Sunday, April 29, 2007

Take a Culture Break: Driftwood Horses to Admire

It's Sunday morning. Take a break. Sit back and admire some fine, fine artistic endeavors. Marvel at these driftwood and/or bronze horse constructions from sculptors Heather Jansch and Deborah Butterfield. But don't stop here, proceed to Heather's website and marvel even more. Her work is reminescent of another of my favorite sculptors, Deborah Butterfield, but Heather has incorporated much more depth of material and exaggerated gesture, creating horses that are less contemplative and eerily lifelike in their stop-action poses. In simplest terms, Heather fleshed out the legs. And got them right. But Deborah's work is sparer, more evocative of "every" horse than a three-dimensional portrait of a specific one.

Which sculptor's work do you prefer?

PS Heather makes the hooves out of copper immersion tanks.

Here's one of Deborah's sculptures:

Friday, April 27, 2007

Laura Florence Launches Holistic Hoof Care Practice In Pennsylvania

As noted previously on this blog, our friend Laura Florence has left her former post as resident farrier at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center after seven years of meeting the challenges of referral hoof cases there. Although Laura remains loosely associated with the University in her role as a Special Research Fellow of the Dorothy Russell Havermeyer Foundation for the study of the hoof, she is now moving on to private practice.

In May, Laura will open the doors of her new business, "Holistic Hoof Care" at her new facility at 626 North Walnut Street in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The facility includes two holding stalls and a paddock and is based on the premise that her clients will bring the horses to her for trimming and/or shoeing.

According to her new brochure, Laura will offer trimming, customized boot fitting, therapeutic shoeing (both conventional nail-on and Sigafoos Series I and II) and coordination of integrative therapies for her patients. She will also offer consultations.

It's interesting to note that her boot service specifically mentions that she will fit boots for riding, for use on horses transitioning to barefoot, or for therapeutic applications. She carefully delineates between these three reasons why horses need to be fitted with boots.

My gut feeling is that Laura is The One To Watch. With her diplomacy and friendly manner, I think that her business model of offering integrated holistic and traditional farrier services, particularly for horses with advanced pathology, will be a model for others to emulate. I think that Laura has one foot in each world (Laura is certified by the American Farrier's Association yet she hopes to be able to use trimming techniques alone, when possible, to rehabilitate hooves affected by pathology), and will hopefully be offering her clients' horses the best of both worlds.

With luck, she will offer some sort of internship or residency so others may learn from her.

Her web site is still under construction but I think it will be one to check soon and often.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bluegrass Time: See You in Kentucky?

It's time for my annual trip to Kentucky, ostensibly for the Rolex (Kentucky) Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park, but my plans are to cram as much in as I can. ("Rolex" is America's premier four-star event.)

I'll be tracking down Scott Sellers, farrier from the group farrier practice known as "Forging Ahead" in Round Hill, Virginia. Scott will be tuning up some of the top horses for the USA at the event, and standing by in case he's needed.

Another big part of Rolex is an afternoon of demonstrations in the podiatry clinic at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, just down the road from the Horse Park. The staff there probably has no idea how many people I've talked to who are planning to attend. They're even running buses between the Horse Park and Rood and Riddle!

Across town, I'll be checking in at Keeneland racecourse with my key contact, therapist Dianne Volz, who will be keeping a close eye on many of the Kentucky Derby contenders. This year is different in the run up to the Derby since so many trainers have chosen to stay in Lexington rather than stable at Churchill Downs in Louisville. The attraction? Training on Keeneland's Polytrack (artificial) surface, which many feel is kinder and gentler on a horse's legs.

Of course I'll also make a stop at Breeders Supply in Lexington, to see what's new at one of my favorite farrier supply stores. And stop in at a few of my favorite bookstores, and...the list goes on!

If you're in Kentucky too this week, look for me in any of these places and be sure to say hello. I would love to meet some of the people who read this blog (whoever you are). Send email to and let me know how to find you.

Walk This Way: Cool Hot Walkers Turn Barefoot Transitioning Into a Day at the Beach

For the past few months, I have been researching an article for Hoofcare and Lameness Journal about a company in England that is making what are basically conditioning surfaces for horses that are transitioning to shoelessness. I tried to visit the racing yard in Gloucestershire where these deluxe walkers are installed, but it didn't work out. The designers recently did me a favor and posted their DVD on the Google Video site, so I am link-posting it here for the consideration of all who lurk here and never leave comments.

