Sunday, June 25, 2006

Dressage Direct is free for a week

If you ever wonder where Hoofcare & Lameness or the Hoof Blog comes up with the news, here's the secret: we have friends. Good friends! Good friends all over the world. Good friends who just happen to also be good journalists and are in touch with the horse world and/or the horse health and farrier scenes.

Particular among these friends are people like Mark Andrews, publisher of Equine Science Update (please subscribe: or Bernard Duvernay, aka "The Flying Anvil" who is back and forth between his houseboat on Lake Geneva in Switzerland and the farthest corners of Asia and the Middle East (

And those are just two! Their web sites are both worth a visit.

Another good friend is Claartje van Andel , publisher of the Dressage Direct news service. Even if you are not into dressage, her news service is a clear window into the top levels of performance and breeding in Europe (and sometimes other places). Claartje was one of only two (or three?) journalists allowed to attend the FEI conference on rollkur, and her insights are very valuable to absorb. She does NOT just report on who won, but more on how they won. And what it means. She also is very careful about telling you the breeding of the horses. She might be a little prejudiced to the KWPN and the Dutch riders, but that's her business!

Claartje is very generously offering her news service for FREE for one week; with WEG coming up in Aachen in August, a subscription to Dresage Direct will give you a front row seat with a knowledgeable friend next to you to explain what is going on. I know I will count on her, as always. You can too!

To receive Dressage Direct for a free week, send a mail to with your name and email address. Please tell her I sent you! The web site is

Thanks to everyone who helps us, it is very much appreciated. We are not alone out there!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Hendra Virus Resurfaces in Australia; Vet Exposed to Potentially Fatal Disease

This just in from Oz, courtesy of,10117,19578115-29277,00.html

A VIRUS fatal to both horses and humans has been found in southeast Queensland.

It has been confirmed by the Department of Primary Industries that a single affected horse has died from the Hendra virus at Peachester, near Beerwah.

"The property on which the horse was kept has been quarantined," primary industries minister Tim Mulherin said.

The diseased horse had been in contact with one other horse and two people, including Peachester veterinarian Rebecca Day.

The virus was first discovered 12 years ago in the Brisbane suburb of Hendra, when well-known horse trainer Vic Rail and 13 horses died of the disease.

One other person has died after acquiring the virus in 1995. This is the sixth separate occurrence of the Hendra since 1994.

Fruit bats are a natural host for the virus and horses are thought to be infected by eating virus-contaminated material.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Newmarket Horse Park? London 2012 Olympics May Build an Equine Hospital to Serve Equestrian Sports

There's more to the Olympics than meets the flame. According to reports in today's UK newspapers, funds may be available in England for the 2012 Olympics that would fund the building of a world-class equestrian sports park, and the race-y town of Newmarket wants first dibs on the available cash.

Among the cash expenditures would be a new equine hospital to service horses competing in the games.

No tongue in the cheek, honest! If you have ever been to Newmarket, you know that the town has almost as many veterinarians as horses. Among the world-renowned institutions already in town are the esteemed Animal Health Trust, where Hoofcare consulting editor Sue Dyson works on equine orthopedics with researcher Rachel Murray, and the Rossdales and Partners which, at last count, had something like three campuses, with separate specialties.

The veterinary college at Cambridge University is only 12 miles away and has an equine hospital as well.

Let's not forget Greenwood Ellis and Partners of Newmarket, where navicular expert and surgeon Ian Wright is hard at work.

And those are just the vets for referrals.

It is this last practice that will be petitioning 2012 Olympics czar Lord Sebastian Coe (right, that Sebastian Coe, remember the film "Chariots of Fire"?) for a role for vet med in a proposed equestrian park to be built on a 100 acre site in Newmarket.

Quoted in East Anglia News: "We would love to bring the Olympic Games in some form to Newmarket and to have some lasting legacy as a result," Mr Wright said.

The actual equestrian competitions are supposed to take place in Greenwich, England, near London. Greenwich is best known for being the home of the world's official clock, as in "Greenwich Mean Time". (That's what those BBC news announcers are always talking about when they give you the hour "GMT".) It is also the home of 0 degrees longitude, still used in all our maps and navigation. The whole world went out from the British empire back in the old days, and Greenwich could arguably have been the center of the universe. I've always wanted to visit the maritime museum there.

