April 9, 2012

The International Equine Veterinarian Hall Of Fame was established in 1997 to recognize equine practitioners who have contributed to furthering the knowledge and recognition of proper hoof care. Previously-elected members of the Hall voted on this year’s nominees.

Columbus, Ohio’s, Dr. James Belknap is a valued member of the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and an associate professor in the Galbreath Equine Center at Ohio State.
His career began in his younger years on a livestock farm in Goshen, Ky., where they had “horses (cheap ones) and ponies (cheap, mean ones).”
However, moving to Colorado in high school and working with a mixed animal veterinarian really convinced him that he wanted to work with large animals. He went to veterinary school at Colorado State University.
Belknap’s real fascination with feet came during his internship at the University of Georgia, where a great deal of work on laminitis was being performed. Over the years, Belknap attended more schools, conducted a large deal of research and began collaborating with many individuals throughout the world.
He was later recruited to Ohio State University to perform soft tissue surgery, lameness and podiatry in the clinics, while continuing his laminitis research. He still researches at Ohio State, as well as at Auburn University.
Being recognized for his work by groups and individuals he has a great deal of respect for has meant much to him as a researcher — knowing that he is having a practical impact.
Belknap says even with all of his contributions, he feels that the farriers he has collaborated with have taught him much more than he taught them.
As a new Hall Of Fame inductee, he says, “Thank you. It’s a great honor.”

Dr. Amy Rucker of Columbia, Mo., has a long-held interest in footcare, which started to take shape working for Dr. Steve Tornberg in Harrisburg, S.D.
Not long after she arrived at her first job with Tornberg, she was pulling shoes during one of her first lameness exams. She says she was so lucky to land that job because “everyone at the clinic and all the local farriers had a way of building you up as you learned.”
Many of her valuable lessons came from Dr. Ric Redden. In 1990, her life changed when she referred a laminitic horse to the Kentucky veterinarian. She said goodbye to the horse and sent him to Kentucky, but he returned 2 months later and his recovery was “amazing.”
She visited Redden to learn how to continue the horse’s care and returned with 44 pages of notes and three rolls of film.
But it was her second visit with Redden, during a blacksmithing lesson, which gave her the edge she needed to make it in the business.
Rucker says, “A year later I called him and asked him if he really thought I could learn to shoe. Doc said, ‘It’ll be like learning to drive. You’ll run off the road a few times, but eventually you’ll get where you’re going.’
“He taught me to sweat the small stuff because the details are the difference between a horse being able to walk or run. He also taught me to have vision.”
She is very humbled by her Hall Of Fame induction and thanks every person and horse she has ever met because each taught her a new lesson.
“I’ve always felt fortunate to be included in this industry that feels like a family to me,” she says. “I feel like I’ve still got a long road ahead of me.”


Mr. John Stewart hails from Dumfries, Scotland. He graduated from  England’s Cambridge University in 1977 and was in a mixed animal practice until 1992 when he set up his own veterinary practice, mainly equine.
In 1998, however, he became really “fired up” in laminitis research after Dr. Chris Pollitt’s presentations at the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) Congress. Since then, he has been on the path to researching the complex laminitis puzzle.
After attending a weekend course given by Dr. Hiltrud Strasser — a barefoot proponent — in 2002, Stewart found himself agreeing with some things, disagreeing with others and found a large section in the middle that he didn’t really know much about.
He set up his website, www.johnthe, to post his research, articles and provide an open forum for people to contact him, and is currently writing a book for horse owners about horses’ feet, which will be out later this year.
Stewart says, “I find it particularly rewarding when someone contacts me on the website to say a light has been switched on and they now understand.”
He has spoken at the International Hoof-Care Summits in 2007 and 2008, and says the IHCS is “a great place to get new ideas and to discuss old ones. I come away every year with questions, take a year to investigate and believe I have found the answer by the next year’s Summit only to find more questions … and so it goes on.”
Stewart is truly honored by his Hall Of Fame induction, and says, “I do believe I can contribute to the knowledge and understanding of horses’ feet and laminitis. I was very surprised and delighted to find that there are others who believe I can too, and have faith in me and my work to elect me into this prestigious group.”