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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Video abstract on Equine Metabolic Syndrome in Welsh ponies and Morgan horses wins prize at BEVA Congress



Veterinarians have been upgrading their skills at both communicating information about their research and in making their research more accessible to the public. Laminitis prevention is an area that is in critical need of more outreach. Navigating the literature on laminitis research can be confusing and overwhelming.

At last week's British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) Congress in England, the Equine Veterinary Journal (EVJ) gave an award for video interpretation of equine research. The video abstract they presented is remarkable on two counts: The winning author is an American, and the subject is laminitis prevention and education of horse owners.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Equine Research: BEVA Congress 2019 award goes to Irish paper analyzing progress in equine motion study, including hooves and shoes

Irish researcher Sonja Egan (right) received the BEVA Congress's Peter Rossdale Equine Veterinary Journal (EVJ) Open Award for 2019 for her review of more than 500 equine motion analysis papers published since 1978,. The paper includes data on the shortcomings of the past and suggestions for the future, including specifics on hoof and horseshoe research. Presenting the award is 2019 BEVA President Renate Weller.

News from the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) Congress underway in England this week is that a paper in the field of equine motion analysis has received a prestigious award. The winning paper was the result of a "scoping" review of what equine motion research has been accomplishing for the past 40 years, and how productively the field is moving forward.

Among the results from the paper are analysis of the way that hoof movement and shoe effects research has been conducted in the past and suggestions for future modification. Some findings from  the study are outlined for you here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Burghley Best Shod Horse 2019: What was he wearing...and why?

Shoeing for hind foot of eventing horse
Farrier Paul Varnam hot fits a hind lateral extension shoe on Ivar Gooden, an Irish Sport horse judged the "Best Shod Horse" at the 2019 Burghley Horse Trials in England last week. The horse previously won the same award in 2017, when he was shod almost exactly the same way by a different judge. He is ridden by Imogen Murray of Leicestershire, England. (Paul Varnam photo)

Each year, England's five-star Burghley Horse Trials gives a prize to the best shod horse, and the selection of that horse is always a story in itself. On Wednesday last week, 67 horses stood patiently and had their feet picked up, shoes and hooves examined, and notes taken.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Labor Day parades: When American horseshoers marched down city streets

Union horseshoers shod seven horses on wagon during Labor Day parade 1903


The first Labor Day parades in the United States featured marching horseshoers representing their local trade unions. It was a day of pride and fellowship on the city streets. But it was also a rare thing for a working horseshoer: a day off.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Research: Anti-inflammatory treatment did not decrease movement asymmetry identified in riding horses in training



Sometimes, it seems like research raises more questions than it answers, and a new study from Sweden this summer asked some very interesting questions. Research into asymmetry in horses, as identified by sensor-based gait analysis, brings into the discussion the rider's perception that a horse is sound...even if its movement suggests otherwise. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

BEVA Congress 2019 program to focus on sport horse hoofcare, lameness


"Keeping the sport horse on the road" will be the theme for the final day at this year’s British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) Congress, to be held September 11-14, 2019, in Birmingham, England. The session on Saturday, September 14th will bring together leading vets, farriers and physiotherapists for an holistic look at keeping the sports horse at the top of its game.



Tuesday, June 18, 2019

American Farrier's Association appoints Martha Jones new executive director to replace Beth Daniels



On June 18th, the American Farrier's Association (AFA) Board of Directors announced the selection of a new executive director for the association.

Jones will be stepping into the position held by Beth Daniels for the past five years.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Research: 3D Printed Horseshoe and Hoof Scanning Trials Launched by Vet School Farriers at Utrecht University in The Netherlands

3D printed horseshoe hoof scan research vet school

A team of vet school researchers and farriers at Utrecht University (NL) is hard at work fine-tuning how to scan the morphology of a hoof and use a 3D printer to create a shoe with specific size, shape and material characteristics to fit the particular and individual requirements of lame or conformationally-challenged horses.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

First (presumed) North American cases of tick-related paralysis in horses documented at Purdue University

Figure 1 in the article shows embedded and engorged Dermacentor variabilis ticks concentrated at the base of the tail in a 3‐year‐old American Miniature horse (Horse 1).

News about ticks is seldom good news. But when the bad news is well-documented and published in a timely manner in an Open Access veterinary journal, the news could be worse.

Veterinarians at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in Indiana have published a detailed account in the peer-reviewed Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine describing the possible occurrence of two cases of tick-related paralysis in horses in North America. Until these cases, this particular type of tick-borne disease was believed to have only affected horses in Australia, and was associated with a different species of tick.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Heroes on the Hoof: Remembering military farriers who lost their lives



Every Memorial Day, I resolve to put together all my scraps of research and tally up some statistics on fallen farriers--the ones who were killed in action in US wars. I guess we all have to start somewhere, so today's fragmented salute may be the start of something much more worthwhile, one of these years.