Newmarket, on the other hand, is the world's largest training center for Thoroughbred racehorses. Trainers have racing "yards" in the town and train/condition the horses on a magnificent hilly "heath". The little town also has two racetracks and a slew of farriers.

Wouldn't you think that the danger of Olympic horses bringing disease would cause some concern among the racing types, and vice versa?

Stay tuned for more details....

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Conference Announcement: The Back and Beyond: Orthopaedic Poor Performance (Hindlimbs and Back)

British Equine Veterinary Association Conference Announcement
The Back and Beyond
Orthopaedic Poor Performance: Hindlimbs and Back
Sponsored by BCF Technology Ltd, EMS Optident and Boehringer Ingelheim

Date 20th – 21st October 2006

Venue Simon Gibson Room, Rossdales Equine Hospital, Newmarket, Suffolk, ENGLAND.

Course Organiser: Andy Bathe MA, VetMB, DipECVS, DEO, MRCVS
Registration Rebecca Hilton (

Fee: £500 for members
(£550 for non members)

This is an intensive course aimed at delegates with experience of orthopaedic work-ups and aims to explore the typical presentation of “won’t jump / won’t run / won’t engage”. These represent a diagnostic challenge to determine whether there is a primary back problem, hindlimb lameness or a schooling/behavioural issue. The course will cover diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the back and hindlimbs including clinical anatomy, biomechanics, diagnostic local analgesia, clinical and gait evaluation as well as imaging techniques. There will be sport-specific sessions for racing, eventing, dressage, and showjumping. Medical treatment, surgery, rehabilitation, farriery, equitation and alternative treatments will be discussed. The course will be limited to small numbers to facilitate audience-speaker interaction and there will be a large number of panel discussions.

Prof J M Denoix DVM, PhD, Agrege, France
W Back DVM, PhD, DipECVS, DipIRNVA, Utrecht, Holland
A P Bathe MA, VetMB, DipECVS, DEO, MRCVS, Newmarket
M J Head BVetMed, MRCVS, Newmarket
M O’Donnell BVSc, MRCVS, Newmarket
S E Powell MA, VetMB, MRCVS, Newmarket
A Buthe, MRCVS, Cert.Acupuncture (IVAS), Felsted
C Bartle BSc, FBHS,- International Dressage and Eventing trainer, Yorkshire
A Sutton MSc Vet Phys, Grad Dip Phys, Cat A ACPAT, Winchester

Practical Sessions
Practical sessions will include ultrasonography of the back and hindlimbs, diagnostic local analgesia, clinical examination and palpation, gait evaluation and alternative treatments.

The cost of the course will include comprehensive notes, a course dinner, lunches and coffees during the course. A list of local accommodation can be provided.

For further information regarding the course please contact
Miss Rebecca Hilton
Rossdales Equine Hospital, Cotton End Road, Exning, Newmarket CB8 7NN
Tel: (UK 44) 01638 577754
Fax: (UK 44) 01638 577989

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Irony of Farrier Competitions....International Role Reversal?

Is it me, or does anyone else see the irony in the announcement by the new corporate farrier competition group, World Championship Blacksmiths, and a recent report on a big competition in the UK?

WCB is promoting the fact that their regional competitions (and presumably their national championship) will be conducted in rounds, using ten "permanent" stations so farrier competitors can fly in and not need their trucks. On the education side, farriers not in a given round can watch the others, something that competitors currently cannot do when they all compete at once.

Meanwhile, across the pond, Billy Crothers of Handmade Horse Shoes boasts of more than 60 competitors at his recent competition. Impressive...but Billy didn't provide permanent forges and anvils. It was a "bring your own" affair, and what's more, everyone was hammering away at the same time, "American-style", from the backs of 64 rigs and vans.

The UK is known for competitions that stress the actual shoeing of a horse, along with the making of a specimen shoe, and the USA is known for shoemaking contests. Is that changing? Will American judges start wearing white coats next?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

2006 AAEP Convention Addresses the Foot; Farriers-Only Program Added

Hoofcare & Lameness has received a document pertaining to the 2006 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, to be held in San Antonio December 3-6. While farriers have always been able to attend the convention, this is the first time that a farriers-only program has been offered.

San Antonio will be my 21st AAEP Convention! Hoofcare has always been part of this convention, and we have a busy booth in what is surely the largest horse health trade show in the world. It is worth going just for the trade show!

