Friday, November 26, 2010

Vascular Plastination Casts of Equine Feet Ready for Shipping from Hoofcare Publishing

Note: these casts are temporarily not in stock. Because of the delicate work involved, they will be offered on a "special order" basis in the future. Please contact us to find out what the status of supply is at any time and we'll do our best to assist you. We do also sell beautiful posters of images of the blood supply

A plastinated "corrosion cast" of the blood supply in a horse's foot is created from the foot of a cadaver. Plastic is injected into the veins and, after removing the hoof capsule and processing away any non-vascular tissue, what is left is virtually a three-dimensional venogram. Hoofcare and Lameness is offering these for sale on a special order or as-available basis beginning in November 2010.

This over-exposed and light-enhanced image of a corrosion casting shows the delicate structure of the blood supply inside the hoof capsule.

Hoofcare and Lameness is now taking orders for full-hoof vascular casts, preserved by the plastination process of Dr. Christoph von Horst of HC Biovision in Germany. Dr. von Horst will be shipping these to the USA.

Some of you may have seen the half-hoof cast that has been on display in the Hoofcare and Lameness booth in the past. Everyone wanted it, but it wasn't for sale. A special-order trial set of casts was sold this spring, and new sets have followed.

The cost for a whole hoof corrosion casting in the USA is $352 plus $10 shipping. The casts cannot be shipped to foreign addresses.

The plastic is quite resilient, but these models should be handled with care. It's hard to imagine a better tool to explain why a venogram is needed, or as an asset to an anatomy class.

Photos can be shown to preview a model. They vary in the amount of detail and thickness in the hoof wall and sole; many have high detail in the coronary band papillae and digital veins.

One model that has been popular was affixed to a plexiglas base, making handling easier and insuring longer life. To view the underside, you can just look through the plexiglas. This is an excellent model for anyone who would use the model in a classroom setting.

A great variation exists in the amount of capillary tissue that has clung to the plastic through the mastication process. Models with more external capillaries are attractive to represent the whole hoof and the complexity of the hoof's blood supply; models with fewer capillaries allow better examination inside the capsule and more attractive light transmission for photography. The two models in the photographs with this article illustrate the extremes of these variations.

Partial models mimic venograms of horses with severe laminitis so that the owner can see in three dimensions what the damage to the vascular system might look like. This is just a gross approximation and is not meant to represent any particular case or stage of laminitis, but to illustrate where the damage might have occurred. These partial models are fragile.

Special orders can be arranged with Dr. Von Horst if you are looking for a vascular model of a certain type of foot. The casts available are a mixture of front and hind feet of average-sized, presumably healthy horses with no medical history available.

Please contact Fran Jurga at 978 281 3222 or email to inquire about the models. They are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Pre-payment is required on all orders.

Hoofcare & Lameness has some amazing plastinated equine educational tools from HC Biovision.

These models are used in natural history museums, universities, veterinary hospitals, farrier clinics, and natural trimming schools around the world. They are permanent, low-maintenance, colorful, and durable preservations of actual tissue slices of horse hoof and limb tissue.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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
Follow the Hoof Blog on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
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Equine Pituitary Dysfunction Test Choices Analyzed by New Bolton Center's Jill Beech VMD

In our new age of horses as companion animals, a significant proportion of our equine population would be considered into or at least approaching the geriatric phase of life. Equine pituitary disease and disorders are a concern in the horse-owning public and what we call simply "Cushings Disease" is being studied by researchers as a complex condition or even set of conditions and/or disease.

For horse owners, the problem is always to obtain a definitive diagnosis and to understand a prognosis, if it is possible to have one. Laminitis, in subtle or complex forms, often is a side effect of pituitary disease and any progress in understanding, diagnosing and treating the disease more effectively is welcome. Here's an update from one researcher at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jill Beech VMD presented data resulting from recent research at the Dorothy Havemeyer Geriatric Workshop in Cambridge, Massachusetts, October 24-27. Dr. Beech (show left, University of Pennsylvania photo) is the Georgia E. and Philip B. Hofmann Professor of Medicine and Reproduction at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, PA. Her clinical and research expertise is focused on equine pituitary disease and disorders. The Dorothy Russell Havemeyer Foundation, Inc. is a private foundation that conducts scientific research to improve the general health and welfare of horses.

Dr. Beech’s research compared two different diagnostic tests, using two different hormones, to measure equine pituitary dysfunction. “First,” says Dr. Beech, “I compared measuring alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone [MSH] with measuring adrenocorticotropic hormone [ACTH] to determine if one hormone was superior to the other in making a diagnosis. MSH is more specific for the part of the pituitary that is abnormal in horses with Cushing’s disease.”

Although both hormones are secreted from that area, ACTH is also secreted from another area in the pituitary, so it was hypothesized that MSH would be more specific and a better hormone for evaluation. Results, however, did not indicate that MSH was a more sensitive or specific indicator for pituitary dysfunction. Those data, along with the fact that ACTH, but not MSH, can be measured in diagnostic laboratories available to veterinarians has important practical application.

“This means,” says Dr. Beech, “that veterinarians can continue to measure ACTH in a reliable laboratory. At New Bolton Center, we use the laboratory at Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania or the New York State diagnostic laboratory at Cornell.”