Here's the deal: if you watch the video, leave a comment here! Just click on the word "comments" at the bottom of the post and a window will open up. You can use your real name (preferred) or just call yourself "anonymous."

I think the concept is terrific; it reminds me of Jean-Marie Denoix's work to identify surfaces for rehabbing horses to bolster their proprioception after layup. Denoix built a track of alternating surfaces, hard and soft, granular and solid, for the horses to trot across.

This video also makes me glad I live close enough to the ocean to ride in the real thing; one of the "surfaces" available is cold salt water.

The next question, of course, is: given the new applications of cryotherapy for laminitis prevention and/or recovery, might these spa walkers spawn a new subset of clinical mini-spas? If so, what might the optimum temperatute be? What are your thoughts?

If that screen doesn't work, try this link:

Note: I don't think you can download this video, you have to go to google's video site to do that, and even then you have to download the google video player. It's best just to watch it here, if you can, or there, if you can't.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

World Cup Freestyle B Won by...a Lusitano!

Consider this: the world turned upside down today in Las Vegas, where at the FEI World Cup Dressage Finals, the Freesyle B was won by the Portuguese rider Daniel Pinto, riding a Lusitano horse of his native land. How about that!

In the picture above, from warmup day, you see Isabell Werth of Germany in the foreground, with Daniel in the back. Observers said they did an impromptu pas de deux while schooling; now each has won his or her event.

Obviously the Portuguese are breeding and conditioning a larger, more extended version of the classical breed, but when you think of the classical orgins of dressage and how it was dominated in the 20th century by northern European warmbloods at the international level, this is news. Granted, he won at freestyle, which means designing a program that spotlights the horse's strengths, while the Grand Prix tests all the gaits and speeds, but...good for Portugal. Perhaps this will be the dawn of the legitimate specialist dressage horse for musical freestyle.

Hopefully Kit will have a good closeup photo of the horse in action tomorrow.

(Photo courtesy of Kit Houghton and Rolex.)

Tildren: Denoix Study Shows Drug Helps Horses with Back Pain

Michael Davis, DVM, MS, of New England
Equine Medical Center. Fran Jurga photo.
Hoofcare and Lameness Journal first reported on the clinical trials of the drug tiludronate ("Tildren") about five years ago, when it was first tested on horses with navicular disease under the supervision of one of consulting editors, Jean Marie Denoix, DVM, PhD, Agrege, of France.

Dr. Denoix's team recently tested Tildren on 29 horses with back pain caused by lesions in the vertebrae, as documented in radiographs. Such lesions are common in many horses.

Fifteen horses were given Tildren and 14 horses received a control substance, and the horses were monitored for 120 days. This was a similar protocol to the navicular disease study. The horses given Tildren were significantly improved after 60 days.

The study was published in the March 2007 edition of the American Journal of Veterinary Research.

Tildren is currently not sold in the United States but is being used by some veterinarians in trial situations within FDA guidelines. Fortunately, the drug is being tested near here at the New England Equine Medical Center, by Dr. Michael Davis, and I've been able to follow its progress. So far, all the news is good...except for the price, of course!

Tildren has been used successfully for navicular bone lesions and hock spavin. Hopes have been high for its use in demineralization of the coffin bone but I don't think there is any documentation of tests for that problem.

Denoix's new study opens up the area of the back and makes one wonder about using it for neck and sacroiliac pain...but I'm sure he's working on that!

Photo: Michael Davis DVM MS of New England Equine Medical and Surgical Center has been using Tildren on carefully-screened US horses. 

A Big Day for the Little Guys

It hasn't been an active news week, and yet Thursday broke the all-time record for visitors to this blog. I don't know who you are but thank you for coming and reading the news. Please keep checking back for more news.

Thanks to Equitana of Essen, Germany for supplying this and some other wonderful photos that you'll be seeing on the HoofBlog.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

AAEP Statement on FDA Withdrawal of Pergolide for Human Use: Will It Still Be Available for Horses?

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) has issued this statement to its members about the potential crisis of pergolide's removal from the drug market.

