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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Australian Equine Laminitis Research Veterinarian Andrew van Eps Joins Penn Vet New Bolton Center

Australian laminitis researcher
Andrew van Eps, BVSc, 
PhD, MACVSc, 
DACVIM is moving to America. Dr. van
Eps is noted for his contributions related
to cryotherapy, or icing, of horses' lower
limbs to prevent laminitis, and recent
research on support limb laminitis. (Hoof
Blog/Laminitis Conference file photo)
Renowned for his research on equine laminitis, Dr. Andrew van Eps joined the faculty of Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center in December as Associate Professor of Equine Musculoskeletal Research.

Van Eps has spent the majority of his career at The University of Queensland in Australia, most recently as Director of the Equine Hospital and Associate Professor of Equine Medicine. The University is also his alma mater; he graduated with his veterinary degree (BVSc) in 1999 and his PhD in 2008.

The move marks a return to New Bolton Center, where he completed his residency in large animal internal medicine in 2008 and spent another year as a lecturer and clinician.

“We are fortunate to have attracted Dr. van Eps to Penn Vet,” said Dr. Gary Althouse, Chairman of the Department of Clinical Studies at New Bolton Center. “He comes to us both as a seasoned clinician and an equine researcher of international caliber.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Hoofmarks in Aleppo: Will the citadel's ancient inverted horseshoe curse save it again?

horseshoe gates at aleppo citadel in syria
Heels up or heels down in Aleppo, Syria tonight? These might have been the oldest and most historic horseshoes on earth. All but one of these horseshoes is a message of defiance to any who would attempt to conquer the city. But one--and only one--horseshoe is an ancient coded message to invaders should they get past these massive gates. It's a message that is 800 years old, will it be heard again tonight?


Just when you think it can't get any worse, it looks like time may have run out for the ancient Syrian city of Aleppo. There is no cavalry coming to the rescue. There are no white knights on the horizon. For most, there is no more hoping-against-hope that the world will hear their pleas.

It's time for one last footnote from history, one last snapshot from the past. And, one last chance for a horseshoe legend to save its city, as it was designed to do 800 years ago.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Research: Hoof Conformation and Flat Feet in New Zealand Thoroughbred Racehorses



In a previous article, the Hoof Blog described a study conducted in New Zealand to survey the way sport horses in that country are shod, and what management aspects may affect the condition of feet. (Please see the article "Research: farriery and hoof care trends for dressage, showjumping sport horses in New Zealand".) Now the New Zealand hoof researchers move on to the racetrack.

Research: Farriery and Hoof Care Data Collected for Dressage, Showjumping Sport Horses in New Zealand

Not too long ago, a sport horse at an international show could trot by and you could tell what nation he was from by the way he was shod. Those days are gone, but there are still distinct differences in some parts of the world. We'd do well to document them, while we still can. And in at least one country, they have.


There was once a time when you could look at a foot and practically see the national flag. Those big, broad Dutch toe clips. The heel-to-heel fullered shoes of the British. The daring of an American rider to compete in a heart bar shoe. The way farriers of all nations displayed subtle national preferences in how and where they drew their clips or executed a nailing pattern or finished their heels or chose where to position their stud holes, or even how many stud holes they drilled.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Diamond's Back! Questions and Answers About the "New" Diamond Horseshoes and Tools



In 2015 the Royal Kerckhaert Horseshoe Company purchased Diamond Horseshoes and Tools.  What had once been the widest-selling shoe and tool line in America (and far beyond) has been getting a new look and, for many products, a new feel and new features. How are things going for the brand, now that the transition to the new owner is complete? Hoofcare and Lameness posed some questions to Farrier Product Distribution (FPD), which we hope will be helpful to everyone who uses--or whose horses wear--the Diamond brand of shoes and tools.

Political Cartoons: Public Opinion Forged with Humor from the Blacksmith Shop


How would Donald Trump look at the anvil? Traditionally, political cartoons have portrayed US Presidents as blacksmiths and, sometimes, farriers. Here you see President Woodrow Wilson portrayed in 1917  as a striker, not the smith. Uncle Sam is the smith, and he is urging Wilson to swing and hit, while the iron is still hot. The shoe has "crisis" written on it; it probably refers to the hesitation of the United States under Wilson to abandon isolationism and enter World War I on the side of the Allies. This old political cartoon by William Allen Rogers is from the archive of the Library of Congress's Cabinet of American Illustration.

