Everybody loves Saratoga Springs, New York in August, and in the worldwide horse business in August, a lot of people pass through town. And others are looking for a reason to go! Thoroughbred racing, Standardbred racing, polo, and yearling sales are just the tip of the equine iceberg.
For the third year, Hoofcare & Lameness will be the catalyst to get people together on Tuesday nights with some educational and social activities. We've worked out a schedule that has something for everyone and invite you to join us on Lake Avenue in downtown Saratoga on Tuesdays. If you need a hotel room, we have a special "Hoofcare" rate at the Fairfield Inn in Malta, NY (one exit south); call (518) 899-6900.
(Week One is July 31 with Dr Don Walsh of the Animal Health Foundation speaking on new laminitis developments; it has its own post if you just scroll down the blog.)
WEEK 2: Tuesday August 7 at 7 p.m.: Meet Stacey Small, of Equilite and Sore No More products, to talk about leg care. Stacey has worked at the track and has a great deal of experience in the show ring. She is thinking way ahead of us about barn routines, rehab, and health-conscious ways to manage horses.
Our headliners that night will be two farriers from Kentucky, Mitch Taylor and Steve Norman, who will take a break from the yearling sales to talk about their work with the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation's Horse Welfare and Safety committee on hoofcare. In particular, they will talk about the committee's study of toe grabs on the front feet of racehorses. They'll share examples of some innovations for racehorse hoofcare and answer questions. Mitch has a terrific PowerPoint presentation with slo-mo video and great images.
Note: SPECIAL SESSION August 7 at 5 pm:
Ad hoc info session for owners, trainers, and farriers before the Yearling Sales related to the bans some states have initiated against front toe grabs. Members of the committee will be at the Parting Glass to answer questions, share research, and listen.
WEEK 3 Tuesday August 14 at 7 p.m.:
Meet some Hoofcare heroes! Anatomy expert Allie Hayes of HorseScience creates leg and hoof models for vets and farriers to study normal and abnormal anatomy and the structural integrity of the foot. Dr. Frank Gravlee, inventor of Farriers Formula, will be on hand to answer questions about nutrition and laminitis, and sign copies of his new book, "Laminitis and Founder: Prevention and Treatment", co-authored with Dr. Doug Butler.
WEEK 4 Tuesday August 21 at 7 p.m:
Bring your hoofish questions and concerns to two experts from different ends of the farrier world. Michael Wildenstein is Adjunct Associate Professor of Farrier Medicine and Surgery at Cornell University. He'll talk about foot infections and the new strange sole and wall fungus that is affecting hooves in addition to the usual thrush, canker, and white line disease. Mike is seeing it all at Cornell and is a great teacher.
Our second speaker is someone who has seen it all as well, In fact, he's probably seen it all twice. Veteran farrier Bob Skradzio from Pennsylvania is one of America's most admired farriers. He gives the perspective of common-sense solutions to problems, gleaned from more than 50 years of shoeing, and is always a big hit for his friendly, generous nature. This man has legend status, and it is well-earned.
Do you have some interesting old shoes or stable tools? Bring them on the 21st, let's keep history alive!
Note: SPECIAL SESSION August 21 afternoon demo program in the shoeing shop at nearby Skidmore College Equestrian Center with Mike and Bob, hosted by Jim Santore.
HEARTFELT THANK YOUs: These events could not take place without the support of groups like the Animal Health Foundation and the Jockey Club Grayson Foundation and help from the Parting and the Saratoga Special newspaper. Life Data Labs, who helped the past two years as well, will sponsor weeks 3 and 4. Special personal thanks to key advisers Frieda Garrison and Jim Santore and Hoofcare's growing community of friends and subscribers in Saratoga! If you enjoy these events, credit goes to those organizations and individuals.
Please join us if you possibly can. There is no charge to attend these events and I would love to see you. Bring a friend.