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Monday, March 09, 2009

Hoofcare 101 Part One: Anatomy Basics Refresher Course Video with Nate Allen

This blog is read by hoofcare professionals of all levels and stripes and ranks and religions. It is also read by hundreds of people each day who are just "passing through" and are interested in a specific aspect of the hoof, or maybe manufacture a product or are horseowners looking for a clue that will help a lame horse.

Farrier instructor Nate Allen of Allen Farrier Service in Juanita, Nebraska and Central Community Technical College in Hastings, Nebraska, narrates this and other videos in the series that I will be posting in short segments so as not to overwhelm you all. This project is made possible by support from the University of Nebraska and Purina Mills through the Cooperative Extension Service network of educational agriculture resource providers and, an educational partnership of 74 universities in the United States.

Note: if you think this video is too basic for you, be patient. The series has to walk before it can run, and I think it is a good idea both to review basic anatomy and learn the terms and principles that Nate Allen will prefer to use in later videos. Anatomy doesn't change and is not a creative subject, but people do approach it in different ways and educators tend to vary in the way that they stress the roles of different structures.

I should probably add that throughout these videos, Nate is sharing his own point of view on subjects like sole pressure, hoof expansion, the role of structures in hoof mechanism, etc. and I realize that many people do not share the tried-and-true farrier science approach. Again, these videos are what a mainstream, middle-of-the-road well-educated farrier instructor thinks people should know about hoofcare. He has put a lot of work into this project and deserves a lot credit and respect, whether you agree with him or not.

You could also download these videos and use them for educating horse owners, or run them on a loop at a trade show booth. You can't go wrong by starting with the basics...and no matter what people tell you, most of them can't find their way around the most basic anatomy diagram and have forgotten everything they learned decades ago in Pony Club or 4-H. Letting them watch this refresher-course video may save them a lot of embarrassment, and you'll be even more of a hero than you already are.

© 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


Anonymous said...

Great video, it will be interesting indeed to follow the developments of this series of clips. Well done, long over due!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! This concerned horse owner appreciates this video on basic anatomy. I'll stay tuned for more.

Heidi Meyer said...

Nice job, lots of info :)

Too bad we don't have a healthy balanced cadaver hoof (lots of bruising in the toe on this horse...high heel.) The exterior photo also could have been turned a bit more so that the hairline at the heel could be seen.
Overall, nice job....will pass this on.