Friday, March 30, 2007

Cushings Medication "Pergolide" Will Be Withdrawn from US Market, FDA Says

Horse people in the USA know pergolide (also called Permax, when the brand name is used) as the medication of choice for many horses suffering from Cushing's disease. What many in the horse world don't know is that it is actually a human medication used to treat symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Recently, reports have surfaced of heart problems developing in human patients. Acting on those reports, the FDA today announced that the drug--both Permax and pergolide generic derivatives--will no longer be sold in the US.

What does that mean to owners of horses with Cushing's disease? It's hard to say. I have been trying to get more information to share.

As always, Eleanor Kellon VMD is right on the case. Dr Kellon is veterinary consultant to the Equine Cushings discussion list on; the list currently boasts almost 5000 members, of which I am one, and the group is one of the fairest, best-informed and most diligent that I have found on the web. Obviously many of those 5000 are medicating their horses with pergolide and this is Big News on the List today.

Here is some sage advice from Dr Kellon: "First, don't panic.Many drugs that fall by the wayside for human use actually end up in veterinary use. Trental (pentoxifylline) is a good example. They're not approved for veterinary use, but the FDA grants veterinarians considerable leeway in 'off-label' (i.e. not approved for the use on
the label) drug prescribing in animals.

"There may be some information available on closely related alternatives," she continued. "I'm checking into that."

"In humans, most recent studies are finding about 22% of people on pergolide develop some level of dysfunction of their heart valves. The number that develop serious problems with it is much, much lower. As for horses **as far as we know, the has not been recognized as a clinical problem in horses on pergolide**. We probably have more
long term follow up on Cushing's horses here than even in university vet school records. Some horses here have been on it for 5, even 10 years."

Dr.Kellon is also the author of the reference book Equine Drugs and Vaccines, as well as Equine Supplements and Nutraceuticals, both of which are well-thumbed and never far from my desk.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Events Guide Updated at

Be sure to check the events page at to see our list of exciting events coming up in 2007!

Most of these are events that are either sponsored by Hoofcare & Lameness Journal or are events at which our editors will be speaking or demonstrating.

When you contact event organizers about attending or participating in an event, please let them know that you heard about it through Hoofcare & Lameness Journal and Thanks!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Allied Professionals Legislation Defeated in Colorado

House Bill 07-1296 “Concerning the Right of an Animal Owner to Choose a Provider of Humane Care for the Animal,” was defeated by a vote of 3-4 in a hearing in front of the Colorado Senate’s Agriculture, Natural Resources & Energy Committee on March 22, 2007. The bill’s defeat is a major victory for CVMA and the bill’s other opponents, who had significant concerns about the bill’s impact on animal health and welfare as well as public health and consumer safety.

The legislation was proposed by the Colorado Alliance of Animal Owners Rights.

The CAAOR had proposed that massage therapists, farriers, and other allied health professionals should be allowed to work without the direct supervision of a veterinarian, as speccified in the state's Veterinary Practice Art.

An article in the Montrose Daily Press attempts to tell both sides of the story, which is similar to an attempt made to legally free allied health professionals of the danger of a felony prosecution.

In an interesting twist of fate, the same committee approved the legality of licensed physical therapists, presumably even those without any training in animal physiology and anatomy, to work on animals without veterinary supervision.

The April issue of Smithsonian hit the newsstands today and the good news is that you can pick up a copy and enjoy a first-class article about Barbaro's struggle, written with sensitivity and intellectual curiosity by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Twomey.

The even better news is that you can read the text online:

with an added interview with Twomey here:

But the images are visible only in the printed copy. If your newsstand doesn't have it, your library probably has a subscription.

Hoofcare & Lameness Journal is proud to have been a part of this article. I wish that he could have interviewed all our readers to learn just how much you all and your horses are affected by the disease of laminitis. Even though Barbaro is gone, horses continue to suffer from this horrible malady. Hopefully, having laminitis profiled in a magazine like Smithsonian will help focus more attention on the disease and the need for research.

See you at the newsstand. Save one for me!

Real Quiet, Real Comfortable

Who'll be the next Kentucky Derby winner to grace the gates of the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center? Barbaro was still in the headlines when Real Quiet was referred to the facility after developing breeding problems that were suspected to be related to hind foot problems.

According to the Blood-Horse today, he has now been released and is back breeding mares at
Pin Oak Lane Farm near New Freedom, Pennsylvania, after spending more than a month at the hospital. According to the Blood-Horse, the problem was abscesses in both hind feet. Ouch.

Book Announcement: LAMINITIS & FOUNDER by Butler and Gravlee Goes on Sale Today!