(Blogger's note: speakers are veterinarians unless otherwise designated, although Mike Pownall is both a DVM and a CF. Also the laminitis presentations are reports on research from the Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit of Dr. Chris Pollitt. Dr Pollitt will be in San Antonio, but the new data will be presented by research staff).

Here is the message from the AAEP and Dr. Steve O'Grady:

The American Association of Equine Practitioners would like to invite farriers to attend our 52nd Annual Convention to be held in San Antonio, Texas on December 3-6, 2006. This year's program will feature multiple sessions devoted to the equine foot.

Monday Afternoon December 4
In-depth session on Palmar Foot Pain (3 hours)

*Structure and Function of the Equine Digit in Relation to Palmar Foot Pain - Andrew Parks
*Clinical Evaluation and Diagnosis of Palmar Foot Pain - Robert J. Hunt
*Therapeutic Considerations for Horses with Palmar Foot Pain - G. Kent Carter
*Strategies for Shoeing the Horse with Palmar Foot Pain - Stephen E. O'Grady

Tuesday Morning December 5
"Putting Science into Farriery" (session open to Farriers only)
*The Farrier-Veterinary Partnership: The Role of Diagnostic Imaging - Harry Werner
*Lameness evaluation: practice and theory - Andy Parks
*Hoof balance vs. hoof mechanics: is there a difference? - Bob Pethick, CJF
*The "tipping" point: radiographic assessment of the affect of wedge pads -- Mike Pownall
*Using composites to compliment farriery: when, where and how? - Scott Pleasant
*Lets review the landmarks that can be used to evaluate, trim and shoe the equine foot - Dave Duckett, FWCF

Wednesday Morning December 6
"How to" presentations on the hoof
How to...Use Hoof Wall Resection and Amniotic Membrane as a Treatment for Coronary Band Prolapse - Carrie Gatke-Long
How to...Surgically Access Lesions Beneath the Hoof Capsule - Clifford M. Honnas
How to...Radiographically Assess the Hoof Capsule and Related Lameness Problems - J. G. Merriam
How to...Prepare Equine Hoof Defects for Repair - William Moyer
How to...Manage White Line Disease - Stephen E. O'Grady
How to...Perform the Digital Venogram - Amy Rucker
How to...Assess the Equine Foot for Prepurchase - Tracy A. Turner
How to...Safely Perform a Mid-Metacarpal Deep Digital Flexor Tenotomy on a Standing Horse - Daniel J. Burba
How to...Cryotherapy Reduced the Severity of Laminitis Evaluated Seven Days after Induction With Oligofructose - Andrew W. van Eps
How to...Transcription of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in Horses with CHO Induced Laminitis Treated With an Intracecal Buffering Solution - Adriana H. Souza
How to...Acute Laminitis: The Temporal Evaluation of Serial Hoof Biopsies - Emma L. Croser

Additionally, Sunday through Tuesday there will be various 1.5 hour Table Topics including:
• Barefoot vs. shod,
• Foot lameness,
• Hoof wall cracks and defect repair techniques,
• Therapeutic shoeing,
• Managing acute and chronic laminitis.

Advance Registration fee for AAEP and farrier guests is $395*. (Registration includes complimentary lunch Sunday-Tuesday as well as access to the other program sessions and trade show.)

For more detailed program information or to register go to or call 1-800-443-0177.

( and will post updates as available.)

* Update #1...23 October...pre-registration deadline extended to 30 October 2006.

Hoofcare & Lameness Journal Sunday, June 18, 2006
As posted on www. and

Thursday, June 15, 2006

What is "World Championship Blacksmiths"?

We'll soon find out!
June 19th is the day set for unveiling of the new member-based organization designed at upgrading farrier competitions in the United States. Headed by farrier Craig Trnka of New Mexico and AFA Education Director Jill Ballard, World Championship Blacksmithis (WCB) has an ambitious plan to run regional farrier qualifiers leading to a national championship beginning in 2007.

Until the name catches on, I am sure that this will be called "the competitors' association" but it is more than that.

Among their plans are to use stations provided by the promoters, a la Calgary Stampede's farrier contest, so farriers will not need to bring trucks and anvils to a contest site. The stations will be owned by WCB and moved from site to site.

According to Jill, "The organization is kicking off the 2007 season with a preview competition in Edgewood, New Mexico on September 22nd, 23rd, and 24th, 2006. The first year's regional competitions are slated for Bossier City, LA; Durango, CO; Dillon, MT; West Springfield, MA; and Atlanta, GA." A "Super Clinic" is scheduled for the weekend of January 11.

