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Farriers, veterinarians and horse owners all have a vested interest in knowing how to improve the quality of hoof horn.
John Reilly, a veterinarian and researcher from the United Kingdom, reviewed current research on the topic during a presentation at the 2013 International Hoof-Care Summit. He said some research findings are promising, but pointed out that there is still much more to learn. He also emphasized his belief that farriers can play an important role in contributing to future research in this area.
One of the reasons Reilly sees a need for more farriers to get involved in hoof- horn research boils down to the fact that they are the ones with the most hands-on experience with the subject matter.
Reilly noted that studying hoof horn involves approaches that aren’t common in veterinary medicine.
“There’s other stuff going on, that you need to think about in a different way,” he told the audience. “So we’ve got to get other people involved. You’ll see that it involves anatomists, chemists, material scientists and engineers. I’ve realized that farriers are actually very good engineers. The farriers I’ve seen in research get things done and they think in a very ‘engineer-type’ way.”
On the other hand, Reilly says many of the engineers that have been involved in things like designing computer models of hooves and the equine foot don’t have a lot of first-hand knowledge about horses.
“What’s interesting about this, and why we need farriers to works with engineers, is that the…