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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

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.

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