The Massachusetts event will be held as part of the Equine Affaire horse expo.

Principles of the LLC (Limited Liability Corporation--not a non-profit organization) are three farrier-and-wife teams: Craig and Chris Trnka of New Mexico, Jeff and Julie Ridley of Iowa, and Kyle and Jill Ballard of Nebraska.

Rumors that WBC intends to take over the AFA are premature, according to the authorities I interviewed this week.

I did question Myron McLane, chairman of the American Farrier's Association's Rules Committee, which makes him the de facto czar of the AFA's competition. On June 11, Myron said, "I can't tell you what (WCB's) plans are but I am the chairman of the rules committee and the rules committee runs the AFA contest. I can't comment on rumors. If anyone has questions about the contest in Albuquerque they can contact me at 508-678-0117. We also welcome new ideas and input on the contest from any AFA member."

AFA Acting Executive Director Mike Nolan told me on June 13, "I have been in touch with WBC and urged them to come to the AFA with specifics and how their plans impact the AFA."

A full article with information directly from WCB will be posted on in the next day or so.

By the way, Jill Ballard asked me to convey the important information that she is still working for the AFA, as well as for WCB.

The WCB web site will go live on the 19th; URL is

EIA in Ireland: Not Good News

Another horse disease is in the news today: Equine Infectious Anemia has hit Ireland for the first time, ever. That's the problem with being an island; your flies don't get exposed to diseases. The horses in Ireland have never needed Coggins tests, so what will they do now? According to news reports, the outbreak is blamed not on imported flies, as you might expect, but to a tainted supply of medication or vaccine.

No matter how it got to Ireland, it's there, and when flies bite an infected horses, the fly becomes a carrier and infects other horses. And horses that recover can be carriers forever.

It's not unusual for Irish horses to pop over to England or Scotland or even France to race, and we all know that every horse in Ireland is for sale. It is a market country and a nursery for the Thoroughbred and jumping horses of all types. This outbreak will require a major national education campaign.

I can hear them down at the pub now, asking "Who's this fellow Coggins, then, and why do our horses need to take his test?"(Good questions, who is/was Coggins?)

Keep an eye on this story. It reminds me of when West Nile Virus arrived in New York. Let's hope Ireland finds a way to stop a major outbreak, and a major change in how they manage and move their fabulous horses.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Barbaro's cast was replaced today

From our friends at New Bolton Center:

KENNETT SQUARE, PA – Today Chief of Surgery Dean W. Richardson replaced the cast that had been on Barbaro’s hind leg since surgery on May 21. “His leg looks excellent,” said Dr. Richardson. “The incision has healed well and judging by the radiographs, the graft is opacifying (“taking”). Callus is forming nicely, and all of the implants (plate and screws) look unchanged.” The cast was replaced under general anesthesia, and Barbaro had a very smooth pool recovery.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Farrier Memorial Planned for Saratoga Racecourse

Some kind people in the New York racing scene are planning a memorial for farriers who live on in the memories of many. Jim Brummit, Bruce Scott and Charlie Campbell were three friends of Hoofcare & Lameness who shod on the NY tracks and had many happy times at Saratoga each August.

In fact, the last time I saw Brummit was next to the Oklahoma Track when he pulled up beside me one day. I'd just been taking pictures of Ray Amato shoeing at Todd Pletcher's barn. How Brummit knew I was there, I'll never know. I think that they have spy pigeons or something at that track. His last words to me were some sort of a curse about the magazine being late again. Now, he's gone; cancer, of course. Ditto for Charlie.

You can read more about Charlie here:
Charlie was the paddock farrier at Saratoga. I just saw today that they named a race for him; it was run at Saratoga on Labor Day, which I think was the last day of the meet in 2005.

If you've never been to Saratoga, the racetrack is a beautiful park-like place; Oklahoma is the training track, dating back to the 1800s, and the barns around it are wooden. The horses are bathed or walked in the shade under huge old trees. I always think that I have taken beautiful photos there, but they never do it justice when I see them afterwards. The place is beautiful to look at, but part of it too is the sounds, and the smell, and the way you feel because it's only 7 a.m. and you are already so hot. I've been going there since I was 13. I couldn't go to the races in the afternoon until I was older, but in the morning, the backside was all mine.

"Oklahoma" is a perfect place for a memorial. Every track should have a farrier memorial.