"As you may be aware, the FDA has withdrawn the drug pergolide from the market for use in humans. In order for the drug to continue to be available for use in veterinary medicine, the FDA must approve an exception for pergolide to be used by veterinarians and to be compounded in bulk quantities.

"The AAEP, through its Drug Compounding Task Force, has been in contact with the FDA, and they are aware of the significant impact of pergolide’s withdrawal from the market on equine medicine. The FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine is working with its counterpart for human medicine, the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, to allow importation of pergolide for use by compounding pharmacies. The FDA expects to have an official announcement by the end of this week.

"The AAEP will continue to communicate with the FDA on this issue."

Note to blog readers: Pergolide is a drug that has been found to have some problems in human use; it is often prescribed for Parkinson's disease. Pergolide has been very helpful to some older horses suffering from problems like Cushings disease or insulin resistance that may have laminitis as a side effect. Many horse owners are concerned about a shortage of the medication for their horses.

Please read my original post from March 30 for more information.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Blue Horse Matine: Top Horse Scratched from World Cup Finals in Las Vegas

Click on the screen arrow to find out why thousands had anticipated this horse's performance at this week's World Cup dressage finals in Las Vegas. An injury during transport caused the mare to be scratched today. (see story that follows) Even if you think you don't like dressage...take a look at this!

I believe this is what you call "peak performance"; this video is from the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany last August. The British commentator is UK team rider Richard Davison.

Crowd's Favorite Dressage Horse Scratches at Las Vegas World Cup

(Thanks to the US Equestrian Federation for help with this post.)

Before the curtain had a chance to rise on the 2007 Rolex FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada's Thomas and Mack Center, some unexpected news from the Danish camp brought a simultaneous chorus of concern and disappointment from fans and foes alike.

Denmark’s Andreas Helgstrand announced in an afternoon press conference today that his horse would not compete due to lameness. One of the favorites leading into the dressage competition, Blue Hors Matine, the striking 10-year-old grey Danish Warmblood that entertained and surprised the crowds at the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany, by taking the Individual Bronze and Silver in the grand prix special and the freestyle respectively, was pulled after the mare showed fluid gathering around her front left pastern.

The trouble began as the horse reached the ground from her transport to the venue. “The ground was slippery,” said Helgstrand. It was then that the horse twisted her left front leg’s pastern. After exhibiting some “twisting,” an ultrasound was performed and it confirmed the malady.

The horse looked good on Monday and Tuesday according to Helgstrand, but in the initial jog, the horse was held for re-inspection. The horse’s veterinarian said the horse might be good by competition time; however a decision had to be made before the draw.

“When we trotted the horse today, going up she was trotting 100%, and when we trotted her back, she was twisting again,” said Helgstrand. “So, there is no chance to compete with her.”

Such disappointment is part of the landscape when dealing with horses and the Danish rider said, “When you work with horses, there are ups and downs. This happened at the wrong time of course…but it’s better to keep it down now and let the vets look at her and do what is best for the horse.” Helgstrand pointed out that the prognosis for the mare, according to the veterinarians, was good.

No doubt Matine will now be aimed at the European Dressage Championships to be held in Torino, Italy in September.

More news about Matine:

The mare has been the center of rumors: following her 81.25% score at WEG last August, the Danes were said to have been offered 9 million euros (approx US$12.25 million) for an American, of course. They continue to deny the rumor.

Blue Horse Matine's scratch comes after a news-filled week on the international dressage and show jumping scenes, with several horses scratching before the flights even left Europe. Dutch team chef d'equipe Sjef Jansen shocked the dressage world by resigning his post, protesting that the Dutch riders were not serious enough in their preparation for the 2008 Olympics.

Note: I don't usually go overboard about a horse, but I make an exception for Matine. Commentator Richard Davison said of her performance at WEG in Aachen in August 2006: "It is an absolute privilege to watch this horse."