March 25 is the first day we will be taking orders for the new book "Laminitis and Founder" by Doug Butler and Frank Gravlee. The book is an overall guide to the causes and mechanism of acute laminitis, chronic laminitis and especially what we call "metabolic" laminitis.

The hoofcare chapters of the book are limited to steel heart-bar mechanics and contains excellent information on how to properly fit these technical shoes. Dr. George Platt is referenced in this section, along with farrier Burney Chapman.

I recently interviewed one of Burney's sons about the book, and Blaine Chapman, who had just returned from doing a clinic for farriers in Michigan, had this to say:

"The book is, of course, easy to read and very informative. It is not filled with a bunch of propaganda. There is technical information on every page. What you have here is two credible authors who also have class. Besides the fact that they are both masters at what they do, they present the book with dignity and honor. Whether you agree with them or not, you'll have a hard time discounting their information.

"What I like is that Dr. Butler, before he does anything else, gets the foot in balance, even if it is atrophied or deformed. He gets the foot right and then applies the apparatus."

The books are $30 each plus $5 for postage and handling in the USA; $10 postage to the rest of the world.

Call 978 281 3222, fax 978 283 8775 or email to order your copy.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Dubai Horse Fair: No Nails

For the next few weeks, the eyes of the racing world will be focused on Dubai, where the World Cup races will be held on March 31. They'll feature a showdown between champions Discreet Cat and Invasor, with a purse of $6 million in that race alone. Did you know, by the way, that there's no parimutuel betting at the races in Dubai?

Once the racehorses head back to their jumbo jets, the Dubai International Horse Fair begins. It sounds like a pretty wonderful event for any continent, but what struck me is that yes, there is a vet conference (including an intriguing topic of the outbreak of glanders in UAE--wasn't that disease eradicated eons ago?) but the horse care lectures and demonstrations include one on glue-on horseshoes and one on barefoot trimming.

Not too long ago, it took trends in the horse world years to make their way around the world. Now things are the same the world over. The desert in Dubai would be a great testing ground for any shoe or trim.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Grey Horse Makes Winter More Beautiful...

Mike Wildenstein sent this photo of what it looks like on his farm in upstate New York this week. That's Mike skidding a log with one of his Percherons. Thanks for a beautiful photo!

EQUITANA 2007: German Horse Fair Is Still the Ultimate--For Farriers, Too

ESSEN, GERMANY--The world's fair of horse sports has just wrapped up for another year. "Equitana," held in a campus of convention halls in the city of Essen in northern Germany, is the ultimate horse destination. In addition to demonstrations, exhibits and live clinics featuring virtually every horse sport and breed, add horse shopping, parties, and an evening extravaganza arena show.

Where else in the world would you find clinics by Klaus Balkenhol, Christine Stuckelberger, Otto Becker, Isabel Werth, Rudolph Zellinger, Bettina Hoy, Ingrid Klimke, Franke Sloothaak, and Linda Tellington-Jones all under the same roof?

On the serious side, there are a series of professional congresses held in the big theater on site, as well. This year there were conferences on equine veterinary medicine (featuring Hoofcare & Lameness consulting editor Sue Dyson of England and Alan Nixon from Cornell), equine osteopathy, riding as therapy, and farriery.

The farrier meeting was the annual congress of EDHV, or Der Erste Deutsche Hufbeschlagschmiede-Verband e.V., which is the national organization of farriers in Germany. Speakers included our friends Dr Hans Castilijns of Italy, farrier Uwe Lukas of Warendorf, Germany and Dr. Michael Weishaupt of the University of Zurich. Two speakers unknown to me were Dr Alexander Merz and Dr. Michael Nowak but I am sure they were excellent as well.

In the photo is Hoofcare & Lameness subscriber Claus Linde of Germany doing a demonstration; the photo was provided by Equitana. I don't know what the plaque is, but it looks impressive.

I can tell you more about this meeting when I am able to get the information more accurately translated. Kudos to the German farriers for placing themselves front and center at what may be the world's largest-attendance horse event. I think there are 16 exhibit halls, not to seven arenas, stables for 1000 horses, and the convention theater. One exhibit hall is for only horse health and veterinary products, and includes Equitana's "Hoof Village." In 2005 (Equitana is only held in odd-numbered years), 220,000 people from 25 countries attended Equitana in spite of snow storms and icy roads.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Farrier Leaves Van to Walk Dog...and the Van Leaves

Police in Sussex in the south of England are looking for a farrier van that was stolen from a parking lot near a pond. The farrier had left the van locked while he took his dog for a walk in the park; when he returned, the van--containing all his tools and shoes, not to mention his ride back to town--was gone.

We all know that normally the dog would have been in the van to (hopefully) scare away anyone who cast a covetous eye on a van full of tools. The van and tools are valued at approximately $40,000.

