A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum.
The Forum, in this case, would be the Ninth Global Dressage Forum, held last week at the Academy Bartels training center in Hooge Mierde, the Netherlands. And the funny thing was that a farrier was a speaker at this event for the first time, and no one thought that unusual at all. What's more, they paid extremely close attention to his advice.
The farrier? I can only think of a few who can hold the attention of an arena full of dressage experts, many of whom would be testing their own opinions against the farrier/speaker's.
But no one can argue with this farrier's results. Horses from many countries shod and/or trimmed by Rob Renirie have won an amazingly consistent stream of Olympic, World, and European medals for the past ten years. He jokes about it, pokes fun at his clients, but has taken care of the horses they've asked him to keep in tune with the ground.
No, Hoofcare & Lameness was not lucky enough to be in Holland for Rob's lecture, but we have friends all over the world and some of them were very helpful at this event. Astrid Appels of EuroDressage.com has written an excellent summary of Rob's presentation on her web site, and I would encourage you to go there and read the entire article (and see the photos).
While Rob is best known for his Olympic gold medalist client Anky Van Grunsven, he cares for the hooves of many of Europe's top horses and travels with the Dutch team to international events. He also works with veterinarians on a regular basis, both on sport horse injuries and special clinical cases.
Here are some key points from Rob, as passed along by Astrid. Remember, English is not Rob's native language, although he speaks it very well:
"The frog is important for the blood supply and to absorb shocks. You have to leave it as big as possible and leave the bars in. The sole is as thick on the toe as on the heel. You have to leave the toe as thick as possible."
"The coronet band determines the shape of the shoe."
(Referring to Adelinde Cornelissen's successful European Championships dressage horse) "Parzival had flat underrun heels and the wrong shoes. He is wide in front and narrow in the heel. We worked on him a few times and the horse had a tremendous recover in his feet."
Rob restated his sentiment from lectures in 2007 at the laminitis conference in Palm Beach that side clips are undesirable and can distort the wall. "They get too tight on the feet."
"Do not correct the feet, but protect the feet."
"We keep our horses as prisoners in a stable, which is not good for the blood supply."
Rob restated that his own horses are not shod and that he feels that is the best way for a horse to be, qualifying that advice for horses that don't have hoof problems and are not moved between radically different surfaces.
After the lecture, a group of attendees had a special opportunity to enter the stables of Dutch team rider Imke Schellekens-Bartels, and review the hooves of some of the horses at hand.
Note: Rob has a web site, though there's not much on it. There is some nice music and some images of his work and especially his fabulous shoeing van and some scenes from his worldwide travels. Click here to go to Rob's web site; just click on the photos at the lower left and they should begin to change.
Thank you to Eurodressage.com
© 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, www.hoofcare.com, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.