Lameness-specialist farrier consultant needs a part-time apprentice / helper to assist with caseload during eastern Massachusetts appointments at vet clinic and travel to stables. Paid position, approximately 3 or 4 days each month. Pull shoes, clean feet, etc. More work possible for the right person. Great learning potential, lots of opportunities to see digital radiography, cutting edge techniques, etc. in action on top horses and learn to work with veterinarians. Not for beginners. Perfect for someone new to the area, a retired farrier, or someone who aspires to become a lameness-specialist farrier. Send email to

(Do you have jobs to post, queries for literature searches, or other requests? Fran Jurga's HoofBlog is read by thousands of people, from all over the world, each month. This blog is also picked up daily by Google News...and who knows where it goes from there? Contact to arrange a listing. Our friends at Equine Therapies just did! Also consider a classified or display ad in our "real" journal, Hoofcare & Lameness, for maximum penetration in the farrier/vet overlap segment of the horse health sector.)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Pedophile and Farrier: Safe to Mix?

A phone call tip from British farrier Giles Holtom FWCF the other day tipped me off to a row among British farriers over the admission of a young man who is a convicted pedophile into the apprentice scheme in Great Britain.

Apparently Giles and the UK Horse Shoers Union (UKHSU) object to the decision of the Farriers Registration Council (FRC) to admit the fellow into an apprenticeship. It sounds like the FRC, as you may imagine, is bound to follow the letter of the law, which does not discriminate in employment of pedophiles.

But perhaps the law is not quite understanding of the position of trust that many farriers are given by their clients, is the opinion of many of the UKHSU's outspoken critics of this move.

Come to think of it, they are pretty critical of everything the FRC does. Last year, UKHSU member Peter Baker RSS was elected to a seat on the Farriers Registration Council, and has been an agent for change, particularly in the area of farriers having more say in the governance of their own trade.

A few years ago, the roof was patched on our office building. The roofing crew arrived n a big van and worked hard. They used the Hoofcare & Lameness bathroom, came and went with my blessing. One day one of them stopped by my desk and asked me if a knew a fellow here in Gloucester. I said I did, but stuttered that he wasn't around any more, he'd been sent to jail for a long time.

The man brightened and said, "I know, I'm his cellmate!" And that's how I found out that the men on my roof and in my bathroom were a pre-release work crew from the county prison.

I still get the chills thinking about it. Oh yes, and the roof still leaks.

Let's hope the British apprentice works in racing stables and not on family ponies.

You can read some of the facts in a story in this week's printed copy of Horse and Hound, or read the online version of the story, which I think is shortened.

If you think farrier politics in the USA are ripe, take a look at some of the articles posted on the home page at the UK Horse Shoers Union, where many independent-thinking or just plain esoteric farriers have found a voice. Many have axes to grind with the "system" and the "establishment" of British farriery, which makes the freedoms that American farriers enjoy seem well worth fighting for. Their forums (aka bulletin boards) are sort of difficult to understand unless you know the players and organizations. But the characters are larger than life.

A Record Week on the Hoof(care) Blog

I just checked the statistics from the web site, and this week has seen the highest number of visitors to this blog since I've been able to figure out how to count them. I don't know who you are, but thank you all for visiting and I hope the information is of interest and useful.

If you like this blog, you might also like my blog over on called The Jurga Report.

Hooves are still where my heart is, though. If you have ideas for ways that I can improve this blog (I know, more graphics...but if you knew how long it takes to write html code...) or make it more useful to people, please let me know. And make or send news, please!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Farriery Facts and Figures from the UK

One of the hardships of being in the farrier industry in America is that none of us who market to farriers really know who we are marketing to or how many of "them" are out there. No one's counting. Oh, figures get tossed around, like a number attributed to Walt Taylor, who once said that there were about 30,000 farriers in the USA. As I recall, that was at least 20 years ago. Are there more now? Fewer? Are farriers older? younger? We have no idea.

Come to think of it, we don't even really know how many horses are out there, and how many receive regular hoofcare. You can pick a number and do your math.

How different things are in the UK, where the British Equestrian Trade Association just released their statistics on the horse industry. Or so I thought. They seem quite confident in their number of horses, which is 1.35 million. There are 2,473 registerered farriers.

Wait, that math won't fly. That's one farrier for every 546 horses. Shouldn't it be about half that? Or are all those slave-like apprentices really upping the number of horses a master farrier can do in a day? Do these guys ever stand up?

The number that I really like in this study is from the Worshipful Company of Farriers. They report that the farriers in the UK earn a total of $500 million, or roughly $200,000 per farrier. If you divide that by 546 horses, then you see that the average income per horse is about $900.

But when you do the math the other way--gross farrier income divided by total horse population, it comes out to only $360 per horse. That's a pretty big difference. I wonder how they came up with the gross income for the farrier trade.