I hope they raise a lot of money and I also hope you'll go there and see it. I am sure that contributions would be very welcome but I don't have any details yet.

Watch Hoofcare & Lameness for more details sometime this summer. I plan to be in Saratoga on Tuesday and Wednesdays this year. How about you?

Horse Beats Humans (Again)

The Welsh held their annual horse vs human cross-country race today; 300 humans showed up and tried to outrun 30 horses. A horse won the 22-mile race.
I read about this race every year and it fascinates me, for some reason. Last year, a human won.
I don’t think I really care who wins, I am just curious why and how they run this race.

More at

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Health Warning: MRSA Bacteria Infection and Horses

I'm copying this from an Elsevier newsletter received today, just as a reminder....

MRSA -- a vigorous bacterial infection resistant to standard drug treatments - -can be picked up in dirty hospitals, as most people know. But there have been increasing reports of domestic animals transmitting MRSA to humans and the potential for animals to become a reservoir of MRSA.

A new study suggests that it can also be picked up from horses, even when normal precautions are taken. This has wide implications for farmers, the racing industry, recreational horse owners, horse farm personnel, and veterinary practices.

MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is resistant to most standard antimicrobials and frequently to a wide range of additional antimicrobial classes. Infections are difficult to treat and are associated with increased morbidity, mortality and treatment costs.

A study by Ontario-based veterinary scientist Dr Scott Weese published in Elsevier's journal Veterinary Microbiology reports that a team caring for a new-born foal quickly developed symptoms of MRSA, in the form of skin lesions, almost certainly arising from close contact with the foal.

The foal was under treatment in a Canadian animal hospital for renal failure and septicaemia. Part of the foal's management involved veterinary students providing 24-hour nursing care to individual foals in 4-hour shifts. In most situations, students sit in direct contact with the foal for the entirety of their shift, often with the foal partially on the students' lap to enable proper restraint, feeding and provision of nursing care.

Although glove use is mandatory for any horse-contact, and personnel wear clean coveralls, contact with horse bodily secretions is inevitable because of the duration of contact and the sometimes fractious or excitable nature of foals.

In this case, within less than a week tests on the foal revealed that MRSA had been isolated from the admission nasal swabs of the foal, and checks on the hospital staff quickly showed that some of those treating the foal were, in turn, already developing MRSA skin infections.

The study warns that occupational or recreational exposure to horses might be an important risk factor for MRSA infection or colonisation. This needs to be considered when managing animals with MRSA infection or colonisation, either in a veterinary hospital or on farms. The authors also suggest that human medical doctors investigating skin and soft tissue infections should check for prior contact with animals, particularly horses.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Clones Fail to "Kick Ass"

It was nature vs nuture in Winnemuca, Nevada yesterday...and nature prevailed. It wasn't even close. The two cloned mules, first ever to race, and genetically identical to each other, finished third and seventh in an eight-mule race yesterday.

(See yesterday's post for more on this story.)

Wait a minute. Maybe the story here is that there were eight mules entered in one race at all. Around here, eight horses entered in a race would be big crowd.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Hoofcare and Lameness Publishing's First Book Sale (EVER)

some old Tufts Vet School library books horse books and veterinary books
A few nice old horse and vet books seen on a shelf in the library at Tufts vet school in Massachusetts. Photo by Amit Gupta.

Ok, here we go! I have started to list some of the farrier, veteirnary and horse books we are offering for sale. Most of these are LEFTOVERS, USED, or DAMAGED books, cd-roms, dvds, or videotapes. Most are drastically reduced in price. Storage space here is limited, and I have been meaning to do this for a long time.

Check back soon and often, as I will try to add a few more each day. It takes a while to do each one. Thanks!

Here's the link:

Mule clones: But do their feet match?

No two alike: Australian riders raced mules at Gaza (then part of Egypt) in a military post entertainment during World War II. Taken in 1942 by Dvr Tom Beazley. Photo courtesy of AussieJeff. 

The news this morning is about the two three-year-old racing mule clones who ran for the first time yesterday in Winnemuca, Nevada.

It seems each won his qualifying heat, and now the two will race each other in the final heat today. Or race himself--that might be more accurate.

I'm not sure I really care who wins (does it really matter? is this an exercise in equine existentialism?) but I would like to see the right front foot on each of them, to see if they developed the same. Could you pull a racing plate off one (if indeed racing mules are even shod) and nail it right onto the other?