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This year marks my 55th year of shoeing horses. Techniques have changed several times throughout that career based on subjective evaluation and misleading science. We now live in the age of information (and misinformation), and those who force their opinions on our farriery practices are expanding. Throw in a measure of “how-to” by owners and veterinarians who don’t shoe horses for a living, yet feel the need to tell us how to do it anyway. Fortunately, knowledge will help weed out the stupid stuff.
The autonomy that we should have to practice our craft is based on our experiences, skill and education. Actual decisions of normal hoof-care standards and the necessary techniques to address gait problems or lameness issues mediated by farriery should be left in the hands of the farrier.
Yes, input from other professionals involved with the case should be considered. However, the decision should be left with the farrier because that is the professional who will be the ultimate responsible party for those decisions.
Gain food for thought by reading other footcare observations by Randy Luikart at
Farriers have been known to make decisions that were not successful — some have made…