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.