The way I see it: it could have been worse. They could have stolen the van AND the dog.

Let's hope his apprentice wasn't inside.

Worldwide Wacky Weather: Laminitis Cases Down, Mud Fever Cases Increase in UK

It's the old good news/bad news scenario; here's a clip from a roundup of winter horse health observations for the past few months published in this week's Horse and Hound, the British weekly horse newspaper.

Peter Slater MRCVS, from Liphook Equine Hospital in the south of England comments: "The warmer weather this winter has meant less laminitis cases, but much more mud fever. I've seen some quite nasty cases."

Mud fever is directly related to the weather; the wetter it is, the worse the condition, acccording to Horse and Hound veterinary editor Karen Coumbe MRCVS, who adds that is not a single disease, but a collection of clinical signs ranging from a few scabs to cracked heels and sores, which in turn can produce infected legs.

Mud fever has a variety of causes, but can usually be blamed on bacteria infecting chaffed, waterlogged or otherwise damaged skin. Horses with white legs and pink tender skin underneath seem to be the most susceptible.

Hoofcare & Lameness published an in-depth special section on "mud fever" a few years ago, including mite infestation and pemphigus as problems that affect the lower leg; the section is available on cd-rom, or you can order the complete issue, which includes Michael Wildenstein's thesis on white line disease and articles on canker, spider bites, etc. We are doing this to make available articles that can then be printed out and distributed to clients. Email to place an order. Other back issues, which have been out of print, are now available on cd-rom as well.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Rustin Moore Speaks to Harness Racing Org About Laminitis

At today's annual meeting of the United States Trotting Association, Dr. Rustin Moore, professor and chair of the Department of Veterinary Medicine, of the College of Veterinary Medicine of Ohio State University, spoke to the harness industry representatives about the disease of laminitis.

After mentioning that 15 percent of adult horses in the USA are affected by the disease, he added that 75 percent of those cases are eventually fatal. He noted that the cause of the disease and how it actually affects the horse is still not well understood, and that the array of treatments and theories is testimony to how little we really understand it, in all its forms.

"Cryotheraphy (extreme cold) research seems to hold some promise," Dr. Moore said. "We don't know why it seems to help, but it does. In any event, all practitioners, including veterinarians, surgeon, and shoers, need to share all they know, and hope that such collaborating will lead to a cure -- or better yet prevention.

Dr. Moore is program chairman of the upcoming 4th International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot, to be held in Palm Beach, Florida on November 3-5, 2007.

To read a complete report of the USTA meeting, click here.

Photo of Dr. Moore courtesy of the Ohio State University.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Barbaro Death a Hoax? Conspiracy Theories Abound in Run-Up to April Fool's Day

Had a tough week? Snowed in again (if you live around here)? How about a good laugh? has a great story about Barbaro death conspiracy theorists.

Here are a few clips:

"On Tuesday, University of Pennsylvania criminologists, acting on a public petition, entered photos of Barbaro taken at the New Bolton Clinic only hours before his death into special face-aging software to determine what Barbaro would look like after two months. Results showed a remarkably similar-looking horse with a slightly longer mane."

"Despite the legions of fans who now believe Barbaro is alive and well somewhere in the U.S., others within the horse-racing community are quick to dismiss the theory, claiming that Barbaro was in fact assassinated after the Kentucky Derby, that the horse who raced in his place at the Preakness was an imposter, and that Barbaro's injury was staged by the government as part of a massive cover-up to divert the nation's attention from crucial domestic issues and the war in Iraq."

Here at Hoofcare & Lameness, we think someone should go out to the stables behind Graceland and see if Elvis's tack is missing...

Read the complete Onion story.

Farrier Competition Scene: Change/No Change at the Top

Jill and Kyle Ballard, two of the founders of the fledgling World Championship Blacksmiths competition corporation, have left the new company.

I interviewed Jill today, and as expected, she was upbeat about their decision not to continue with the venture. "We decided to step down as owners," she told me. "It's about spending time with our family. We have two children under the age of three and would like to have more. WCB was a bigger commitment than we can make right now."

Jill, who was Chief Planning and Operations Officer, and her husband Kyle, who was Chief Financial Officer, live outside Ithaca, Nebraska. Kyle is president of the Midwestern Farriers Association and, as such, a member of the Board of Directors of the American Farrier's Association.

Jill left her position as director of education for the American Farrier's Association to concentrate on her role with the WCB. She was optimistic about the future of the WCB's management, which will now be in the hands of Julie Ridley in Iowa. "Julie will do a good job," Jill said, "and I'm sure Kyle will still compete. We'll just be watching from the sidelines."