Saturday Night Live notwithstanding, there hasn’t been much to laugh about during the 2016 US Presidential Election. And ever since former-farrier Lincoln Chafee dropped out of the Democratic primaries last year, there have been almost no tie-ins at all to hoofcare, horseshoes or even horses, unless you count Donald Trump's reference to Secretariat's big bronze statue at Belmont Park in his victory speech.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Shane Westman Joins the University of California at Davis as Large Animal Clinic Farrier

Shane Westman recently was appointed Large Animal Clinic Farrier at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. (Image courtesy of UC Davis)

Congratulations to the University of California at Davis and to Washington farrier Shane Westman on Shane's official appointment as farrier at the UC Davis Large Animal Clinic. Shane is embarking on a new career path that will see him following in the rather large hoofprints of that university's famous longtime farrier, Mr. Charles Heumphreus and, more recently, another longlasting farrier, Bill Merfy.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Career Opportunity: New Arizona Equine Podiatry Center Seeks Farrier


Arizona Equine Medical & Surgical Centre seeks an American Farrier's Association certified JOURNEYMAN FARRIER  (or equivalent qualification) for our newly developed Arizona Equine Podiatry Center.   

Evidence-Based Farriery: Plan to Attend Myhre Equine Clinic's 29th Annual Farrier/Veterinarian Conference with Dr. Andy Parks




It's that time of year: let's all drive to New Hampshire and enjoy the 29th Annual Myhre Equine Clinic Farrier/Veterinarian Conference in Rochester, New Hampshire. This article will include as many details as possible for you to make your plans.

Hosted by Dr. Grant Myhre, the big two-day event will be held later this week, October 28-29.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Video: British Racing Farriers, Thoroughbred Hoofcare Featured on CNN Special Segment

CNN racing reporter Aly Vance interviewed Newmarket farrier William (Billy) Mulqueen, DipWCF about the importance of farriery to racehorses for an extended segment on stable staff working for British Thoroughbred trainer William Haggas.

October 22, 2016 was a great day for everyone who works behind the scenes with (and for) racehorses. CNN aired a "Winning Post" edition on the people behind the horses, including a three-minute special feature on the importance of farriers.

Filmed in Newmarket, England at the racing yard of trainer William Haggas, the show, which is distributed internationally (except to the United States), featured CNN's Aly Vance learning about the Somerville Lodge stable lads, equine physiotherapist, veterinarian and a crew of farriers from Mulqueen Farriery Consultancy in nearby West Row in the county of Suffolk.

The videos are posted below, in two parts, courtesy of CNN.

Farrier Product Distribution is now an American Farrier’s Association Educational Communications Partner

Farrier Product Distribution and American Farrier's Association newsmakers

Farrier Product Distribution (FPD) has become the latest company to join forces with the American Farrier’s Association (AFA) as an educational communications partner. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Racetrack Surface Research Professor Mick Peterson Will Head to the University of Kentucky in 2017


Professor Mick Peterson took a turn as a speaker at the Hoofcare@Saratoga series at the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs, New York. (Thank you!) After years in the engineering department at the University of Maine, he's taking a new, wider-focus ag/equine science faculty director post at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. (Hoofcare and Lameness file photo)

He's the man who reads hoofprints...and he might be only person who can tell you as much about the way the footing or racing surface was imprinted as a farrier can tell you about the horse and the shoe that made the print.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Arabian Show Horse Shoeing Rule Changes Proposed: Toe length increases, pad limit and measurement may be imposed


This Half-Arabian show horse is shod in a way that would not be legal under proposed rule changes. The length of toe, shoe measurement, multiple pads, and other parameters are in line, and shoe bands are currently legal and would remain so under the new rules. However, one pad is not 100% leather. The pad next to the foot is a combination leather/plastic pad. Under new rules, a horse may wear up to two pads, one of which must be leather only. Notice that the band is attached to the wedge pad, not the shoe. (Zack Morris photo)

The Arabian Horse Association (AHA) has submitted a proposed shoeing rule change to the United States Equestrian Federation. AHA is the governing body of the Arabian horse breed in the United States and Canada; it is an affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation and represents more than one million registered Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses.

AR106 Shoeing Regulations, Artificial Markings and Appliances, as posted on the USEF website, details the current rules on how saddleseat-type show Arabians and Half-Arabians may (and may not) be shod.

