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At the 2013 International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot, veterinarians, researchers and farriers delivered talks that covered a wide range of topics covering biomechanics, pathologies and treatments.
With many conference sessions, it might be difficult for the farrier to directly correlate the information from research-based presentations to an everyday hoof-care practice. Through his presentation on TIG welding with aluminum shoes, Rehoboth, Mass., farrier Mike Phillips did so by delivering a practical introduction about an application farriers could quickly incorporate into their shoeing arsenal.
Phillips’ goal wasn’t necessarily to deliver a how-to process of techniques, but instead illustrate how TIG welding can inspire creative possibilities in constructing imaginative shoeing possibilities when using aluminum in therapeutic shoeing.
TIG, or tungsten inert gas, is an arc welding process that uses a tungsten electrode to produce the weld. The weld area is protected from airborne contamination by an inert shielding gas (mostly argon, sometimes helium). Systems utilize a foot or finger remote to regulate the heat input, while the user guides the filler rod.
Phillips believes that competent farriers can build shoes based on needs if the material is steel.
However, aluminum presents a challenge for many farriers when trying to work with the material for therapeutic applications. TIG welding is one solution that may help farriers become more skillful in utilizing aluminum.
“Since aluminum weighs approximately a third the weight of steel, we are able to use thicker material to allow…