Meanwhile, Myron McLane, longtime chairman of the Rules Committee of the American Farrier's Association, wants everyone to know that he has not resigned. "The rumor mill has started once again," he notified me by email. "Just in case anyone is interested, I am still chairman of the AFA rules committee. I have not resigned as you may have been told (probably by someone who wishes I did).

"I am also NOT a member of the committee looking into the WCB thing," he continued. "My committee (the AFA Rules Committee) has already looked into it and has given its recommendation to the BOD (Board of Directors). Our job is done."

The "WCB Thing" that Myron refers to is a proposal by the World Championship Blacksmiths LLC to replace the annual AFA competitions with the national finals of WCB's regional competition series. When asked, Myron's committee advised the AFA against making such a change but the Board then appointed its own committee to look at the proposal. The Board had already granted WCB, a for-profit entity, a seat on its Board by making the corporation a "chapter" of the organization. The convention contest proposal is either a hostile takeover attempt or a gift from the hammer gods, depending on whom within the AFA political insider groups one asks.

To see how things can change, or don't change, Jill and Myron were both quoted in my post of June 15.

Photo of Myron McLane courtesy of

Mustad Hoofcare Center Announces New Horseshoe Products, Lower Prices; Expands into Standardbred Racing Scene

(via press release)

FOREST LAKE, Minn. – March 16, 2007 – Mustad Hoofcare Center (MHC) has announced several new products for 2007 that reflect the expressed needs of farriers across North America. Also, MHC announced lower prices on many of its popular horseshoe products for 2007.

MHC President Carlos Xifra said the new products are the result of the company’s commitment to “listening and responding to farriers, helping them grow their businesses efficiently and conveniently.”

Produced under the company’s St. Croix Forge brand, many of the new horseshoe products also will reflect lower pricing for 2007, the result of hard work and greater efficiencies obtained by the entire MHC team, according to Xifra.

“These price reductions and the ability to hold other horseshoe prices in the face of rising material, labor and transportation costs are the result of internal efficiency gains produced by our team’s efforts over the past year,” he said. “We are very pleased to translate these efficiencies to our customers in the form of lower pricing.”

A number of exciting product line expansions are part of the broad slate of new products for 2007.

· Eventer & EZ Plus horseshoes will add size 00 in response to demand by farriers for new sizes. The new sized shoes will offer the same features as other Eventer & EZ Plus Shoes, and will be available Spring 2007.

· The popularity of the Aluminum Eventer line continues with the addition of the new Aluminum Eventer Unclipped version, the aluminum front Eventer Plus and the Aluminum Eventer Two–Degree wedge models. Available now in size 000-3, the Aluminum Eventer Unclipped front is more affordable than buying clipped shoes and knocking the clip off, saving labor for the farrier. The Eventer Plus aluminum front comes in both clipped and unclipped versions offering a wider web for better support, with lateral extensions. The Aluminum Eventer Two–Degree Front offers a corrective shoe to address some heel conditions. Both Aluminum Eventer Plus and Two-Degree fronts will be available summer 2007.

· MHC offers a new family of products: EZ Plus with a V-shaped crease, a fully featured shoe with a V crease that allows for better positioning of nails, as well as safer locking of the nail head to the shoe. “This will save the farrier time in shaping, and will be easier to work with than other shoes,” said Xifra. “The lateral support for the hoof is built in.” The new line, available summer 2007, will replace the current EZ Plus line of shoes.

· MHC brings some of these features with its new EZ Lite line of shoes. These shoes are based on the popular line of Lite shoes, in a front and hind pattern, finished heels, seating, an outstanding V-shaped crease, punched for CH nails, available in sizes 000 thru 3. Available Summer 2007, this line will replace the Lite Hind shoes currently offered by St. Croix Forge.

· The popular Lite Heel Hind shoes are offered in sizes 00 thru 3 saving farriers time at the anvil, offering sole pressure relief, a nail pattern that allows room for side clips and an excellent nail seating.

· A new line of Concave Plus Front and Hind shoes will also be available spring 2007 with the same features as the popular Eventer Plus shoes – symmetrical fronts with lateral extensions, and left and right hinds with slightly longer and wider outside branches. Punched for E-head nails, with toe and side clips, available in sizes 000 thru 4.

· While MHC has kept farriers in mind with its new line of products, the new Polo Front shoe offers better field and competitive performance to the horse with a new shape and design. Already available, the shoe features a more aggressive heel cut as a running change with the existing Polo front line.