Farrier statistics are an enigma the world over, I guess.

Palm Beach Laminitis Conference On-Line Registration Site Has Opened

I know that some of you are a little antsy about the details on the upcoming 4th International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot, to be held November 2-4, 2007 at the Palm Beach Convention Center in Palm Beach, Florida.

An online automated registration center has been opened, with registration being handled by the University of Pennsylvania.

The main site for the conference is

Hotel information is on that site as well, or you can call the West Palm Beach Marriott directly at 1-800-376-2292 if you are in the USA: Outside the U.S.: 561-833-1234. You can learn more about the hotel here: Refer to the "Laminitis Conference" when booking your room.

NOTE: There is a special "Laminitis Conference" rate of $139 per night, for reservations made before September 28, 2007. The Marriott is by far the closest hotel to the convention center, but there are other hotels in West Palm Beach if the Marriott sells out quickly. However, you will need to rent a car if you stay elsewhere. If you stay at the Marriott, you can fly in, use the hotel shuttle, and probably never need a car.

The first mailing announcement has gone out to Hoofcare & Lameness Journal subscribers and AAEP members; the committee will be announcing the speaker roster soon. I know that November sounds like a long time from now but soon we will all be so busy that we won't know what month it is!

I've been really pleased to hear how many vets and farriers are planning to attend together as teams. There are so many lectures, in both the "science" and "practice" lecture halls, that one person attending alone would probably get really frustrated. I know that's how I felt at the last one.

Some of the first sponsors to announce their affiliation with the meeting are (in addition to Hoofcare Publishing) Merial, Purina, Castle Bay Farm, and Thoroughbred Charities of America. Many more companies will be added to that list, I'm sure, and/or will be part of the trade show.

"Sponsoring" university vet schools are the University of Pennsylvania, The Ohio State University, and the University of Florida. That said, speakers for the scientific program will represent veterinary colleges from all over the world, including a delegation from the University of Queensland's Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit, headed by Dr. Chris Pollitt as well as major roles played by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital's Podiatry Clinic and the Palm Beach Equine Clinic.

The "practice" side of the program will be a world-class roster of laminitis-specialist veterinarians, nutritionists and an impressive lineup of farriers who will cover a broad range of hoof-related topics in addition to laminitis.

Obesity Awareness: ILPH Takes Scales on the Road to Convince Owners Their Horses are Overweight

To help horse owners establish what the right weight for their horses is, the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) has started a new program called "Right Weight Road Shows" in Great Britain. On these days the general public will be invited to bring their horses to be weighed on a mobile weighbridge.

One of the problems with obesity, the ILPH contends, is that horse owners miscalculate the amount of work their horses actually perform. They may purchase a grain product too high in calories, or feed too much, and some horses need no grain at all for their sedentary lifestyles.

"It costs significantly more, takes longer and is far more difficult to rehabilitate an obese horse than an emaciated one," writes the ILPH on their new "obesity" web page.

"An emaciated horse that comes into ILPH care, providing it has no underlying conditions, can be back to the correct weight within three months," they write. "Conversely, a horse which is obese simply through overfeeding rather than because of some underlying cause, will take in the region of nine months to get to the correct weight. They are likely to suffer some long-term damage such as joint problems and, at the very least, their weight will always need monitoring. This is because once fat cells have been formed they will stay in the body forever, so a horse which has been overweight will become fat again far more easily.

"Many of the overweight horses and ponies we deal with will also suffer from laminitis, the treatment of which is prolonged and very expensive," says the ILPH.

In other ILPH news, the group is celebrating a court ruling on April 5th that levied a lifetime ban from keeping horses on an owner who neglected a pony's hooves.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

New Virginia law: Non-veterinarian horse dentists will be regulated as of July 1, 2007

According to the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the Commonwealth of Virginia's General Assembly session recently passed a law to regulate the practice of equine dentistry performed by someone other than a veterinarian. The new law states that only a registered equine dental technician (EDT) or a licensed veterinarian can work on a horse’s teeth professionally. It also outlines what procedures require a vet’s supervision, or must be performed by a veterinarian, whena horse is being worked on by an EDT.

