Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New DVD Announcement: "From the Ground Up" Hosted by Ian McKinlay, with Trainers from All Sports, Is Big Brown's Legacy

by Fran Jurga | 20 May 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

This brief trailer is a promotion for the two-disc 3.5 hour "From the Ground Up" video library compiled by hoof repair specialist Ian McKinlay and many leading horsemen (see list below). The set is sold for $50 plus $6 post in the USA; $12 elsewhere (USA format DVD only). To order call 01 978 281 3222. fax 01978 283 8775 or email

"Quarter Crack" might be Ian McKinlay's middle name. A year ago, you couldn't turn on the television or open a newspaper without seeing his face, as all eyes turned to the hoof repair specialist for insight into Big Brown's chances to win the Triple Crown: would the colt be sound? Could he win with two healing wall separations and a quarter crack?

A year later, McKinlay is still working quietly on the backside of Belmont Park in the morning but he's just finished a bigger idea, and we're rolling it out this month for you.

"From the Ground Up" is a 3.5 hour 2-disc DVD library that explores what can and does go wrong on the track and in the show ring, and how it affects the people in charge. Ian spent months interviewing his clients and his colleagues--top trainers, farriers and veterinarians--and asking them what their experiences with hoof problems at the highest level could teach to all horsemen.

Ian interspersed their words of wisdom and recollections with cases of nasty hoof imbalance, white line disease, wall separations and quarter cracks. His famous Dremel tool is busy in this series and there is some promotion for his glue-on Yasha shoe toward the end, but for the most part this is an educational production at a very low price.

The six segments of the two discs are: 1. Foundation; 2. Pre-Purchase; 3. Diagnosis; 4. Causes and Solutions; 5. Balancing the Hoof; 6. Prevention.

There are a lot of extremes in this DVD. Some of the trainers speak in vague generalities, and the feet that Ian shows and works on are wrecks from the racetrack that are collapsed beyond what most viewers might ever see; these horses obviously started with a weak foot and nothing was done to help the horse until it was deemed a crisis.

This is not an instructional DVD, per se; I would hope that no one would watch it and then pick up a Dremel drill and start removing parts of a horse's foot. But from nicely-dressed Olympic and Triple Crown trainers sitting in the sun to horses with big chunks of hoof missing, this DVD at least starts to connect some of the dots.

When some of our most valuable horses have some of the most miserable lameness problems, the irony has to be that Ian McKinlay never says the obvious: the best trainers should have the best horses and the best horses should be sound and not need a hoof repair specialist on speed-dial. But it never seems to work this way.

This DVD is a little bit of Entertainment Tonight meets Food Network, or maybe This Old House. Ian is an excellent host. Celebrity talking heads "tell all" about their hoof problems; notable vets and farriers lean on hammers philosophically and sharp knives trim off dead tissue while sheared heels and collapsed frogs make you wonder if gravity will ever show mercy.

Starring from Thoroughbred racing: Bob Baffert, Richard Mandella, D. Wayne Lukas.

Trainers featured: John Campbell (harness racing), Bruce Davidson (eventing), Anne Kursinski (jumpers), Ian Millar (jumpers), Bryant Pace (reining), Havens Schott (hunters), Betsy Steiner (dressage), Ted Turner (Quarter horses)

Farriers featured: Jim Bayes, Doyle Blagg, Tom Curl, Hank Joseph, and Dwight Sanders

Veterinarians featured: Drs John Steele and Alan Donnell.

Note: The DVD would be really long if viewed at once but it is divided into chapters to make it easier to both find points for reference and to view it in parts.

This is a very ambitious project and should stimulate interest in making more DVDs that step back and take a wider look at the "why" of hoof problems rather than just the "problem:solution" approach. Is it a horseowner DVD? Is it a farrier/vet DVD? You can make up your own mind but I know you'll enjoy watching it while you decide.

© 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