Monday, October 03, 2016

American Horse Council Statement on Nonspecific Language in USDA Horse Protection Act Amendment


For the past few months, the US Department of Agriculture has been hosting "listening sessions" around the country and gathering input about a proposed amendment to the American Horse Protection Act, which bans the "soring" abuse techniques used on some Tennessee Walking horses to gain an advantage in the show ring in some classes, particularly where the horse is asked to do the famous "big lick" walking gait. 

Among the features of this amendment is complete outlawing of pads, action devices such as pastern chains, and weighted shoes.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Professor Renate Weller, noted for horse hoof research and imaging, in line for presidency of British Equine Veterinary Association

Professor Renate Weller of the Royal Veterinary College, London, will be president of the British Equine Veterinary Association in 2018, following results of an election held this year. (BEVA photo)

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) issued a press release this week with some news about a British veterinarian well-known to everyone exposed to equine hoof research. The Hoof Blog is happy to share this news.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Sport Horse Farriery: Burghley's 2016 Best Shod Horse Award

Horses had to jump through the Olympic horseshoe on their way home in the four-star Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in England this weekend. The huge double-horseshoe is an icon of the 2012 London Olympics moved to Burghley for horses to jump for old times' sake. And the view through it isn't bad, either. (Thanks to Pamela Kelly for this photo)

The "Best Shod Horse" Award at the 2016 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials was judged on Wednesday of the highly-esteemed four-start event. Would that mean that the rest of the event would be anti-climactic for hoof-related news?

Hardly. The "best shod" prize from the Worshipful Company of Farriers was just the beginning.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Olympic Farriers: Inside the Forge at Rio




This article is an edited extract from a general news release from the FEI.

Some of the hardest working people behind the scenes at the Rio 2016 Olympics are the team of British and Brazilian farriers working round the clock to keep the well-heeled equine athletes well-shod at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deodoro.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Royal Veterinary College Announces Graduate Equine Locomotor Research Diploma for Farriers

These images from recent locomotor research at the RVC were part of a test on the influence of hoof packing on a shod horse's foot deformation at the walk and trot. (©RVC image)

Hoof Blog comment: Progress happens slowly, and this announcement has been a long time coming--about 225 years, in fact. Sometimes making progress requires going back to the beginning of things and looking it all, all over again. That’s what’s happening in Great Britain this summer, as the Royal Veterinary College prepares to invite farriers to return to the vet school, which (like all vet schools) began when 19th century farriers sought to improve their scientific knowledge, banded together, and expanded their skills. The result was the invention a new field of medicine: veterinary science. 

The United Kingdom's Royal Veterinary College (RVC) announced today that it will launch a new Graduate Diploma in Equine Locomotor Research (Grad Dip ELR). The new program offers farriers the opportunity to gain skills and experience in producing original research to both increase the evidence base behind farriery, and to enhance equine welfare.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

American Farrier’s Association and Life Data Labs, Inc., Makers of Farriers Formula Hoof Supplement, Announce Partnership



The following information is an edited excerpt from a news release supplied by the AFA. Photos and and media added by Hoofcare Publishing:

The American Farrier’s Association (AFA) and Life Data Labs, Inc. have entered into an educational communications partnership designed to bring Life Data Labs’ considerable expertise in the area of equine nutrition to the Association’s membership through various communications channels managed by the AFA. This includes the AFA's bi-monthly newsletter No Foot, No Horse and the recently redesigned AFA website, among other plans.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Synergy of Modeling, Imaging Technologies Compares Thoroughbred Limb Biomechanics Shod and Unshod



The final version of an Open Access hoof biomechanics research paper previewed
in February is now available for free download by Hoof Blog readers.

In A preliminary case study of the effect of shoe-wearing on the biomechanics of a horse’s foot, published in the Open Access journal PeerJ, an international research team explored the capability of combining still and motion imaging and modeling technologies and systems to evaluate the effect of a stainless steel horseshoe on the function of the same foot of the same horse.

The horseshoe's effects were compared to the same foot of the same horse without a shoe. This early experiment is expected to be followed with additional research that would be applicable to the safety and efficiency of racehorse hooves.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

American Farrier’s Association and Purina Animal Nutrition announce educational partnership

Hoofcare and Lameness Hoof Blog

via press release

The American Farrier’s Association (AFA) and Purina Animal Nutrition, LLC ("Purina") have entered into an agreement that will lend support for the educational goals AFA stresses for its members. It will also offer Purina researchers an opportunity to share results of their considerable body of work in equine nutrition while engaging farriers in discussions about the impact that they observe nutrition having on hoof integrity.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Discipline Committee strips British farrier of right to practice; apprentice complained of bullying

A sculpture honoring the relationship between a master and apprentice above the Craiglockhart Primary School in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo by Kim Traynor.