MHC is adding a new product line of Harness Shoes in the spring of 2007 with the new Full Swedge Front, Full Swedge Hind, 9/16” wide Half Round Front and Half Swedge Hinds shoes. The new line features a more aggressive outer rim for traction and stability. Made from a harder material for better durability and wear – while still within the required weight targets – these Harness Shoes offer a truer shape to the hoof to save farriers time at the anvil. Sole pressure relief, better nail positioning, precision nail holes, are just some of the benefits offered by these shoes. Punched for RN 4.5, available in sizes 00 thru 5.

Continuing the quality of the St. Croix Forge Aluminum Racing Shoes and Plates, MHC introduces a new size 9 outer rim race plate both for Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing events. Produced with MHC’s high quality standards and the finest aluminum alloy available, toe and side clips have been added to the aluminum race plates

For more information on these new products, or other St. Croix Forge Products, visit

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hot New French Horseshoe Design Uses Scalloped Onions to Catch Your Eye

Oo-la-la!! The French firm of Michel Vaillant has a hot new horseshoe design that would certainly win any design competition. The new Parabolic Sport Horse Shoe is side-clipped, with onion-esque heels that flow out in a graceful curve from the branches and then are scalloped where the heels meet the frog. They call it "ergonomic heel support" but Hoofcare & Lameness readers will remember that onion heels have their traditional roots, so to speak, in France.

Will it fit every foot? Can the onions be de-scalloped? It's too soon to tell, but the Parabolic Sport is an eyeful to behold. I wonder if they make a hind pattern? That might fit a USA front...Will they find their way across the Atlantic?

Lots more info, in French of course, at the Michel Vaillant web site.

12th Michel Vaillant Conference This Week in France

Here's what we are all missing in France this weekend. This is a fantastic lineup of speakers and subjects, including some familiar authors from Hoofcare & Lameness Journal. The conference is in Cluses, in the southeastern corner of France, if you happen to be reading this from Europe...or can catch the next flight.

Full details here.

Sorry about the translation, this is what they had written. A "phlebogram" is a venogram.

Friday March 16th

Roland Perrin (Vet - France):
The third phalanx in 3 dimensions.

Philippe Grandjean (Farrier -France):
Applications for sole protection grading

Marta Prades ( Vet - Spain) + Marti Sala (Farrier - Spain):
Points of view of the vet and the farrier concerning anatomy, biomechanics, radiographic diagnosis, surgery and shoeing.

Lorenzo d’Arpe (Vet - Italy):
Relationships between the Palmar angle and the Phlebogram - Preparation and presentation.

Francis Desbrosse (Vet - France) + Bernard Duvernay (Farrier - Swiss):
Importance of dynamic examinations in farriery: interest, procedure, limits.

Philippe Benoit (Vet - France):
Synergie of good cooperation between the vet, the farrier, the rider in top level sport.

Demonstrations, Workshops:

Glue-on aluminum shoeing.
Trimming cows.
Prescription shoeing workshop: aluminum and forced steelk.
Tool sharpening workshop
Tapping workshop
Bi-injection workshop

Saturday March 17th:

Jean Marie Denoix (Vet - France):
How ultrasound can help in treating tendon and ligament lesions

Philippe Benoit (Vet - France):
Analyzing movement with a high speed camera

Lorenzo D’Arpe (Vet - Italy)+ Xavier Moreau (Farrier -France):
Relationships between the Palmaire angle and the Phlebogram. Results and shoeing.

Henry Chateau (Vet-France):
Digital biomechanics- examples of farriery applications.

Nathalie Crevier (Vet - France):
A new process for measuring the superficial digital flexor tendon tension in horses in movement – application examples.

UMR of biomechanics and locomotory pathologies in horses, Maison Alfort (Henry Chateau, Laurent Pacquet, Nathalie Crevier-Denoix, Philippe Pourcelot, Bérangère Ravary, Sylvain Falala, Jean-Paul Valette, Jean-Marie Denoix):
Biomechanical assessment of the impact of equestrian surfaces on the equine locomotor system – Preliminary results in trotting horses.

Philippe Grandjean (Farrier-France):
Reading and interpreting hoof capsule deformations

Maximilien Brabec (Consultant - France):
Defending the value of your know how with your customers.

Aaron Gygax (Farrier - Swiss and Rood and Riddle USA):
Sports horses and glue-on shoes.

McIlwraith Recognized for Achievements in Equine Orthopedics

FORT COLLINS, COLORADO - Wayne McIlwraith BVSc, PhD, FRCVS, DSc, Dr. med vet (hc), Diplomate ACVS, director of the Colorado State University Equine Orthopaedic Research Center, was recently recognized with the Founder's Award for Career Achievement, given by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS). The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the art and science of veterinary surgery by diplomats of the ACVS, and is the college's most prestigious award.

The award credits McIlwraith for selflessly sharing his knowledge through teaching, publications and training of other veterinarians.