Data collected also indicates that when horses have high levels of these hormones, single samples can be misleading due to variability of endogenous concentrations; veterinarians should therefore obtain several basal samples for ACTH measurement.

“If basal levels of ACTH are high, it can be an indication that the horse has Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction [PPID] or Cushing’s Disease. However, some affected horses have normal basal levels, and in those cases,” says Dr. Beech, “ACTH response to a thyroid releasing hormone [TRH] test should be performed. Affected horses have an abnormal and prolonged increase in their ACTH levels compared to normal horses.”

She and her co-investigators also compared the TRH stimulation test to the domperidone stimulation test, a diagnostic test that initially appeared promising for diagnosing pituitary disease in horses. In this population of horses, the domperidone stimulation test did not appear as good as the TRH stimulation test in differentiating horses with PPID from normal horses.

--end press release--

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Video: Virginia Tech Vet School Farrier Volunteered at World Equestrian Games

It wasn't long ago that this blog was announcing that Travis Burns had been chosen as the first resident farrier to work at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).

It only took about six months for Travis to be settled in enough at the job to answer the call of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. He signed on with the American Farrier's Association (AFA) to volunteer his services during the eventing portion of the Games.

All of the 70 or so volunteer farriers did a great job, but I think that Travis is probably the only one with a public relations department waiting to work on his behalf. So let's say that this video is a blanket salute to all the men and women who pitched in to help.

I'm sure Travis would agree.

Working at the eventing part of the Games was a natural for Travis. Before moving to Blacksburg for his position at the vet school, Travis worked at Forging Ahead in Round Hill, Virginia, outside Middleburg and, after college and farrier school, went through the group practice's formal farrier career-track internship program . Forging Ahead specializes in sport horses and lameness therapy, and the client list reads like a who's who of the sport of eventing.

All the farriers--young and old--who staffed the events at the World Equestrian Games were a great group who traveled to Lexington from all over the United States. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I'm sure none of them knew exactly what to expect. It could have been pouring rain or a tornado might have passed through, but the weather was friendly and their service was, too. They took a chance, gave up their earnings at home for a few days, and traveled at their own expense, but I doubt any of them regrets the time spent volunteering or being part of that event. There will probably never be a "next time".

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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
Follow the Hoof Blog on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
Join the Hoofcare + Lameness Facebook Page

Friday, November 19, 2010

¿Habla usted del casco? Grayson-Jockey Club DVD on Thoroughbred Hooves Now Available in Spanish

The DVD is one segment of the Shoeing and Hoof Care Committee's efforts to study and improve the safety for racehorses through hoof-related education.
The Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit’s Shoeing and Hoof Care Committee has released a Spanish-language version of its educational DVD, The Hoof: Inside and Out, entitled, El Casco: Por Dentro y Por Fuera.

“Spanish-speaking individuals constitute a significant percentage of our horses’ caregivers, so it is only natural and in the best interests of the industry to provide a Spanish-language version of our hoof care DVD,” said Bill Casner, Thoroughbred owner/breeder and chairman of the Summit’s Shoeing and Hoof Care Committee. “We hope the Spanish-language version is embraced as enthusiastically as the original, because it will further enhance the care our horses receive on a daily basis.

The Hoof: Inside and Out was released in June 2009. Since then, more than 1,000 copies on DVD have been distributed and the online version has been downloaded more than 2,500 times by individuals in 57 countries.

Both the English- and Spanish-language versions can be downloaded at no charge at; or a physical copy can be ordered through that website for a $5.00 shipping and handling fee.

The 65-minute DVD includes seven segments:
* Introduction and Overview
* Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit
* Physiology — The Equine Limb
* Basic Hoof Care and Trimming
* The Basics of Horse Shoeing
* Types of Shoes
* Farrier’s Role and Communication (with trainers and owners)

The DVD features the insights of a number of hoof experts and industry professionals, including Mitch Taylor, director of the Kentucky Horseshoeing School; prominent Kentucky-based farriers Steve Norman and Colby Tipton; Dr. Scott Morrison of the Podiatry Center at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital; Dr. Sue Stover of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Mary Scollay, equine medical director for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission; Kentucky Derby winning trainer John T. Ward; champion Thoroughbred owner and breeder Bill Casner; and Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation President Ed Bowen.

The Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, coordinated and underwritten by Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and The Jockey Club, convened a wide cross-section of the breeding, racing, and veterinary community for two-day workshops in October 2006, March 2008 and June 2010.

The Summits, which were hosted by Keeneland Association, have been the catalyst for many initiatives that improve the safety and integrity of the sport, including the Equine Injury Database, the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, recommendations concerning traction devices on front shoes, and bloodline durability indices.

Additional information about the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit is available on the summit’s website at

Olds College Fills First Two-Year Farrier Degree Program

New students in the classroom at Olds College in Alberta, Canada last week. They'll be together for two years in the new program.
They said it couldn't be done. They said farrier students demanded short courses. They said that farrier schools should emulate the barefoot trimming training programs that compete with them with home schooling and weekend or weeklong on-site formal programs peppered through the program. They said students these days don't want to work as hard as you have to to become a good farrier.