In the meantime, this is a personal salute to some fascinating farriers who suffered tragic deaths. I met them in the small print of dusty old books and quirky Internet databases. Their names should be known and their stories should be told. Let's get started, and add to it. 

This article is by no means complete. Do you have more information? A snapshot of a gravestone? Please send any additional information you may have about farriers who died in wars, whether from disease or in action or as collateral damage.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Best of both worlds for 2019 Badminton "best shod" eventer: Farrier's shoemaking skills and modern materials help mare succeed at grueling competition

Farrier judge Will Hampson, DipWCF inspected the hooves of 56 horses at 8 a.m. this morning as part of an annual tradition at England's Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials on behalf of the Worshipful Company of Farriers, Britain's 400-year old livery company charged with overseeing farriery in that country. (photo courtesy of Will Hampson; this is NOT the winning horse)

Monday, April 29, 2019

New Equine Soundness Professionals Organization Adds Key British and Australian Biomechanics and Veterinary Advisors, Plans Membership Programs



In its first 100 days, the new Equine Soundness Professionals vet-farrier group has built a solid base for future growth and membership benefits. Founder and farrier David Gilliam of Texas reports interest from around the world in the new organization, and enthusiasm from farriers and veterinarians who plan to participate in both the proposed testing program and the in-depth seminars planned for members and colleagues.

New advisors are being added, as well.

Ridden Horse Ethogram: New Sue Dyson study confirms behavioral system to identify musculoskeletal pain

Sue Dyson's ridden horse ethogram
This horse is demonstrating signs of musculoskeletal pain as described by the Ridden Horse Ethogram: 1) Ears are behind the vertical for more than five seconds; 2) Intense stare; 3) Mouth is open, exposing teeth for ten seconds; 4) Hindlimb toe drag.
As flight animals, horses instinctively remain silent in the face of pain, A new study, published earlier this month by Dr Sue Dyson in the peer-reviewed journal Equine Veterinary Education, shows that they however do have a "voice" if observers are trained to "listen".

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Thank you and good-bye: US laminitis research charity Animal Health Foundation ceases operation


Did you feel a little shudder pass through the barn today?  Laminitis research lost one of its main lifelines with the closing of the Animal Health Foundation, a charity in Missouri, USA today. A big page of hoofcare history turned as one of the most trusted equine health charities in the world closed its doors. It's time for us all to sit up straight and realize that nothing lasts forever, no matter how well-meaning, successful, and respected it is. The decision to close was a personal one and the Board of Directors opted not to continue. The closure comes with funds still in the bank. Who'll pick up the slack? Don and Diana Walsh deserve a resounding "Well done!" salute but the job they started 35 years ago is still a work in progress. But progress it has been!

• • • • •

If your horse survived laminitis, or if you have struggled successfully to prevent laminitis in your horse, you may owe some degree of gratitude to a veterinarian and a generous group of horse owners from St. Louis, Missouri.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Did horse feet evolve for endurance travel at the trot rather than speed at the gallop?

paleobiology research on horse toe and gait

Fight or flight. Run or be eaten. We were all taught that horses evolved to have single toes because they were the prey of predators. A single hoof made them one of the fastest animals on earth. The successful survivors were the fastest ones, because they could outrun lions and tigers and bears. But a new group of researchers published an alternate point of view on April 12, which we share thanks to the University of Bristol in England. According to the authors, they weave "together information from equid evolutionary history, foot anatomy, and locomotion, which provide the essential background information that informs our novel proposition". They suggest that horses' feet evolved for efficient trotting during grazing, rather than for speed to evade predators. But isn't it possible that the single toe aided both survival gaits?

Friday, March 29, 2019

Equine Research Live at the 2019 FEI World Cup: Swedish university students measure velocity of world's top show jumpers


Jump crews work hard at a horse show. At next week’s FEI World Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden, one unique jump crew will be working hard in hopes of getting a good grade.

For the fourth consecutive year, Sweden’s premier horse show will have a mini research lab set up, right in the ring. But this year is a little different, since the Gothenburg Horse Show will also include the FEI World Cup finals in dressage and show jumping.

Equine Soundness Professionals Kickoff Seminar in Wellington, Florida Launches New Vet/Farrier Organization



Special report by Ellen Staples, CJF

Equine Soundness Professionals’ first annual podiatry seminar held in Wellington, Florida left attendees eagerly anticipating the next event held by the budding organization. Lecturers Dr. Raul Bras of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Kentucky and Florida, farrier Pat Reilly of Penn Vet New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania, and farrier Shane Westman of the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine presented the topics of laminitis, navicular disease, and white line disease to both farriers and veterinarians gathered in the elegant ballroom of The Wanderer’s Country Club.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Laminitis Prevention: Along with weight gain, shoeing and trimming still factor in risk


Although excess weight has long been considered a primary risk factor for laminitis, new research continues to sort through the many risk factors and look for patterns of horsecare or links between the factors themselves, as well as that weight gain is most likely to be associated with laminitis.

