Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Favorite Photo: This Horse Was In Good Hands

by Fran Jurga | 11 March 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

"You're in Good Hands" by Dwight Usry

This photo just showed up in my email a while ago. I thought it was quite beautiful...and even moreso when I realized what I was looking at.

This horse's toe crack has been patched with PMMA adhesive, which will harden into a shell-like covering that closely mimics the hoof wall. Plastic wrap is placed over the material while it sets and the farrier is smoothing the big patch as it goes through its processes from a pastey liquid to a solid when it is exposed to the air after mixing the two parts together.

The same procedure is used to build up heels, fill in gaps in the wall or sometimes cover a quarter crack patch. A similar process was used in the 2008 Triple Crown by hoof repair specialist Ian McKinlay in his work on Big Brown's separations and crack. The material also can be used to glue shoes onto hooves.

By feeling the texture and heat through the plastic, the farrier will know when it is safe to put the foot down. Once hardened, the patch can be rasped and shaped and may be indistinguishable from the "real" wall at the quarters if the job is done with skill.

You can be pretty sure that was the case here; those long fingers that look like they should belong to an artist or musician were Mr. Edgar Watson's, an expert farrier from Keswick, Virginia. Eddie died this fall, and the farrier world hasn't been the same since.

I'd like to thank Dwight Usry of Peak's Forge in Hanover, Virginia for sharing this photo.

Architect's drawing of the Britt-Watson Veterinarian/Farrier Facility to be built in Virginia in memory of farrier Eddie Watson. The location is The Meadow Event Center; The Meadow is the farm where Secretariat was foaled. The farm was recently taken over as a horse show park and will be the new site of the Virginia State Fair.

Be sure to watch for news of Dwight's fundraiser for the Britt-Watson Veterinarian/Farrier Facility to be built in Mr. Watson's memory at The Meadow Event Park, a new horse park and home for the state fair, built on the farm in Doswell, Virginia where Secretariat was born. Farrier Product Distribution (FPD) has already kicked off the fundraising with a $1000 donation. If you'd like to chip in, I can fax the donation form to you or click here to send Dwight an email.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask.

Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page).

To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site,, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found.

Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to