Searching for the Missing Puzzle Piece in Problem Feet

Life Data Labs unveils new research project to study mineral content

Pictured Above: The donor blood sample (left) is placed in a digester machine (middle) where argon gas and extreme heat are used to yield a clear fluid (right) that represents the mineral content of the sample.
Photos: Life Data Labs

The following article is based on Mike Barker's presentation at the 2018 International Hoof-Care Summit. To watch the presentation, click here.

Most horse owners focus much of their attention on maintaining a shiny hair coat, mane and flowing tail. However, many of these seemingly model horses also have problem feet.

“What’s missing?” Mike Barker, sales representative at the Cherokee, Ala.-based Life Data Labs rhetorically asks attendees at the 2018 International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Is there something missing in that horse?”

It’s a question that equine veterinarian and Life Data Labs founder Frank Gravlee has been asking for more than 40 years. The International Equine Veterinarian Hall Of Fame member has found that hoof growth and quality are closely linked to and affected by the level of exercise, health, age, genetics, mechanics, farrier work and nutrition of a particular horse. Environment — wet/dry conditions and bacteria/fungal issues — are also factors that play a crucial role in overall hoof health.

Farrier Takeaways

  • The Life Data Labs research program aims to study the blood test parameters in average healthy horses vs. horses with specific conditions.
  • Blood tests are free to clients, minus what the veterinarian charges for collecting the sample.
  • Horse owners can contact Life Data Labs to receive…
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Aneela nasir

Aneela Nasir

Aneela Nasir is an editorial intern for American Farriers Journal. She is an English graduate student at Mount Mary University, studying new media and creative writing.

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