A relatively large study, by equine science standards, was conducted in the United Kingdom and gave researchers access to data on more than 1000 horses in "real time" by receiving monthly reports for more than two years from owners about the same horses. The sole purpose of the study was to gather data on laminitis and the horsecare factors that may contribute to it.

Out of 1,070 horses followed in the study, 97 experienced 123 episodes of laminitis over the 29 months the data was collected.

The bottom line conclusion was that weight gain more than doubled the risk of developing laminitis, but other horsecare practices, including hoofcare, should not be ignored.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Bisphosphonates Ban: Keeneland, Fasig-Tipton and Ocala Breeders’ Sales Ban Off-Label Use of Popular Navicular Disease Medication in Young Thoroughbreds



Bisphosphonates are a type of medication used to treat osteoporosis in humans. They have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration since 2014 for treatment of navicular disease in horses older than four. Research in Europe, conducted by Professor Jean-Marie Denoix and others, has also investigated the possible expanded use of one bisphosphonate, tiludronate (Tildren) for other lameness problems, such as bone spavin and osteoarthritic lesions of the thoracolumbar vertebral column. Professor Denoix also led the initial research on Tildren for navicular disease in older horses.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Dual Surveys Compare Veterinarian and Horse Owner Priorities for Equine Research

equine research survey results


Colic (gastrointestinal diseases) is considered by both equine veterinarians and horse owners as the most important equine health care problem in need of more answers, according to the results of parallel research surveys conducted by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation and the American Horse Council (AHC) Foundation.

Women's History Month: Saluting nameless women farriers from the past

The oldest image in the Hoofcare and Lameness archives is this engraving from France. The title at the bottom translates roughly to: "To shoe the mule the people are usually intelligent." (Corrections are welcome.) Script at the top states that women understand that the mule responds to caresses more than to force. Image from the University of Texas library archives.

It's International Women's Day. The Internet is buzzing with salutes and tributes and memories of famous women and their contributions to history. While the Hoof Blog honors women today, as everyday, the archive has been opened so we can salute some anonymous women instead of famous ones.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

ESP 1.0 Event: First Equine Soundness Professionals seminar details for March 16 in Florida

inaugural seminar of Equine Soundness Professionals

Veterinarians and farriers have a chance to be part of history on Saturday, March 16 when the new Equine Soundness Professionals ("ESP") organization hosts its first open seminar in Wellington, Florida. Advance registration is required to attend.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Possible environmental chemical link found to equine metabolic syndrome and related laminitis in Welsh ponies and Morgan horses



Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in a horse’s environment may play a role in the development of equine metabolic syndrome (EMS), a leading cause of laminitis. This finding, made by Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers at The University of Minnesota, could explain some of the variability in EMS severity that can’t be explained by other commonly measured factors, such as diet, exercise and season.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Laminitis Research Videos: Advances in endocrinopathic laminitis diagnosis, treatment and science


Last week,  31 laminitis research articles, collected from recent editions of the prestigious Equine Veterinary Journal, were made freely available to the public. All 31 articles may be read and downloaded without charge for the next year.

What could make this better? A summary--or three of them, in fact. Today we offer an overview of the research, in the form of three short, concise videos by three of the authors. Each provides an overview of the articles in his or her area of research.

Friday, February 08, 2019

Continuing Education: Rood & Riddle will host 2019 International Equine Podiatry Conference in Kentucky



On April 12-13, 2019, the curtain will rise on the first Rood and Riddle International Equine Podiatry Conference. Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky will host an in-depth education and skill development experience for 60 advanced veterinarians and farriers.


Thursday, February 07, 2019

EVJ Provides FREE Online Access to Latest Research on Endocrinopathic Laminitis


Hoofcare Publishing is happy to share news of a valuable archive of endocrinopathic laminitis research articles now available to readers. All of these articles have been previously indexed and linked by the HoofSearch monthly reports, but they are now available in one place on the Equine Veterinary Journal website--to everyone! Here are the details: 

Monday, February 04, 2019

100 Years Ago in Hoof Science: Quittor was the urban horse's biggest foot problem




HoofSearch, the index of equine hoof research, has been compiling a bibliography that documents the progress of hoof science on a year by year basis. What were the leading publications back in 1919, and who were the authors?