McIlwraith currently holds the Barbara Cox Anthony University Endowed Chair at Colorado State. He has trained more than 44 graduate students and supervised 20 residents in equine surgery He is recognized internationally as an authority on equine orthopedics, and has written or co-written 230 research papers and ten textbooks.

McIlwraith has previously been recognized with numerous honorary degrees from as far away as New Zealand, Italy and Vienna. He has lectured extensively on equine orthopedics.

"Dr. Mcilwraith has been one of the most recognized names in equine surgery and orthopedic research in the past 50 years and possibly the last century," said Cornell University's Dr. Alan Nixon, veterinarian and diplomat of the ACVS, who presented the award.

"His work shows contributions in every area associated with the development of the principals of surgery, the quest for better techniques and medications through research, and a tireless effort to teach others and share knowledge with equine surgeons throughout the world," he continued. "He is the embodiment of a combination of surgical practice and surgical research, a tireless disseminator of his extensive knowledge, and the 'father' of arthroscopy surgery in the horse. He is an extraordinary mentor to numerous surgeons both here and abroad."

Dr. McIlwraith received his veterinary degree from Massey University, New Zealand. He received his master's and doctoral degrees in joint disease research while at Purdue. Dr. McIlwraith became board certified as a diplomat in the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1979 and joined the faculty at Colorado State that same year.
(provided by press release)

Photo of Dr. McIlwraith courtesy of Colorado State.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Gibbins Sold to Carl Bettison

The British farrier supply and apron manufacturer J&C Gibbins in Woodbridge in Suffolk had a big announcement to make at the recent trade show of the American Farrier's Association convention.

On Friday afternoon, owners John and Caroline Gibbins brought out a nice new jacket with their company logo on it. Emblazoned on it also was the name of Carl Bettison, best known as the public face of Stromsholm Ltd UK.

"We have enjoyed nearly 25 years serving the farriy trade and have now sold our business to Carl Bettison, who is running it as Gibbins UK Ltd.," they wrote in their announcement.

"It is our intention to continue to support Carl and the staff who now work for him, for as long as they need us," they continued.

"However, this seems an appropriate time for us to thank you all for the support and friendship you have given us over many years and to and to wish you continued success," the announcement ended.

The Gibbins product line has always centered on leather, and includes a well-designed farriers vest that has deep coverage in the rear. They also sell a delightfully British line of gardening aprons.

Hoofcare & Lameness has enjoyed working with and knowing John and Caroline Gibbins since they entered the trade in the early 1980s. They are two of the friendliest and most interesting tradespeople that have ever crossed the pond. I will miss them very much. I regret that I never had the chance to visit their seaside offices in England. And I'll look forward to working with Carl, of course, who is also a very old friend.

To learn more, visit

Palm Beach Laminitis Conference Launches Web Site

Information will be posted at a new web site designed for speakers, attendees and exhibitors at the Fourth International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot, to be held November 3-5, 2007 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Learn more about the in-depth educational opportunities to be offered at

U.S. subscribers to Hoofcare & Lameness Journal will receive invitations to attend in the mail in the next month or so.

AFA 2007 Convention Competition Winners Announced

The American Farrier's Association (AFA) hosted its annual international farrier competition with more than 60 farriers competing for belt buckles, trophies and lots of cash at the recent AFA Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Judges were Gerard Laverty CJF, TE of British Columbia, Jim Keith CJF of New Mexico, and Jim Poor CJF of Texas.

Here's a rundown of class winners:

1. Journeyman Shoes Class, sponsored by St Croix Forge, was won by Conrad Trow of Kentucky.

2. Hunter Shoes Class, sponsored by the Farrier Industry Association (FIA), was won by Mark Milster of Oklahoma.

3. Mustad Specialty Forging Class, sponsored by Mustad, was won by Darren Bazin of the United Kingdom.

4. 2-Man Draft Shoemaking Class, sponsored by Durasole, was won by Bill Poor of Texas & Bryce Burnett of Florida.

5. The North American Challenge Cup (NACC) Qualifying Class, with pins sponsored by Bloom Forge, was won by Billy Crothers of Wales.

6. The North American Challenge Cup (a.k.a. "Live Shoeing"), sponsored by Capewell, was won by Craig Trnka of New Mexico.

7. National High Point Winner Award, sponsored by Grant Moon & Bob Pethick, was won by Craig Trnka of New Mexico.

8. Overall High Point Winner, sponsored by Equine Forgings Ltd. was a tie between Billy Crothers & Craig Trnka.

9. The Shoeing Rig Contest was won by Glen Spradling of Texas.

10. The Shoe Case Classic was won by Gene Lieser of Texas.

11. The Vern Hornquist Class, sponsored by Myron McLane and Walt Taylor, was won by Dennis Manning of Utah.

Interesting statistics: in the main competition (not counting Vern's class), only 17 per cent of the prize winners were from east of the Mississippi, with three of them being from Kentucky. This is a complete reversal from 20 years ago, when prize winners from the Northeast dominated the prizes and the team placings.