The Disciplinary Committee of the Farriers Registration Council (FRC) in Great Britain has announced the removal of a long-established farrier from the nation’s Farrier Register. The decision to “strike off” the farrier--thus ending his ability to practice farriery in that country--came after a much-publicized hearing in London in March, when the FRC publicly investigated complaints of bullying behavior lodged by an apprentice the farrier had agreed to train.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Pennsylvania Court Petitioned to Require State to Resume Racetrack Farrier License Tests



On Tuesday, June 7, the International Chapter of Horseshoers and Equine Trades, Local 947, ("the Union") filed a writ of mandamus in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania naming the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission, a board administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, as defendant.

The document petitions the Pennsylvania judicial system to direct the Racing Commission to follow its own law regarding the requirements to obtain a license to shoe horses on the grounds of Penn National and other Thoroughbred racetracks in the state.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Gene Test, Research Unravel Severe Skeletal Atavism Limb Deformity in Shetland Ponies

Limbs of a 16-week old Shetland pony with Skeletal Atavism, often described as "bow legs". (Left) caudal view when standing; (center) caudal view when walking and (right) view from the front when standing square.  Complete, or "fused", fibulas and ulnas cause instability in the tarsocrural and antebrachiocarpal joints respectively; the angular limb deformity becomes more severe at the walk. Photo: Ove Wattle
Skeletal Atavism is a genetic defect that can cause skeletal deformities in Shetland ponies. The deformity has now been genetically identified by researchers at Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), in cooperation with colleagues in the USA at Texas A&M University, the University of Kentucky's Gluck Center, and the University of Washington, as well as at the University of Qatar in the Middle East. The discovery means that healthy carriers now can be identified for better breeding decisions with the use of a gene test.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Badminton Farrier Prize: Charlie Sands' four-star horseshoeing wins best-shod award for his girlfriend's horse (Part 1)

Resident farrier Bernie Tidmarsh watches a horse at the Badminton House stables, used for the Duke of Beaufort's Hounds and the Badminton Horse Trials. Bernie has a forge at the end of the stable block. He's won the Farriers Prize at the Badminton Horse Trials multiple times. (Fran Jurga photo)


Hint: if you want to win the Farriers Prize at the four-star Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in England, consider having your partner shoe your horse.

Or, alternately, if you're a farrier, consider helping your partner make it all the way around Badminton so your shoes have a chance of being judged the winners on the final day of the event.

Fact: For the past three years, the Farriers Prize has been awarded to a horse shod by the rider's partner.

Note: This article is protected by copyright; neither text nor photos may be reproduced without permission. It may be shared by using normal social media tools, such as you will find at the end of the article, or by pasting the URL (web address in browser window) into a status update on Facebook. Many thanks for sharing on social media.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Shoeing for the Roses: Kentucky Derby Foot Factors 2016



It's the first Saturday in May. Theories abound about how to pick the winner of the Kentucky Derby, but there's no doubt that the feet come first in the hearts and minds of Hoof Blog readers. With the help of wonderful people in the racing industry, this article is a collection of as much as is known about the hooves of the fast and famous.

Re-visiting the Big-Footed Event Horse at Badminton Horse Trials: Ben Hobday, Mulrys Error, and Paul Conway


A photo posted by Ben Hobday (@benhobday) on
British farrier Paul Conway preparing a shoe for Ben Hobday's large-footed event horse Mulrys Error before Badminton Horse Trials in 2015.

Friday, May 06, 2016

British Minister Meets with Farriers on Future Registration, Discipline Changes for the Profession

DEFRA Minister George Eustice, MP can't take his eyes off the horseshoe he forged at the anvil with help from Simon Moore, FWCF, during an informal meeting with farriers and industry stakeholders in Cornwall last week. Eustice is working on possible changes to the farrier education and apprenticeship system in Great Britain through Parliamentary reform of the Farriers Registration Act. (Photo via Mr. Eustice)
On Friday, April 29th, George Eustice, a Member of (British) Parliament and Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) visited Bridge Farm in his home district of Cornwall in southwest England.