One hundred years ago, the world was sighing in relief with the end of World War I, even though the Treaty of Versailles wouldn't be signed until June. Veterinary and farrier journals were thin. In fact, it's difficult to find much that was published on the horse's foot in 1919; much more attention was paid to infectious diseases like glanders. Nonetheless, what was published is worth detailing here.

Laminitis Research: Is IGF-1 the missing link between insulin and laminitis in the horse's foot?



Veterinary researchers in Australia have identified a possible mechanistic link in the horse's foot that may explain how high levels of the hormone insulin cause equine laminitis.

Friday, January 25, 2019

British Horseracing Authority delays requirement of hind shoes on jump horses




Background: In the middle of the 2019 jump racing season in the United Kingdom, a major rule change that had been scheduled to take effect on February 1 is now postponed. The rule would have required all horses to race with shoes on all four feet. This follows a similar 2016 rule change in flat racing, that similarly required all horses in flat turf races to be shod on all feet, unless a declaration is made 48 hours before the race. Today the jump racing rule change was delayed. 

The information below was provided by the British Horseracing Authority.


Following the receipt of further submissions from the National Trainers Federation (NTF) and individual trainers, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has made the decision to delay the implementation of an approved rule which requires all jump racing horses to race fully shod. The rule was due to be introduced on February 1, 2019.

The delay is being implemented for a period of no less than six months, in order to allow for a number of actions to take place to further inform the debate on this matter.

The decision to introduce this rule was based on a two-year project which included evaluation of data and consultation with representative bodies including the NTF and Professional Jockeys Association (PJA).

The rule was intended to improve human and equine safety by reducing the chance of a racehorse slipping.

The rule had been agreed by the BHA Board and Rules Committee, and central to this decision were the facts influencing their rule change:
  • Approximately 98% of all runners in Jump races in the UK already race fully shod;
  • Data highlights that a horse racing partially shod in a jump race is over eight times more likely to slip than one that races fully shod. This equates to one slip for every 350 partially shod runners, compared with one in every 3,000 runners wearing four shoes;
  • The introduction of similar requirements for flat racing has worked well and has been received positively;
  • An exemption provision exists in the new rule to allow for a horse to race partially shod on legitimate veterinary grounds provided any application is supported by appropriate evidence;
  • The PJA advocated introduction of the rule on the grounds of improved safety for horses and their members.
However, subsequent to the rule being communicated to trainers, the BHA has received new submissions from the NTF and individual trainers in which they raise concern about the rule’s implementation. In addition, a delegation of jump jockeys has submitted considerations on the matter, although the PJA remains in support of the rule.

As a result, the BHA has made the decision to evaluate these concerns in more detail before implementing the rule. This will include:

  • Discussion at both the annual BHA Equine Welfare Agencies consultation meeting, and the BHA Veterinary Committee, specifically seeking views on the argument that wearing hind shoes increases the risk of tendon injury (particularly bearing in mind 98% of the NH population race fully shod);
  • BHA Veterinary Officer Team to commence gathering data on tendon injuries suffered on a racecourse in a jump race that are the result of being struck into, in order to identify whether there is any correlation between the severity of the injury and wearing shoes behind or otherwise;
  • Stewards will analyze any horse slip that occurs in a jump race and confirm the status of the horse in relation to shoes, and assess impact of the slip in the context of safety risk to jockeys;
  • The NTF/Trainers who oppose the rule amendment are asked to provide any data or scientific evidence to support their view that there is a greater welfare risk to horses racing fully shod than partially.

Following the conclusion of this research, and consideration of further submissions, a final decision will be made around the implementation of this rule.

For more information, visit the website of the British Horseracing Authority.

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Equine imaging milestone at UC Davis: World's first standing PET scan of a horse's foot shows activity of bone or soft tissue at molecular level


The University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has achieved another milestone in clinical equine imaging with the first successful use of positron emission tomography (PET) to scan the foot of a standing horse. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Laminitis Prevention: British Veterinarians Issue Alert to Prevent Spring Laminitis in Obese Horses



Links between equine obesity and laminitis are well documented, but veterinarians still report an increase in obesity; latest estimates are that as many as fifty percent of all horses in the United Kingdom may be overweight and at risk for related health problems. Today the British Equine Veterinary Association issued an official warning to owners that is valid all over the world. 

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Beeman and Shannon Named Speakers for 2019 Heumphreus Memorial Lecture at UC Davis

Charlie Heumphreus
The late Charles Heumphreus, resident farrier at the University of California at Davis, is remembered each year with a memorial lecture available free of charge to veterinarians and farriers. (UC Davis photo)


The 33rd Annual Charles Heumphreus Memorial Lecture will take place February 16, 2019 at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. The event is a tribute to the vet school's longtime resident farrier, the late Charles Heumphreus.