They said Olds College would never fill the new two-year degree program for professional farrier training when they announced it last year. Not in this economy.

But they did. Students sat down at their desks for the first day of classes in a filled-to-capacity program at the Alberta, Canada campus last month.

A horseshoe is one big learning curve for a student farrier. Photos by Thowra_UK via Flickr. Thanks!

“Olds College was already commended by the equine industry for its one-year program, considered the best in the industry,” said Jeff Suderman, Director of Student Recruitment. “We are encouraged to see that the move to a more comprehensive program has been well received.”

The previous program at Olds was one year in length. But Olds holds the belief that horses today represent a significantly greater investment for owners and that society calls for a heightened awareness of animal welfare and how it is achieved. According to the program's new rationale, by doubling the Farrier Science Program’s length, Olds College will ensure that students graduate with increased knowledge of equine anatomy, horse handling and horse husbandry as well as sufficient proficiency in welding, basic blacksmithing and advanced corrective and therapeutic horseshoeing.

In keeping with the college’s emphasis on real-life, hands-on learning, the farrier program now requires completion of a total of eight months of what they call "Directed Field Study", split into five-month and three-month sections, respectively.

“One thing that attracted me to Olds College was the fact that it offers more than just six-week training programs. The two-year diploma stretches out learning to ensure we understand and develop the skills we need,” said Tyler Johnson, a first-year student in the new program.

Traditionally, the number of applicants for the Olds College program has exceeded its capacity, which caps at 16 students. Existing familiarity and aptitude with the farrier profession and horse and tool handling are just some of the areas of competency students need to demonstrate before they can even be considered for acceptance into the program.

“Olds College already graduates some of the best farriers in North America but today’s industry needs them to be even better,” says Dean Sinclair, Olds College Farrier Science Coordinator.

Olds College discontinued its shorter programs. Only the two-year program is offered, showing what a commitment the college is making to in-depth training of its students.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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
Follow the Hoof Blog on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
Join the Hoofcare + Lameness Facebook Page

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Education Connection: Speakers at Equitana Australia November 18-21, 2010

Jockey-turned-farrier Laurie Paltridge is one of the few people in the world who can say he has both ridden and shod the winner of his nation's top jumping race. You can hear Laurie speak and watch his shoeing demonstration if you happen to be lucky enough to be in Melbourne, Australia next week, where the Downunder edition of Equitana will be underway. Laurie is one of many speakers addressing hoof and lameness problems in sport and recreational horses at the event. Photo mirrored from the Melbourne Standard.
Melbourne, Australia may be half a world away for our USA readers, but if you read the statistics of who reads this blog, you will know that a good number will be attending Equitana Downunder this week. The organizers have put together an interesting program in equine lameness with something for everyone--no matter what your bent, from the alternative to the mainstream, from the traditional to the high tech, a speaker will be presenting on your wave length.

This is quite a switch from most horse expos, which seem to choose speakers based on exhibitor and sponsor provided experts, or the current popular circuit speakers. While popular speakers bring in crowds, they don't always provide a balanced view of what's going on in the field. It takes a roster of speakers to achieve that goal, and rosters cost money.

The biographies you'll read in this post are presented as supplied by Equitana, and they were surely only slightly edited from what the speakers provided, so please keep that in mind as you read.

Lots of information about Equitana Melbourne can be found online; most of the speakers have their own web sites as well. The original Equitana, in Essen, Germany, will be held in March 2011, and is one of the most outstanding equine/equestrian educational/commercial events in the world. The German show includes the famous Hufdorf, or Hoof Village, as well as a new Center for Excellence for Equine Welfare.

Spinal pain and/or dysfunction, and related stiffness, behavioral and performance problems, are the main focus of Dr. Ian Bidstrup's veterinary practice. He is one of a handful of Australian veterinarians using the combination of acupuncture, prolotherapy and veterinary chiropractic to treat these problems.
In addition to a veterinary degree, Ian has a masters degree in chiropractic science and international qualifications in acupuncture. He lectured part-time in animal chiropractic at RMIT Univeristy from 2002 to 2009 and in saddle fitting for the ASFA level 1 and 2 courses from 2000 to 2009. His presentation this EQUITANA Melbourne is on sacro-iliac joint complex troubles.
Learn more about his work for horse at

Andrew Bowe began working as a farrier in 1990 after graduating from Dookie College (B.App.Sc). He is a Trade Accredited Master Farrier with a difference. His business combines a lifetime's experience of traditional farriery with modern barehoofcare ideas (training horses' feet to be healthy and strong enough to be ridden without horseshoes).

He specialises in returning chronically lame horses back to soundness with barefoot rehabilitation: restoring correct form, movement and function to horses' feet, using modern hoof boots when necessary.

Known as 'The Barefoot Blacksmith' he travels Australia-wide, teaching horse owners how they can help their horses grow and maintain healthy feet, the foundations to a healthy horse.

Learn more about Andrew at

Jeremy Ford, a farrier of 16 years is now a professional natural hoof care specialist.  He runs his practice Wild About Hooves in Tasmania with his partner and barefoot endurance rider, Jen Clingly.

