For the 2010-2011 Vibram/Farrier and Hoofcare Resource Center Co-Op Challenge, farriers are asked to “shoe a horse using out-of-the-box, open heel keg shoes.” Participants may not make any modifications to the shoes, other than normal shaping and finishing. Pads and packing may be used. The shoes may be nailed or glued on. The intentionally broad description has stirred considerable interest and discussion on the FHRC message board.

“The judges came up with this idea without input from anyone else,” says Tayler. “It sounds pedestrian, yet although it sounds ordinary, it is open to interpretation. It can be related to a lameness or pathology, but it also doesn’t have to be. When I announced it on the forums, it generated a lot of questions because of the lack of constraints. Virtually everything can be addressed with keg shoes and pads.”

Tayler feels that the judges selected this topic for farriers to not only showcase knowledge and creativity, but also to be more inclusive.

“Someone who is just doing backyard horses can enter the challenge just as well as the guy who is working with complicated cases.”

All participants must be members of the Farrier & Hoofcare Resource Center Co-Op. Entries must be postmarked by Jan. 1, 2011. Download the instructions and entry form here. The winners will be announced at the February 2011 International Hoof-Care Summit.