Wednesday, May 29, 2013

British Farrier Apprentice System Suspended as Training Suffers Negative Government Evaluation

Apprentices are traditionally part of the landscape of farriery in Great Britain. These apprentices to Jim and/or Allan Ferrie competed at the Clydesdale shoeing event at the Royal Highland Show in Scotland. (David McCrone photo, used with permission)

A crisis has emerged in Great Britain, where the future of farrier education has been endangered by a withdrawal of government funding for the program following an unfavorable inspection report to Parliament by a national agency.

The situation described in this article has been going on for a few weeks now, and it seems like there is hope now for a solution, so here’s a report on the situation as it stands today.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Video: Oklahoma Tornado Tragedy's Legacy is Both Tragedy and Inspiration for Veterinarians and Horsemen

Please allow time for videos to load.

You know things are bad when CNN dedicates a segment to injured horses in a natural disaster, but that's what happened on Friday when the global news network aired a story by newsman Gary Tuckman, who was on hand with Oklahoma's Joe Boecker, DVM to show in graphic detail what a tornado can do to a horse.

Hoof Blog readers around the world who think that the Oklahoma victims are strangers in a far-off place should know that someone very familiar to this blog was deeply impacted by the storm. An earlier tornado hit Shawnee, Oklahoma, including property of Michael Steward, DVM.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lameness Evaluation: American Sensor System Tests Successfully in British Research

Flexion testing, using the sensor-based system, at the University of Glasgow's School of Veterinary Medicine
For many years, opinions on the value of flexion tests in assessing equine lameness have been divided. Now, however, new research looks set to turn what has always been regarded as a subjective process into a wholly objective one. 

A comprehensive study, published in a November 2012 supplement to the Equine Veterinary Journal (EVJ) in partnership with the American Association of Equine Practitioners, showed that a wireless, inertial sensor-based system can effectively measure the horse’s response to a flexion test.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Raceplates and Horseshoers in Preakness Stakes History

In this ad from the Daily Racing Form in 1931, Victory proclaims that racehorse Mate ran in the Preakness wearing the new-fangled aluminum raceplates--and won! It took a lot of years to convince trainers and horseshoers to switch from steel to aluminum. In 2011, Shackleford won in Polyflex glue shoes. 

It's Preakness Stakes day, 2013-style, in the USA! Whether you think Kentucky Derby winner Orb is a shoe-in to win in his Jim Bayes Jr. crafted raceplates or if you like California's Goldencents, shod by Jim Jimenez, today's the day they line up at the Baltimore, Maryland track affectionately known as "Old Hilltop" for the second leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing.

What is it about Maryland? Why are there so many connections to the Triple Crown that pass through this state?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Have You Tried It Yet? "Blacksmith Buddy" Re-imagines Hoof Demonstrations with Education/Practice Tool

H O O F    B L O G   S P O N S O R E D   S T O R Y

The Blacksmith Buddy 

The Blacksmith Buddy was designed with students like these in minds. Once the Buddy is in place, the real horse becomes an accessory--and someone has to hold him instead of trying out the new practice leg!

Every year there's something. Farriers hang out after a trade show and talk over what stuck in their minds after they paraded up and down the rows of booths. Most often, it's a little thing--a new size, shape, hardness or color of something they use every day, which they believe will save them time or money. Sometimes it's a big thing, like a new model of gas forge or even a truck body.

But this year, many people listed an educational tool. "Wes Champagne's deal was slick," one said. Another's eyes lit up and sighed, "Why, oh why, didn't I think of that!"

Medicinal Leeches: The Much-Maligned Traditional Healing Aid is Making a Comeback for Equine Lameness Therapy

In this photo from German rehabilitation therapist Martina Mäter of Kathmann Vital GbR in Vechta, you see three colorful medicinal leeches hard at work. Lower-limb lameness is a common callup for leeches in the horse world; they may soon be in wider use in the United States. (Photo © Martina Mater, used with permission)

You're in a veterinary lecture on laminitis at a major conference on equine lameness. Set your watch to see how soon one of the speakers makes a wisecrack along the lines of "Yeah, sure, and we used to use leeches to treat laminitis, too." Cue: nervous laugh from the audience. Rolling of eyes. Wrinkling of noses. "Gross!" Shudders.

Connecticut Drops Charges Against "Equine Podiatrist" for Illegal Practice of Veterinary Medicine

For years, Connecticut has been known as the wealthiest state in the United States of America. Add to that the highest number of horses per square mile of any state. It's also one of the most beautiful states. If you had to pick a state to live in and run a farrier business, you couldn't do much better for job security than Connecticut.

After a state legal decision made there last month, it might be an even better state in which to be an equine podiatrist.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Badminton Horse Trials' Farrier Prize to the Best Shod Horse 2013 Won by David Smith

There might not be much left of a pair of shoes by the time the horse has made the circuit of the world's most challenging cross-country course, which is just one phase of the Badminton Horse Trials. Video of horses in this year's event courtesy of Centaur Biomechanics.

Each year, the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials presents a "Farriers Prize" for the best shod horse at the world's most prestigious three-day event. To most, it is an after-the-fact announcement on a loudspeaker as they make their way back to the parking lots.

But to others it is a big deal.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Hooves of the Kentucky Derby 2013: Race Shoes, Hoofcare and the Farrier's Daughter

It's 90 minutes before the Kentucky Derby, do you know where you'll be today at 6:24 p.m.?

Kentucky Derby News: Scollay Replaces Injured Bramlage for NBC's "AAEP On Call" Role

Dr Bramlage (right) fills in NBC's Kenny Rice as part of the AAEP On Call Program in the past.
The AAEP On Call Program has assisted television broadcasts since 1991; traditionally, Dr Bramlage is on hand during Triple Crown races; he provided dramatic insight into the injury of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro during the Preakness Stakes in 2006. "On Call" received a Special Eclipse Award in 2008.

Dr. Mary Scollay is no stranger to television; she'll step in front of the camera today at the Kentucky Derby. The American Association of Equine Practitioners reports that longtime AAEP On Call Veterinarian Mary Scollay will serve as the spokesperson for equine health during today's NBC Sports racing coverage at Churchill Downs.

Dr. Scollay, who serves as Equine Medical Director for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, replaces Dr. Larry Bramlage who sustained a head injury during a fall at the Louisville track on Thursday. Dr. Bramlage remains at University Hospital in Louisville for observation.

© 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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Friday, May 03, 2013

Behind the Scenes at the FEI World Cup Finals with Swedish Farrier Bjorn Berg

You're a long way from home when you go to the Gothenburg Horse Show in Sweden. The huge Swedish spring horse show hosted both the dressage and jumping finals of the 2013 FEI World Cup indoor winter competitions. The best in both sports converged on the annual show and turned it into a world stage.

Sweden's Bjorn Berg has been the show farrier at Gothenburg for 12 years but you can bet that it had never been like this before.  Still, Bjorn managed to find time to snap some photos and email them to the USA.

Meader Supply's New Hampshire Farrier Appreciation Day with FPD's Michael Wildenstein

Shoes, shoes, shoes! One of North America's largest horseshoeing supply stores opened its doors last weekend to welcome farriers from far and wide to the annual "Farrier Appreciation Day". Meader Supply soon found out that the appreciation was mutual; the flavor of the day was more akin to a high school reunion than a business event.