After being introduced to barefoot trimming he has hung up his hammer and stored the anvil to promote healthy, sound, metal-free horses.

Jeremy has been involved with horses all his life in all disciplines including hunting, endurance and stock-work.  His encounters with wild Australian Brumbies in the outback were the major inspiration for the switch to barefoot.  These horses have hooves, hard and strong, and able to cope with the hardest terrain.  This natural world led him to study with the AANHCP (American Association of Natural Hoof Care Practitioners).

Jeremy's life revolves around horses' hooves.  He runs educational workshops on hoof care Australia wide and is principle lecturer in the trade certificate Equine Hoof Care course run by the government education institute, TAFE.  Wild About Hooves runs annual tours to the outback to observe brumbies in their natural desert environment.  Coupled with this, they have produced educational documentaries and hoof trimming tools.

The aim of Wild About Hooves is to highlight the bare facts of keeping horses without shoes, about changing horse keeping practices to complement evolutionary needs and ways to adapt our domestic home environments and to keep some of the "wild" elements for the health and happiness of our horses.

Learn more about Jeremy at

Dianne Jenkins is a passionate and highly successful equine specialist.  During 25 years of practice, she discovered that many horses suffer from previously unidentified patterns of common low-grade injuries that cause postural, training and behavioural issues and lead to lameness.

Her research indicates that she has solved the mystery of equine chronic lumbar pain that cannot be diagnosed by radiograph or ultrasound.  She can explain the primary cause and gradual patterns of compensatory issues that lead to early wear and tear and ultimately joint dysfunction.  These experiences and abilities led her to develop the Jenkins method of Equine Neurophysiological Therapy (JENT); a system that integrates comprehensive scientific knowledge with therapy.

Dianne presently resides in Ireland and travels abroad to work on horses by appointment. Learn more about her work at

Kevin Keeler has been a farrier for over 30 years and has experienced first hand the physical demands of working on horses feet.

Inspired by an injury early in his career, and then later after having survived a plane crash in the Idaho backcountry while being flown to work on ranch horses, the concept of a lightweight and safe hoof support system was borne.  Wanting to get the weight off his body while working under the horse, Kevin developed the Hoofjack®.  The Hoofjack® was designed to fully support both the front and hind feet of a horse and can be used by anyone providing hoof care such as the farrier, barefoot trimmer, veterinarian, or horse owner.

Kevin travels internationally sharing with the equine community the benifits of using the Hoofjack® for both the horse and the hoof care provider.  Kevin is the owner and CEO of Equine Innovations Inc., which in addition to manufacturing the Hoofjack® also manufactures the Tooljack® a unique tool cart designed to hold farrier tools and equipment.  Although "officially" retired as a farrier, Kevin still maintains a clientele of approximately 60 horses and lives in Star, Idaho, USA, with his wife Dawn, 2 dogs, cat, goat and 2 horses.

Helen Klowss is a qualified Horse Masseur and has been a leader in this field for over 16 years.  She has worked with horses in many aspects of the equine industry in Australia and overseas.

In 1968 Helen was employed by the legendary racehorse trainer Bart Cummings as a strapper and spent many years acquiring knowledge and experience with the master trainer.  Specialising in nursing and rehabilitating racehorses with training injuries, Helen soon discovered that she had the ability to see unsoundness in horses which seemed obscure to others. Knowing that there was more than the conventional treatment involved in the healing, recovery and ultimate return to racing, Helen set out to develop a form of treatment to compliment the training and veterinary treatment.  After studying the available equine literature of the time she also studied massage for humans to extend her knowledge.

During 1970 to 1981 Helen traveled to Europe and studied with the Classical Dressage Trainer Egon Von Neindorff in Karlsruhe, Germany.  She is still a student of dressage in the classical form and is now training in the Phillipe Karl system.

Since developing her system of horse massage she has been teaching her techniqes for over fifteen years.  Helen has treated winning horses from Group 1 Racehorses, Grand Prix Dressage horses to 3* Eventers.  She has a passion for the complete rehabilitation, recovery and retraining of horses to gain optimum results in whatever field you aspire to.

Learn more about Helen Klowss at

Seeing infrared images of a horses leg in 1995 led to a "Eureka!" moment in 2000 when thermography again appeared in Jean Koek's life.

Then, as a EMRT™ therapist, she found thermography invaluable for giving progress reports to an abscent client.  The next ten years took her all over the world to study and work with this exciting but controversial diagnostic aid.  Presently, thermography is mostly used when regular diagnostic tools have failed!


1.  FEI Dressage horse (Prix St. Georges Inter I) lame o/f six months following an arena fall.  Thermography showed o/f to be 11 degrees colder than n/f.  An amazing series of infrared images taken over an hour as a massage therapist (and NSW Dressage Team Manager) Jenny Carroll, worked on the horse, showed circulation returning.  Horse went Grand Prix in January.

2.  Pleasure horse owner was told by many that she was imagining a problem.  Infrared imaging during saddle fit assessment showed that horse was warming up on one side of her body only.  Veterinary chiropractic and acupuncture successfully addressed the problem.  Possible cause - post-birth problem.

Jean is currently involved in a variety of projects where thermography is one of the measurement tools.  Using video infrared to watch the body under stress in an ongoing love and she hopes to do further studies on the effects of the rider on the horse.