A very interesting part of the new law is that International Association of Equine Dentists certification is listed as a requirement for non-veterinarians and non-veterinary technicians but that the exclusion to the certification is if the applicant can prove that he or she has been performing equine dentistry for five or more years and has the recommendation of two veterinarians.

There is some vague language in the bill, such as the words "board-approved" training program that may be defined in some document other than what is shown on the Internet.

To be specific, it reads: The Board may register a person as an equine dental technician who meets the following criteria: (i) satisfactory evidence that he is of good moral character, (ii) recommendations from at least two licensed veterinarians with practice bases that are at least fifty percent equine, and (iii) evidence that he holds current certification from the International Association of Equine Dentistry or a Board-approved certification program or has satisfactorily completed a Board-approved training program. The Board may register individuals who have not completed a Board-approved training program or do not hold a current certification from the International Association of Equine Dentistry or a Board-approved certification program if they have engaged in acts considered to be those of an equine dental technician as set forth in subsections C and D of this section for at least 5 years and provide the following: (i) satisfactory evidence of length of time of practice, (ii) recommendations from at least two licensed veterinarians with practice bases that are at least fifty percent equine, and (iii) proof of continued competency satisfactory to the Board.

The law prohibits non-veterinarians from using power tools in a horse's mouth and is quite specific what a technician can and cannot do without a veterinary license.

Read the complete law here.

The legislator who sponsored the bill has a web page on the bill where you can read its history. This bill flew through the state legislature in 90 days and passed unanimously every time it came up for a vote.

The new law takes effect on July 1, 2007.

Farrier Bill Crowder Has Died in Georgia

I just saw news of Bill Crowder's death on April 2; it is posted on the American Farrier's Association's web site:

Bill Crowder was vice-president of the Georgia Professional Farriers Association from 1992-93 and president from 1994-95; he operated a farrier school in the early 1970s. Bill worked as a farrier at the Olympics Games in Atlanta in 1996 as well as the Pan Am and Rolex 3-day events. In addition to his farrier activities, he was Past President of the American Cowboy Association.

According to the AFA: "Bill was very instrumental in the Georgia Professional Farriers Association even when he was not an officer. He held meetings and clinics at his shop. He strengthened the membership and got sponsors. He loved to teach or help other farriers. He didn't do it to gain credit for himself but only to help others become better farriers. Many of today's farriers have worked under Bill or have worked under someone who worked under Bill. Because of that, his legacy will continue. He is and will continue to be greatly missed."

Bill lived in Alpharetta, Georgia and has been a subscriber to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal since 1989. He was also involved in promoting Corona ointment for horses' wounds and I often saw him at trade shows around the country. He was always friendly, cordial and really interested in everything that was going on related to horses' feet and legs. I'll miss Bill. He was both professional and likeable--a magic combination that every one of us should emulate.

"EQUINE PODIATRY" Textbook Will Be Published in May; Reserve Your Copy Now!

First Announcement!
EQUINE PODIATRY by Drs. Andrea Floyd and Richard Mansmann
Estimated price $125 plus $10 post in USA (subject to change)
Available in May 2007

DESCRIPTION: Comprehensive text covers not only shoeing, but also medical and surgical foot care. Starting with anatomy and physiology, this one-of-a-kind book then evaluates the foot’s pathological conditions (structural, developmental, and traumatic conditions in addition to laminitis), balancing and shoeing the healthy and diseased hoof, and ends with new directions in equine podiatry, written by cutting-edge researchers. Written by and for both vets and farriers, this book eases collaboration on proper care of the foot. (text supplied by publisher)

• Gross Anatomy: Structure and Function
• Biomechanics of the Equine Hoof
• Microscopic Anatomy and Physiology
• Hoof Nutrition
• Visual Inspection and Manual Evaluation
• Diagnostic Analgesia of the Equine Foot
• Diagnostic Imaging
• Developmental Conditions
• Pathologic Conditions of the External Hoof Capsule
• Pathologic Conditions of the Internal Hoof Capsule
• Chronic Heel Pain
• Laminitis
• Principles of Trimming and Shoeing
• Discipline-Specific Trimming and Shoeing
• Shoeing the Diseased Hoof
• Shoeing the Diseased Limb
• Digital Amputation and Prosthetic Management
• Preventive Footcare
• Client/Farrier/Veterinarian Relations
• The Future of Equine Podiatry
• Bibliography, Appendix, Index

NOTE: This book is being offered sight-unseen, based on the reputation of the authors and discussion with Dr Floyd. I am sure that a review and/or excerpts from the book will be posted on this blog and/or published in Hoofcare & Lameness Journal, but for now, this is the only information available. Dr. Floyd is a laminitis-specialist practitioner and founder of Serenity Equine Clinic in Virginia; I highly recommend her web site,

FORMAT: Hardbound, approx 8.5 x 11”, 480 pg, 650 photos, radiographs, and illustrations, 400 in color

DELIVERY TERMS: Allow 2-3 weeks for delivery in US.