Hoofcare & Lameness's unofficial "Marathon Man" award goes to Mark Milster of Oklahoma, whose name shows up on the finalists' list for five different classes.

British contestants showed up as finalists in all classes except the draft shoes class, which was traditionally dominated by the likes of Edward Martin, Jim and Allan Ferrie, and David Wilson, all from Scotland; no one from Scotland made the trip this year. Billy Crothers, who shared the high-point overall award with USA's Craig Trnka, is the reigning World Champion Blacksmith.

No word yet on who will represent the USA on the national farriers' team for 2007.

Thanks to rules committee chairman Myron McLane for sharing the results with Hoofcare & Lamenes.

Industry News: Intervet Purchased by Schering-Plough

This post could be sub-titled, "Banamine Buys Regumate."

News reports from Europe are confirming that Schering-Plough is acquiring Organon BioSciences (OBS), the parent company of Intervet, from Akzo Nobel, in a move that could create a new leader in the global animal health industry. The deal, said to be worth 11 billion Euros (US$14.4bn), was announced on Monday from the Netherlands headquarters of Schering-Plough.

The deal may place Schering-Plough at the top of animal health corporations worldwide by sales.

One of Schering-Plough's most familiar equine-market products is the anti-inflammatory Banamine. Intervet makes several widely-used vaccines, plus wormers like Panacur and specialty treatments like Regumate.

Read the press release from the Schering-Plough web site here.

Monday, March 05, 2007

How to Prevent Bloated Feet, Nigeria-Style

There is a "real world" out there for racehorses who don't summer in Saratoga or loll about in the misty Kentucky bluegrass mornings.

I hope you will take a second to read this blog post from a Swedish racehorse owner in Nigeria, who actually snapped a photo of an Arabian racehorse there being deliberately "bled" to prevent "bloated feet." His or her horse is the only one at the track that is not allowed to have its blood drained into the sand.

I came across this story because it was selected from all the horse blogs and horse posts on non-horse blogs for something called the "Horse Blog Carnival." If you follow that link, you can also read all the posts--and there are some very good ones--if you have a few minutes to spare.

AAEP Deadline Looms for 2007 Speakers

March 15 is the deadline for submission of proposals and abstracts to present research and techniques at the 53rd American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention to be held at the Gaylord Palms resort and conference center in Orlando, Florida, from December 1 to 5, 2007.

The AAEP uses a web-based submission system; full details are mapped out for you at the AAEP web site.

The annual AAEP convention is the largest horse-health event in the world. No word yet whether or not the AAEP will repeat the successful sub-conference for farriers concept that was launched at the 2006 convention in San Antonio.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Grayson Foundation Funds Research Study on Medication for IR Laminitis Prevention

The Jockey Club's Grayson Foundation announced its new round of funding this week, with a whopping $1.1 million to go to research.

One of the new projects addresses a medication for laminitis prevention in horses with so-called Equine Metabolic Syndrome, or insulin resistance.

Here's the Foundation's description of the new project, which will be conducted by Dr Frank Nicholas at the University of Tennessee:

Levothyroxine as a treatment for insulin resistance in horses (toward a defense against laminitis)
Nicholas Frank, University of Tennessee. First year, $25,638

Approximately one half of horses who develop laminitis are on pasture when the disease develops. Sugar content of grass is believed to trigger pasture laminitis, insulin resistance accounts for some horses being more susceptible than others. This team has already shown that levothyroxine (LT4) can be safely administered to horses, induces weight loss, and increases insulin sensitivity. It is even more effective when given to horses with insulin resistance (IR), obesity and laminitis. This disorder is referred to as equine metabolic syndrome (EMS), and the study of the disorder reveals valuable insights into the relationship between insulin sensitivity, factors such as body fat mass, thyroid hormone status and laminitis.

This study seeks to expand the numbers of horses from the 8 that have been reported up to 20, to gain statistical significance. Then statistically sound results will be available for further studies on LT4 and it’s effects on laminitis sensitivity. This will be a pivotal study because the results will establish LT4 as the first effective treatment for IR in horses that are highly susceptible to laminitis. This would confirm the authors’ hypothesis that LT4 can be used to prevent laminitis in at-risk horses by improving insulin sensitivity.

Hoofcare & Lameness will endeavor to keep track of this study and report to subscribers on any new developments on this and all related studies to help IR horses with their laminitis problems.