Mr. Eustice met with local Approved Training Farrier (ATF) Simon Moore, and his apprentice, Josh Ellery, along with a number of other local farriers and farrier industry representatives. His goal: to discuss some of the challenges facing the farriery industry.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Virginia Tech launches second permanent vet school farrier facility; longtime consulting farrier Paul Goodness and team will now be on site in Leesburg

Luke and Paul Goodness, Virginia Tech farriers, Leesburg division
Virginia farrier Paul Goodness (right) is moving his successful farrier business out of his barn and into the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, the satellite veterinary hospital in Northern Virginia for Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. After serving more than 25 years as the hospital's contract farrier, he and his team, including his son Luke, left, will now be on-site full time. (Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center photo)

This week the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) in Leesburg, Virginia is announcing the launch of a permanent farrier facility. Longtime hospital contract farrier Paul Goodness is in the process of moving his team to Leesburg where he will begin his new staff role as in-­house Chief of Farrier Services for Virginia Polytechnic University, Leesburg division.

The EMC is Virginia Polytechnical University’s satellite referral equine hospital and research center for the Virginia­-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. The state-­of­-the-­art facility is located west of Washington, DC.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Anzac Hoof: Where were the farriers during Gallipoli?


The Anzac trophy hoof / inkwell lives in the heraldry collection of the Australian War Memorial.

Today, a salute to our friends in Australia and New Zealand, where it's Anzac Day. It's not exactly a holiday; it's a day of remembrance, lest the people in those countries ever forget the extreme national tragedies experienced during World War I when Anzac (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) forces landed on the Turkish coast in 1915 at a place called Gallipoli. According to the Australian War Memorial, more than 8000 soldiers and more than 600 officers lost their lives; 17,000 were wounded. For New Zealand it was 7,991 casualties, with 2,779 dead. The combined total on both sides for the attempted siege was more than 130,000 dead. After more than eight months of trying to take the strategic piece of land, the British-led forces--which included French, Australian, New Zealand, Indian and Canadian troops, as well--withdrew.

What most people know about Gallipoli is the terrible Australian loss on April 25, 1915,when half of the 500 unmounted members of the Australian Light Horse cavalry who charged ashore were mown down and killed. Revisionist history has blamed British decision-makers for sending the Australians to a near-certain death. The moving 1981 film "Gallipoli", starring Mel Gibson, reinforced that opinion. 

While the Australian Light Horse and New Zealand Mounted Rifles cavalries fought on foot at Gallipoli, their horses waited in Egypt. A large corps of international farriers waited with them, to care for them, keep them shod, and help them adapt to life in the desert. 

They kept themselves busy, and hung on the news drifting back to Egypt about what was happening to the horseless Australian and New Zealand forces at Gallipoli.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Advanced Farrier Certificate Program Launched at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine



Farrier education in the United States now has a higher level. Today Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM) announced the July 2016 launch of a one-year certificate program in advanced farriery skills. The new program will be hosted at the vet school’s main campus at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (“Virginia Tech”) in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Grazing Muzzles: New research shows grass length affects grazing behavior




It’s that time of year. The grass in the pastures is waking up and springing to life. But animals at risk for laminitis require effective strategies to prevent weight gain and overeating that may trigger insulin dysfunction and possibly lead to mild or even severe laminitis and changes in the structure and integrity of the hoof that could cause diminished performance, even if the horse is not overtly lame.

For many horse owners, the first line of defense is a grazing muzzle, even if their horses do detest wearing them. What are the latest findings on how they affect horses?

Friday, April 08, 2016

Best Shod Horse Award Debuts at Grand National Steeplechase


For the first time in the history of both the Worshipful Company of Farriers and racing in the United Kingdom, one of The Company's prestigious Best Shod Horse awards will be judged and presented at a race meeting. The hooves of the starters in England's world famous Crabbie's Grand National will be evaluated by a farrier judge, who will decide which horse's hooves are best prepared to tackle Aintree Racecourse's legendary obstacles like Becher's Brook and The Chair.

Which horse will gallop into history on the best-formed hooves and wearing the most appropriate shoes?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Shoeing Rule Change in Great Britain: Racehorses Must Be Fully Shod




On Friday, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced a change to its rules determining how racehorses must be shod in order to race in Great Britain. In this case, the rule change was about the fact that the horses must be fully shod, in the first place.