PAYMENT: Visa/Mastercard accepted or mail a check, no invoicing. US funds only. Pre-payment required on all orders; charges initiated when books are ready to ship. Visa/Mastercard required to hold copies.

Foreign orders: Until the weight of the book is disclosed, we cannot estimate shipping costs or time. You can reserve a copy for immediate shipment and we will notify you of the postage if it is outrageous.

HOW TO ORDER: Fax (best method) orders to USA 978 283 8775. Telephone orders to USA 978 281 3222; voice mail available for orders: speak slowly and leave all relevant information. If calling from a cell phone, please leave contact information twice. We will try to confirm receipt of all orders. Email orders to

(Here's a sneak peak at a couple of the excellent illustrations from the book; double click on the image to enlarge.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Aintree Peoples Race "Jockey/Farrier" Had Never Sat on a Racehorse Before...

Welsh farrier Mark Galliers DWCF is counting the days now until he will be put to the test in the ultimate racing "reality show." The Welsh farrier was chosen as one of ten jockeys out of 3500 applicants to race in the People's Race on Grand National Day at Aintree in England. The catch: all had to be amateurs. The prize: Almost $200,000 to the charity of the winning jockey's choice.

Mark is farrier at the raceyard of trainer Evan Williams, who is coaching him and providing his mount. Mark's winnings--if he can beat the pawnbroker, the bricklayer, the fireman and other non-jockeys--will go to a Welsh children's charity cancer.

The race sponsor produced this video about the selection process and followed the green jockeys through their crash (sometimes literally) course at the British Racing School in Newmarket.

You can place a bet at Ladbrokes OTB online; click through sports to racing to Grand National and then look for "Peoples Race." I'm not sure if you have to be in the UK to bet through Ladbrokes or not. The race will also be shown live on the BBC's telecast of the Grand National.

Here's a link to the latest reports on Mark's campaign to become super-fit and psyched to win:

Grand National Farrier/Jockey Journal Online

Mark Galliers is the Welsh farrier selected to become an overnight jockey sensation and ride on Grand National Day at Aintree this Saturday in a race that will donate almost $200,000 to the charity of his choice. If Mark wins, that money will go a children's cancer fund.

The Mirror newspaper in England has been publishing a journal of Mark's progress in riding up to 11 horses a day for trainer Evan Williams, who is his coach. Mark's also training on an Equiciser, which is a mechanical horse.

So far, I haven't found any mention of this being a reality television show, but it certainly sounds like one.

Mark's odds went from 3-1 yesterday to 8-1 today. One of the other riders must have received some good publicity! You can bet on Mark, if you can figure out if it's legal or not, through the Ladbrokes site. Speaking of odds, more than 3,500 people applied to ride in this race!

Mark is a Diplomate of the Worshopful Company of Farriers, and has been qualified in the UK since 1993. He's also a rugby player. I'm not sure if that would be a help or a handicap.

There are still something like 68 horses entered for the Grand National. I had never seen this race from start to finish,but last year the BBC posted the entire race video on their web site. It took something like nine minutes for the few horses that finished to get around the course.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Welsh Farrier Will Ride at Aintree on Grand National Day

Welsh farrier Mark Galliers is one of ten private citizens chosen from thousands of applicants to ride in The People's Race on Grand National Day (Saturday, April 14) at Liverpool, England's fabled Aintree racecourse.