Another laminitis study, to be conducted at the Ohio State University by Dr. James Belknap will examine the potential use of lidocaine as a preventative of laminar damage in the acute phase of laminitis.

Michigan State University Posts Seminar "Slide Shows" on Web Site

The web site of Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine was enhanced recently with the addition of four "slide shows" from university clinicians on specific hoof-related problems in horses.

The slide shows are in Macromedia's "Breeze" program which mimics PowerPoint and can be controlled by the user.

The lectures, with links to each, are:

Foaling with Dr. Hal Schott (Cases from the neonatal critical care facility, including various congenital skeletal defects and one interested "windswept" foal in particular, which is shown in an embedded video)

Hoof Care of the Laminitic Horse with Dr. Frank Nickels

Fat, Foundered Horses (information on Insulin Resistance problems, or "Equine Metabolic Syndrome") with Dr. Hal Schott

Equine Cushing’s Disease with Dr. Hal Schott

Note: I am not sure about the effects of bandwith on the loading time of the images. Each presentation varies, with about 45 slides being the average. They loaded quite quickly with my DSL connection but I don't know how a dial-up connection would do. No special software is needed to view the files.

Thanks to Michigan State's Office of Publications editor Judy Lessard for announcing the web site update.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

AFA Convention Update: Election Results

I had to leave the AFA convention early, unfortunately, and was not able to be at the general membership meeting to hear the election results. However, someone did bolt out of the meeting to phone me the results this afternoon.

Andrew Elsbree of New York is the new president-elect, and Dick Fanguy of Louisiana is the vice president. Almost 1000 votes were cast.

The AFA voted in a bylaw change recently which did away with the office of secretary and created the office of president-elect, which is designed to train the next AFA president.

Andrew and Dick join president Dave Ferguson of Maryland and treasurer John Blombach of Massachusetts as officers. Along with past president Craig Trnka of New Mexico and Board Representative Tom Troisin of California, they will make up the AFA's Executive Committee, which governs the organization. The Board is currently made up chapter presidents and commitee chairs, and the EC answers to the Board.

Congratulations to Andrew and Dick.

Congratulations also to Jeff Hampton of Washington and Irishman Gerard Laverty, now living in British Columbia, Canada. Both passed the AFA's highest certification level, the "Therapeutic Endorsement." Both Jeff and Gerard are subscribers to Hoofcare & Lameness Journal.

American Farrier's Association Forges into a New Era

Greetings from the 36th Annual American Farrier's Association in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A sizeable group of farriers, estimated at 600 or so, has gathered here for educational and business enrichment under the southwestern skies. A heart-warming number of veteran AFA members and old friends are in the crowd, and the trade show is packed with (as usual) with a lot of new products and new companies, as well as the stalwarts of the industry.

The big news so far in the convention has been the vote in the Board of Directors meeting to re-organize the AFA's governance system. The decision making team is currently made up of a slate of officers elected by dues-paying members. They in turn answer to a large board of directors representing 60 or so chapter associations, which are made up of farriers who may or may not be dues-paying AFA members.

On Tuesday this week, the Board voted to replace itself with a team of regional representatives elected by dues-paying AFA members. The chapters will no longer each send a representative to vote on AFA affairs, and the new board members and officers will act as a governing body. I believe that the new system will be put in place by 2008.

In other news, AFA President Dave Ferguson continues to lead the association. Support from the office staff is headed by the new education director, John Bonci.

The education program at the convention was much stronger than I think many attendees expected. The lectures were very well attended. Lecturers included Gene Ovnicek, Bob Racich DVM, Steve Teichman, Mark Caldwell FWCF, Noel Muller DVM, and many more.

The most controversial issue at the convention seems to be the takeover of the AFA competitions by the group known as World Championship Blacksmiths. This group plans to run a regional series of farriers competitions and would host a national championship at the AFA convention. The sides drawn up on this issue are unusual. Many people who are not competition supporters think it is a great idea for the AFA to separate itself from the "sport" aspect of the convention and concentrate on education. Others worry that the AFA is giving away a potential profit center. Still others base their opinions on personalities involved. I believe that the Board endorsed the WCB management plan in spirit but sent it to committee for more study, so this may be an ongoing story.

The Albuquerque Tribune has a nice article about the convention at this url:

And a clip of video from the competition at this url:

The AFA next heads to Lexington, Kentucky for its 2008 convention in February of next year.

Thanks to everyone who visited the Hoofcare & Lameness booth to renew their subscriptions, order books, or just to say hello. I enjoyed seeing everyone very much. It was also very gratifying to hear people mention that they check this blog often and enjoy reading it. That's great news!