Learn more about Jean Koek at

Jonathan Leoncini has been handling and riding horses since he was 12 years old.  With the love of horses very much a part of his life with endurance riding, it was there where he wanted to give something back to the horse, and more importantly to endeavour to rectify horses' problems.  Farriery was the answer.

He was one in seven apprentices who were the first group to complete a formal apprenticeship.  Jonathan's passion for horses has continued throughout his 25 years as a farrier.

He has competed in farriery competitions throughout Australia and has represented Australia at the World Blacksmiths/Farrier Championships in Calgary, Canada. Jonathan was recently invited to Malaysia to judge the Asian Pacific Farrier Championship, and also lectured there.

Jonathan's passion is strong as ever and he enjoys lecturing and giving the horse owner an understanding of what to look for in their horse's feet.  "Every horse is someones Phar Lap".

Laurie Paltridge has been shoeing horses for 17 years in the Western Districts of Victoria.  He obtained his 'Trade Certificate' in 1994.  He is based in Warnambool in Southern Victoria.

Laurie shoes a range of horses, including racehorses, eventers, show horses, pony club horses and ponies.  'Kibbutz' (who came 9th in the Melbourne Cup) 'Hissing Sid' (Warnambool Cup) and Arch Symbol (Wangoom HDCP) are among some of the racehorses whom Laurie shoes.

Alongside that, he does remedial work at Warrnambool Veterinary Clinic.  The Veterinary Clinic gets a lot of horses with feet and leg problems coming to Warrnambool to get trained on the beach.  This has allowed Laurie to see a wide range of hoof problems, which in turn has been a great learning experience in rectifying their problems.

Laurie is a great believer in furthering education and tries to attend as many farrier clinics as possible.  He also has his Certificate in Horse Management (MOFMC) and Certificate in Small Business (TAFE).

Joanna Robson, DVM, CVSMT, CMP, CVA, SFT is a graduate of the Washington State University Honors Veterinary Medicine Program.

Unable to find helpful professional resources, she determined to learn everything possible about a grounded holistic approach to pain-free performance and longevity in our horses, and to build a community of like-minded equine professionals.

Combining traditional veterinary medicine with veterinary chiropractic, veterinary acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and the science of saddle-fitting, Dr. Robson’s goal is to provide integrated soundness solutions, and to educate the equine public about understanding and achieving the pain-free horse.

She has published numerous print and online articles about the effects of ill-fitting tack and the importance of correct engagement on the equine body and mind, and has an acupuncture case study pending for the Journal of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. Her focus is objectively demonstrating the before and after changes in equine movement following treatment and use of a correctly fitting saddle.

She is the owner of Inspiritus Equine Inc.  in Napa, California, and the founder of Intregrated Soundness Solutions (sm).  She found her way to her passion when her horse needed help healing from a back injury.

Learn more about Dr. Robson at

Maureen Rogers is a pioneer and leading expert in the field of Equine CranioSacral Therapy work. She is the founder of the Equine CranioSacral Workshops - an international education program which offers the most extensive program of study.  Her pioneering efforts have opened doors and changed lives of horses around the world.

Ms. Rogers travels internationally for teaching, lectures and private consultations.  She works with horses of all disciplines and her clients include competitive horses, Grand Prix showjumpers, to Olympic athletes through to novice.  Travelling year round, she brings her cutting edge principles to working with vets, equine physio's, farriers, equine dentists, horse trainers and owners world wide.  She is internationally sought out for her expertise in equine craniosacral work, rehab therapy skills and especially in treatment of conditions of headshaking, TMJ issues and biomechanics of the horse.

Her first DVD Hope for Headshakers - A CranioSacral Approch to Equine Health has sold copies worldwide and has opened doors for horses who suffered with this condition.  Maureen will be releasing her new DVD "Is it Posture or Conformation?" in November 2010 during her visit to EQUITANA.  She will also be offering her Equine CranioSacral workshops in November in Australia.

To learn more about her work: 

Dr. Chris Whitton has extensive experience as a specialist clinician investigating and treating lame horses in Australia and the UK.

Twenty five years of observing lame horses and their injuries have directed his research into the problems that are of greatest importance to veterinarians, owners and trainers.

He is currently heading Equine Orthopaedic Research at the University of Melbourne Equine Centre which involves collaboration with leading research centres in biomechanics, subchondral bone and cartilage microstructure and epidemiology in Australia, the United States and the UK.

You can learn more about his research at

Trevor Wozencroft has had a lifetime of experience in the horse and cattle industries, specialising in nutrition and reproduction, managing properties throughout Queensland and Victoria where all cattle work was carried out on horseback.
Photonic Therapy was an obvious choice to continue in the industry as Dr. McLaren, the developer and world leader in photonic therapy was his vet in the early days of the photonic therapy development.

In the 1970's Trevor held a Thoroughbred owner/trainer license in Victoria, at the same time being involved with his young family at pony clubs and shows.

2002 saw Trevor working and studying with Dr. McLaren and is now a Level 3 Equine Photonic Therapist working with racing and pleasure horses and supplying self treatment McLaren Photonic Therapy Kits throughout the world.

