Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Survival of the Best Informed: Convention Insider's Guide Published

Once again this year, Hoofcare and Lameness Journal has collaborated with Vettec to produce an official insider's tip sheet for the American Farrier's Association convention, which begins in Lexington, Kentucky on Thursday. Here you see the front cover, which is graced by a Michael Murfin painting of a farrier competition. Competitions for the AFA this year will be held in the arena at the Kentucky Horse Park outside Lexington.

Anyone headed to the convention? If so, I can email you a pdf version of the Survival Guide so you can read our suggestions.

A few facts about the convention:

600 farriers from all over the world have pre-registered...

A big crowd is expected on Saturday, March 1 for a half-day program on racehorse shoeing and toe grab research...

Allie Hayes of Horse Science has revived the "anatomy lab" concept and has a crew of distinguished crew leaders including Dr. Ric Redden and AFA President Dave Ferguson. The lab this year will be on Thursday and Friday mornings and have a "wet" component with dissection groups supervised by Paul O'Sullivan of Kentucky Horseshoeing School. Water Varcoe will have a complete horse skeleton on display in the lab.

Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital has two speakers: Dr. Scott Morrison, who will speak on injuries and distortion of the hoof capsule, and farrier Chuck Jones, who will speak on therapeutic shoeing of sport horses, primarily show hunters.

The trade show has 98 companies listed as exhibitors. The big booths seem to be Delta Horseshoe Company and Farrier Product Distribution, each of whom has a city block of booths! Vettec will have a big presence too; they will be teaching everyone about their new Sole Guard product for barefoot horses. (See previous post on Sole Guard from February 1.)

Booths I will visit: Harry Patton Horseshoeing Supplies (Ada Gates has designed a new hoof measuring tool that I want to check out); Life Data Labs, to check out their expanded line of supplements; Vibram (as in the soles of your work boots; they are now making horse hoof pads); Footings Unlimited because I really do need to learn more about footing; AirShod because I want to see how the pump-me-up shoe inserts are going; Gibbins UK because Carl Bettison is bring over a treasure trove of old farrier books from England and they are for sale!

I want to check in with Thoro-Bred and Victory to see if either has plans for a shoe specifically designed for synthetic tracks, and with TracMe Shoes to see how their improvements are going with the high-tech new aluminum shoes.

The best things at trade shows are the ones that you don't know about until you get there. I'm sure there will be the usual flood of new products from all corners of the globe and I am prepared to be amazed at the world's largest hoof products trade show!

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