One of the biggest problems a farrier will face in a hoof-care practice is the very person responsible for their livelihood: the horse owner.
This is something that Jeff Douglas, a farrier student at the time, and Doug Butler, Douglas’ instructor and renowned farrier, recognized and wrote about in their article “Educating Horseowners About Common Hoof Diseases,” written for the March/April 1986 issue of American Farriers Journal. In this article, Douglas and Butler discuss the importance of addressing hoof diseases with horse owners, as well as the devastating effects these diseases can have once they take hold of the hoof.
Douglas and Butler recognize that hoof care is one of the most common practices horse owners will neglect in the overall care of their horse — and that this neglect is also the root cause of many hoof diseases.
“Few horse problems have as lasting and destructive an effect on the animal’s performance and value as do foot diseases. And the most frequent cause of these is also the most preventable: owner neglect,” they write.
Throughout the rest of the article, Douglas and Butler examine the most common hoof diseases: thrush, bruised sole, abscess, sand cracks (also known as quarter cracks), navicular disease, laminitis and founder. They look at the effects these diseases can have, how to treat them and how to educate horse owners about them. They point out that if farriers don’t take the time to educate their clients about avoiding serious hoof ailments…