Trevor has been teaching the use of McLaren Photonic Therapy to horse owners at workshops and seminars on how to better understand their horses problems and treat them using Photonic Therapy. McLaren Photonic Therapy is an Australian designed and manufactured product.

Learn more about Trevor at

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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
Follow the Hoof Blog on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
Join the Hoofcare + Lameness Facebook Page

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging Looks at the Statistics of Equine Foot Lameness: New Diagnostics Document More Precise Damage to the Feet of Sport Horses

The only “sure thing” number in the horse world is that most of the horses treated for lameness have four feet. Statistics quoted in the horse world range from the antiquated to the inflated, and professionals around the world are calling for more accountability of claims quoted in sales pitches and more quantification of the numbers that are quoted.

Once upon a time, someone somewhere said that 90 percent of equine lameness is in the foot, but does anyone know the original source of that quote? Would you say that is still true today? We can diagnose lameness a lot more precisely now than ever before.

One thing we do know: Hallmarq reports that, worldwide, almost 80% of lame horses referred for MRI at equine hospitals equipped with their MRI units have a problem located in the foot.

Where do you look for numbers when you need to prove a point? There is no “Fact Book” of equine lameness that collects statistics in one place. Instead, we all tend to trust certain authors or universities or studies. And everyone seems to have healthy skepticism for “the Internet”.

The deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) is the most common site of damage in the foot identified by standing MRI scanning of sport horses. As you know, this tendon runs down the leg and attaches to the bottom of the coffin bone (P3). The three arrows added to this scan are directing the eye to the DDFT which, in this Irish horse, has a lesion that looks like a split. Normally tendon would be solid black. (Photo courtesy of Troytown Equine Hospital, Co. Kildare, Ireland.)
But it’s not all black and white, as two recent studies pointed out. In 2004, England’s Sue Dyson FRCVS reviewed 199 foot lameness cases at the Animal Health Trust. These cases had been evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and her analysis of the data showed that 33 percent had deep digital flexor tendonitis and a total of 60 percent of cases had some form of abnormality of the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT). Desmitis of a collateral ligament of the coffin joint was found on 15 percent of the MRIs; it should be noted that Dyson’s practice is heavy on referral sport horses.

A high percentage of lame horses in both Great Britain and the United States have been found to have damage to the deep digital flexor tendon within the foot when standing MRI scans were analyzed.
On the US side of the Atlantic, Rick Mitchell DVM of Fairfield Equine Associates in Connecticut did a similar review. He looked at the results of standing MRI in 98 American jumping and dressage horses with foot pain.

Mitchell found the most common defect in the lame American sport horses to be navicular bone lesions, which were seen in the Hallmarq MRI scans of 77 percent of the horses examined. But 64 percent of Mitchell’s horses had deep digital flexor tendon damage in the foot, as seen on their MRIs. Coffin joint collateral ligament damage was much less common in Mitchell’s group than in Dyson’s.

But the glaring damage to the tendon is a critical warning sign to sport horse owners and trainers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Ten years earlier, diagnosing damage to the tendon in the foot was almost impossible. Now, Dyson and Mitchell can even break down the tendon damage into types of injuries.

Dr Laurie Goodrich of Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine sums up the need for MRI when diagnosing horses with foot pain: “Of horses with caudal heel pain, 60 to 70 percent have soft tissue injuries that we won’t see with radiographs because they only determine bone structure.”

New imaging modalities like MRI are making earlier and more precise diagnoses possible; another number we like: information gleaned from images obtained via standing MRI resulted in a diagnosis in almost 90 percent of the cases referred, according to Hallmarq's data analysis of cases.

So, when you quote numbers in the equine lameness world, also mention your source, the year and the type of horses that were tallied. If the study covered a specific type of horses and if the study was conducted since the advent of diagnostic imaging like MRI, it may make your numbers mean a lot more. And someone else may end up quoting you.

To learn more:
The largest and most accessible body of quotable statistics is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) “Equine ’98 Study”, which collected facts and figures on the health of horses on farms and ranches in 28 states. This was amended by updates in 2000 and 2005.

USDA, 2000. Lameness and Laminitis in U.S. Horses. USDA:APHIS:VS, CEAH, National Animal Health Monitoring System. Fort Collins, CO. Link to free download:

Dyson, Murray. Lameness associated with foot pain: results of magnetic resonance imaging in 199 horses (January 2001- December 2003) and response to treatment. Equine Vet Journal, 2004

Mitchell, Edwards, et al. Standing MRI Lesions Identified in Jumping and Dressage Horses with Lameness Isolated to the Foot, AAEP Proceedings, 2006.


Watch for more in the Hallmarq-sponsored article series on The Hoof Blog, and check their social media system and especially their info-deep web site for lots more information.

To learn more about Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging and standing MRI technology for horses:

• Become a fan  of the new Hallmarq Equine MRI Facebook page;

• Follow @HallmarqMRI on Twitter;

• Subscribe to the hallmarqvetimaging channel on;

• Watch for a growing equine distal limb Hallmarq MRI image gallery on;

• Visit the web site. (Plan to spend some time there!)

