book), Hilary Clayton (The Dynamic Horse) and Doug Butler (Principles of Horseshoeing III), to name a few.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

2005 International Laminitis Conference Returns to Palm Beach

Palm Beach laminitis conference

Block your calendar now! On the first weekend in November 2005 (next year), the 3rd International Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot will be held at the Palm Beach Convention Center in Palm Beach, Florida.

Organized by Dr Jim Orsini of the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center and a committee that includes laminitis researchers David Hood and Chris Pollitt--along with experts like Rob Boswell of Palm Beach Equine Clinic and farrier Rob Sigafoos of New Bolton Center--the conference is well into the planning stages, with two days of lectures and scientific programs and a full day of collaborative practical sessions. A special program for horseowners will be included as well.

Information will be available in Hoofcare & Lameness Journal.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Dozens of Horses Killed in Indiana Trailer Crash

Please visit the sites below, if you can handle very graphic images of horses in distress.

I will write about this horrific event at some point. I'm not quite ready yet, but I wanted to alert everyone to it so you can read about it and make your own judgements. I am sure you will be hearing a lot about this.

The photos speak for themselves. I think we all need to speak for the horses.

This week's visitor is from Argentina!

We've had the pleasure of a visit from Dr Federico Oyuela this month. Federico is a foot-specialist veterinarian in Buenos Aires, Argentina and runs the farrier school (Escuela Argentina de Herradores) there.

One of his areas of interest is working with the only hyperbaeric oxygen chamber in Argentina. We have been discussing the use of this type of therapy for horses with laminitis, and I hope he will soon have some research to share. I know that the Alamo Pintado equine hospital in California also uses their hyperbaeric unit for laminitis therapy.

Federico visited veterinary colleges in the eastern USA, as well as the Kesmarc equine therapy center in Lexington, KY and our friend Dr Scott Morrison at the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington.

Federico is both a veterinarian and a farrier; he attended the farrier school at Tucumcari, New Mexico where he learned from Jim Keith, and then went on to do specialty training in Arizona with Dr Jan Young.

Congratulations to Farrier Lee Liles

The once-grand water wheel that powered the Burden Water Works in Troy, New York and made the horseshoes often credited with powering the Union to victory during the Civil War.
In August, I saw something I thought I would never see. A group of us--about 70, including guests--were visiting the Burden Iron Works in Troy, New York--the first subscriber group tour for Hoofcare & Lameness in more than 10 years! (The last one was a group trip to England, and I think it took ten years to recover.)

OLYMPIC FOOTING: Controversy underhoof at the Athens Olympics Games

It's either too hard or too soft. Too dry or too wet. Anyone who has ever worked in show management knows the importance of good footing, particularly for outdoor show jumping.

P3: Doug Butler's New "Principles of Horseshoeing" textbook edition

P3 Principles of Horseshoeing new edition Butler

This weekend, Hoofcare had a booth at the Southern New England Farriers Association's fall clinic in Connecticut, where I ran into Dr Doug Butler. He has completed a revision and re-design of his textbook, the third incarnation of PRINCIPLES OF HORSESHOEING, nickname "P3". His son, Jacob, is listed as co-author, which is nice.

The book is handsome and heavy and full of photos. It is a major revision of "P2", which has become the standard textbook used in horseshoeing schools around the world and as a reference by farriers.

We hope to work with the Butlers and market this book through Hoofcare & Lameness. Check with Hoofcare in October or November to see if this happened.

Hoofcare and Lameness Issue 78 table of contents

Hoofcare & Lameness, Journal of Equine Foot Science, Issue #78, was mailed in August 2004.

Here's the table of contents for the new issue:

17 THE FOOT LAB: Inside Dr. Robert Bowker's Equine Foot Laboratory at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine: The Lab that Looks Inside Horses’ Hooves 
By Lisa Simons Lancaster
The Farrier in the Laboratory • Density of Hoof Wall Tubules • The Role of the Sole • 500 Laminae and Counting • Sole Plane Excavation in the Field


28 Maggot Debridement Therapy 
by Fran Jurga with Scott Morrison
32 The Footing Factor 
with Bob Pethick
33 Three-Quarter Heart Bar Shoe
by John Ford
36 Effect of Moisture on Hoof Wall Structure 
by Mark Andrews
38 Hoof Wall Resection and Reconstruction
by Andrew Poynton
40 Hock Displacement: Lateral Extension Shoes 
with Haydn Price
44 Successful Dressage Sport Horse Farriery with Haydn Price through Media-Based Mechanics
by Seamour Rathore
48 Studying the Hind Limb and Hock
by Hilary Clayton
50 Flying Saucers and Rock ‘n Roll: Full Rolling Motion Shoes 
by Hans Castilijns
58 My First Competition : Everyone had to start somewhere
by Edward Martin

5 Hoofcare World News
54 Selected Sound Bites
61 Continuing Education Events
64 Contributors

Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is born!

From Fran Jurga, editor/publisher of Hoofcare & Lameness Journal 

15 September 2004

This day won't be remembered for the launch of this blog. Instead, it will be remembered for Hurricane Ivan (the Terrible?) and his imminent attack on the shores of Mississippi and Alabama. I've heard from a few Hoofcare & Lameness readers tonight who live in the storm's path, and I'll thinking of them in the next few days.

I will use this blog to help readers of Hoofcare & Lameness Journal get the inside track on news and information as it whizzes through our offices. I know that subscribers are keen to know many details of things going on in the horse health and horseshoeing world that may not make it to the "news" section of our journal, or even to a news item posted on our web site,

What will appear may be just fragments of news, ideas for stories in progress, or pleas for help.

Of course, I've never done this before, but I think the best thing to do is just jump in and see how it works, how readers like it, and what good use we can make of this fun medium.

Please don't take it TOO seriously. As with all things here at Hoofcare & Lameness, we ask that you consider the possibility of errors and not mistake the information posted here as professional or medical advice. The information posted here is not meant for re-publication and may not be copied or posted elsewhere without the express written permission of Hoofcare Publishing.

Art at top: Swiss artist Arnold Bocklin's "Centaur in the Village Blacksmith's Shop" was painted in 1888. © Museum Of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary, used with permission.