Mark has turned into one of the favorites in the race after the following article appeared in England's widely read Sunday Mirror newspaper on April 1, 2007. The "John Smith's" referred to the article is the brewery sponsoring the race. Ladbroke's is a betting agency in England that is offering wagering on the ten less-than-novice riders.
Here's the article that appeared on April 1 and shot Mark into the favorite's position:

Today, in conjuction with the Sunday Mirror, John Smith's reveals that Farrier Mark Galliers will have an extra spring in his step when he takes part in the John Smith's People's Race at Aintree on Saturday week. Because Galliers has invented a "go-faster" horseshoe that is set to revolutionise horse racing.

The new shoe is lighter and more aerodynamic. Unlike the traditional metal shoe, it is manufactured in a reusable heavy-duty plastic casing which is fitted with four simple AA batteries. When triggered from a remote-control device fitted behind the horse's head, the batteries send a soothing pulse to the hooves, which helps calm the animal and make it more receptive to the jockey's instructions.

Race sponsors John Smith's - whose brand logo incidentally features a horseshoe - are funding the project which is codenamed Pegasus.

Polar Foil, Galliers' mount in the John Smith's People's Race, will test the new footwear in the nine-furlong charity race on Grand National day at Aintree, with the horseshoe expected to be in general use by the end of the year.

Aintree Managing Director Charles Barnett has welcomed the innovation and it is understood that racehorse owners in the US have also expressed an interest in the new product.

The John Smith's People's Race will see 10 members of the public competing at Aintree on April 14 to win a share of the £100,000 charity prize donated by brewers Scottish Newcastle and Ladbrokes, the bookmaker.

(As said, this article was published in one of England's most popular newspapers on Sunday, April 1.)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Neurectomy Ethics Rear Up Again in California

Digital neurectomy, or "nerving", is a controversial procedure in the horse world, and always has been. It seems to be much more accepted in the western USA than in other places, but many horses, particularly with navicular-type pain, are "nerved" as a salvage procedure to allow them relief from the pain.

The controversy is more over how safe it would be to ride the horse after it has been nerved. I remember Montana farrier instructor/author/legend Scott Simpson lecturing on this subject at a Bluegrass Laminitis Symposium years ago. I wonder if I still have his paper. He had no qualms about roping competitively on a nerved horse.

Around here, some people would like to see a nerved horse branded so that if it changes hands, an unsuspecting rider won't be hurt if the horse stumbles. That said, it is a pretty common procedure. The veterinarian simply severs the branch of the nerves that sensitize the heel part of the foot.

A lawsuit has been reported in California; the story is posted on today. Apparently an Arizona owner claimed a runner who turned out to be nerved and is suing the trainer (who is the son of a farrier) and veterinarian (who happens to be the veterinary officer for the state racing concerns and a former AAEP president). There are more familiar names in this story; the executive director of California's racing board is the wife of a well-known farrer.

The impetus for the lawsuit is not that the horse broke down or that an exercise rider was injured when the horse stumbled. Arizona has a law against nerved runners, so the horse was not allowed to enter a race. Period.

California has no such law. According to California law, the vet and trainer did nothing wrong; there is no law requiring disclosure of nerving on a sale horse or against allowing a nerved horse to race. (This is the same state that is banning toe grabs for welfare reasons.)

Read the full story by clicking here, and then come back to leave a comment (click on the comment button and type in the box) and let's here your two cents.

Dr. Chris Pollitt and Farrier Richard Hansen Will Tour New Zealand on Lecture Circuit

The New Zealand Equine Research Foundation is hosting Australian veterinarian and laminitis researcher Dr. Chris Pollitt and farrier Richard Hansen for a three-stop tour of laminitis education in May. The stops are at racecourses in Hamilton on May 20, Palmerston North on May 23, and Christchurch on May 27.

Lecture topics by Dr. Pollitt include: "The horse's foot - the inside story"; "Laminitis theory - shots around the target"; "Putting out the fire - laminitis prevention"; and "After the crash - lessons from chronic laminitis."

Topics by Richard Hansen: "Chains of Communication - Responsibilities when caring for the laminitic horse - a farrier's view": and "Supporting the Laminitic Horse - Making and applying support shoes."

Dr. Pollitt is professor of companion animal medicine and surgery at the University of Queensland in Australia and director of the Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit.

Richard Hansen is the president of the Australian Farriers and Blacksmiths Association, and the author of Australia's first national certification testing program, which will be launched soon.
The lectures are sponsored by Bomac Laboratories. For more information, call Bev Stern at 06 356 4940 or fax 06 354 2885.