AVMA's 2011 Model Veterinary Practice Act Process Will Be Open for Comments in January

"Moore's Shoeing Scene: The Veterinarian" was painted circa 1845 and holds a place of honor on the wall here at the Hoofcare and Lameness office. It was a gift from Walt Taylor many, many years ago and I never tire of looking at all the details (especially that dog!). But anyone visiting the office has trouble with it. They admire the print but when their eye falls on the title they don't understand. "Who's the veterinarian?" they ask. "Why is the focal point character working on a hoof?" This just proves the point that the precise definition of the veterinarian's role in the horse health scenario is far from a new topic. In the last 25 years, we've seen the emergence of diversified horsecare professions that never existed before. Farriers, on the other hand, pre-date veterinarians and once treated all ailments of the horse. At some point, farriers in Europe and North America relinquished the care of the horse and kept the hoof as their domain.

The following text is from a press release issued last week by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), which is integrally involved in state and national legislation regarding the practice of veterinary medicine and, overall, is influential in all matters related to animal care. Text in bold emphasized by the Hoof Blog so it will not be overlooked by those it may affect.

Do you have an idea on how animals can receive the best care from veterinarians and other members of the veterinary healthcare team? Early next year, you will have an opportunity to offer input that could help make your ideas a reality.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is soliciting public comments on its Model Veterinary Practice Act (MVPA). The current MVPA, which was last reviewed in 2003, includes sections on definitions, veterinary medical boards, licensing, client confidentiality, veterinary education, veterinary technicians and technologists, abandoned animals, and cruelty to animals, as well as other topics.

"This is an excellent opportunity for veterinarians, pet owners, the public, farmers or really anybody who cares about animals and veterinary medicine to offer input that will help guide the profession," says Dr. John Scamahorn, chair of the AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act Task Force. "The Model Veterinary Practice Act is used by state legislatures and state veterinary licensing and exam boards to help shape the rules and laws that govern the practice of veterinary medicine."

The AVMA is issuing early notice of this public input period to encourage all interested parties to get involved and give informed comments. The current MVPA is available for public review on the AVMA website, at

Organizations and individuals can contribute comments about the MVPA on the AVMA website during the 30-day public comment period, which is scheduled to start in January 2011. The AVMA requests that the comments submitted be specific and include suggested language for the new MVPA.

"The AVMA wanted to give notice of this public comment period as early as possible because we realize that there is a lot of interest in the Model Veterinary Practice Act, which is lengthy and contains many important provisions," explains Dr. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer of the AVMA. "We feel it is important to alert stakeholders now so they can begin to review the many provisions of the act in advance of the comment period. Some organizations may even choose to meet and discuss the act in order to come to consensus on their comments, and we wanted to encourage and allow for these discussions about the future of veterinary medicine."

The first MVPA was created by the AVMA in the early 1960s. Over the years, it has been revised several times to reflect changes in the profession such as new technologies and techniques and even societal changes.

(end of text from the AVMA)

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Can You Explain the World War I Veteran's Hand-Forged, Mysterious Monument to His Military Service?

Welsh World War I farrier veteran horseshoe
The word "souvenir" literally means "memory". This photo is reproduced with the permission of Keith O'Brien, a descendant of Isaac. According to Keith's description, which is a little hard to understand, there is a second shoe, on the other side of the foot.
When World War I ended, how did veterans commemorate their service? Surviving World War I was not easy and one can only imagine the emotions that the troops felt when they returned home. I've written a lot about farriers who served in World War I and how they took care of the horses during the war, but I honestly don't know much about what happened when they returned home to their families and forges.

In north Wales, a young man named Isaac Owen came home and made himself a little icon, or a trophy or a shrine, to his service in France during World War I. Which is it? You can decide. We're looking at it almost 100 years later, and we don't know what he did with it after he forged it and put so much work into it.

Did he put this out for all to see, as a trophy of pride, or did he work on it with great care and then, after polishing it to a glowing finish, did he wrap it in flannel and put it away, thus declaring it--and his experience in France--complete, and done, and get on with the rest of his life? Was this shoe found years later by his descendants, who might have wondered what it was, until they realized what the words meant? And did he make only one?

Ypres, Somme, and Armentieres were three battle sites. There were actually three battles in Ypres, a city in Belgium's Flanders district. In one, it is said that half the British troop involvement of 160,000 was either killed or wounded; all in all, 400,000 troops died there. When you hear the poem that begins, "In Flanders fields..." the reference is to the huge military cemeteries outside Ypres and other Flemish battle locations. I think the web site for the Ypres battles is one of the best military history web sites you can visit on the web.
John McCrea hand-written poem
"In Flanders Fields" was written by a Canadian doctor, John McCrae, who cared for the wounded at Ypres and was later killed in the war.
The battle of Somme in France in 1916 lasted 4 1/2 months and had 1.5 million human casualties. I read today that 100,000 horses died at Somme, and no doubt it was Isaac's job to try to keep them going. At the end of the bloody Somme standoff, the British and French advanced a total of six miles but did not succeed in capturing any towns from the Germans. Still, the British celebrated it as a victory, of sorts, to keep up the morale of the troops.

World War I war horse memorial at Somme
A relatively recent addition to Somme, France is the "Dying Horse Memorial", a tribute to the 100,000 horses who lost their lives in the World War I battle there. Isaac the Welsh farrier would have known their pain.
Finally, Isaac was part of the British occupation of Armentieres in France. This is the Belgian border town made famous in the racy song, Mademoiselle from Armentières. The Germans shelled the city with mustard gas in 1918, and the British forces had to evacuate the city, which was so badly contaminated that the Germans couldn't enter it.

After all this--four years of the worst battles on the very front edge of the war--did Isaac just go home to Wales, take his apron off the nail, and go back to work in his father's forge? Perhaps he acted like nothing had happened at all. How intent he must have been to keep his hand steady as he stamped the letters, one by one, of those French and Belgian battle sites into the face of that shoe.

Of course there could be much, much more to be told about wartime horseshoe souvenirs. Consider this World War I "trench art" horseshoe:

shrapnel horseshoe

This shoe was made by a British farrier who served in France. While he was shoeing a horse, the forge was shelled and the horse was killed. The farrier brought home a piece of the shrapnel from the shell and crafted this shoe from it to commemorate his good fortune to be alive.

You can visit Keith O'Brien's web site diary, which explores his family's history as farriers and smiths in a tiny village in Wales. As part of a Welsh language preservation project, the family's story was published by the BBC, but Keith has shared the old photos with captions in English in a slide show

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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
Follow the Hoof Blog on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
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Friday, November 12, 2010

After 26 Years of Excellence, Cornell Vet School Cancels Farrier Conference

The greatest tradition in continuing professional education for farriers in the world ended last week with an announcement from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

The university said that the 27th Cornell Farriers Conference, scheduled for this weekend, had been canceled.

Held in the highest esteen and featuring stellar farrier and veterinarian speakers in a world-class academic environment, the conference attracted a list of the virtual "who's who" of the farrier academic world over the years while sticking to a strict education-only policy that was embraced by attendees and supported by sponsors and trade show exhibitors.

A quick check of the (incomplete) files here shows the speakers over the years to have included Mark Aikens, Mike Ball, Philippe Benoit, Roy Bloom, Dan Bradley, Doug Butler, Christina Cable, Mark Caldwell, Victor Camp, Hans Castilijns, Brent Chidsey, Jacqueline Cilley, Meredith Clarke,  Buster Conklin, Janet Douglas, Dave Duckett, David Farley, Gene Fletcher, Laura Florence, Don Gustafson, Chris Gregory, David Hood, Vern Hornquist, Betsy Keller, Steve Kraus, Scott Lampert, Jeffrey LaPoint, Jack Lowe, Neil Madden, Bruce Matthews, Kelly McGhee, Myron McLane, Dallas Morgan, Scott Morrison, Tia Nelson, Charley Orlando, Andrew Parks, Bob Pethick, Chris Pollitt, Haydn Price, Jeremy Rawlinson, Pat Reilly, Dave Richards,  Mike Savoldi, Judith Shoemaker, Rob Sigafoos, Sigurdur Sigurdsson, Meike Van Heel, Gary Werner, and Pamela Wilkins.

Over the years, I became very interested in the history of Cornell's vet school and especially the many ways that farriery (and farriers) had always been deeply integrated into the veterinary education program. I was surprised to find out that the farrier department had once even endorsed a brand of horseshoes in an ad in the Horseshoers Journal. Did you know that Cornell once was the home of fine Percheron horses?
Farriery has been an integral part of Cornell's veterinary school since its inception and Cornell opened a much-heralded school to educate farriers in 1914. The opening of the school was the front page story of the Horseshoers Journal. Instructors of farriery at the vet school have been leaders of farrier education ever since, in particular professor Henry Asmus, whose work was published by the US government and distributed to horse owners and farmers all over the nation in the 1920s and 1930s.
Michael Wildenstein, who led the farrier program at Cornell until August of this year, took up Asmus as a role model and built up the conference to bring in leading lecturers from all over the world. He took pride in the number of repeat attendees at the conference, who returned year after year after year, and said that these people were the best-educated farriers in America because of their exposure to the talented and generous speakers who had been part of the conferences.

In the lighter-fare Saturday night programs at Cornell, farriers raised money for memorials, auctioned things off (like Professor Chris Pollitt's Australian Akubra hat), read poetry, tossed horseshoes and anvils, told stories about their mentors,  played instruments and sang  (among many unforgettables: a farrier opera singer, the Welsh national anthem a cappella, and three Australians who sang a "Waltzing Matilda" chorale), and there was even an Anvil Chorus karaoke one year.

I don't know what I'll do this weekend.

But I would like to thank Cornell for the 20 or so conferences that I attended. I can't think of any event that was so educational, where I learned so much, felt so welcomed, or looked forward to so much.

I will especially remember using the incredible Flower Sprecher Library at the vet school, and walking through the rows of shelves, finding farriers on their hands and knees reading books (old and new), or making copies of pages of books, or using computers to find articles and search databases. Cornell really did open its doors to farriers for that weekend each year. It was a gift and I hope you were able to benefit from it, in some way, while it lasted. I know I did, in a big way.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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
Follow the Hoof Blog on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
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