The 11th annual International Hoof-Care Summit kicked off Tuesday with a day packed with information and instruction.

Vettec hosted a wildly popular 2-hour hands-on clinic to begin a day filled with 25 general sessions, classrooms and roundtables.

Attendees who pre-registered were given the opportunity to experiment on horse leg models with Vettec products.


"It's a lot easier to put this stuff on when you cut their legs off," jokes one farrier while observing another who is creating a custom shoe with SuperFast. 

Mitch Taylor, the owner and head instructor of the Kentucky Horseshoeing School in Richmond, Ky., returned with his on-stage dissection.

Using video cameras to deliver an up-close view for Summit attendees, Taylor meticulously analyzed the anatomy of the foot and distal limb. In a second session, he discussed trimming and shoeing strategies and how they affect the hoof and leg.

University of Guelph professor and researcher Dr. Jeff Thomason discussed the importance of evidence-based medicine in farriery in his 50-minute lecture, "The Latest Findings That Are Shaping Our Understanding Of The Hoof And Limb."

"We've got to get away from opinion and rely on science," Thomason says.

Farriers are on the front lines of ensuring sound hoof care, he says.

"Farriers know hoofs better than anyone," Thomason says. "Veterinarians should be helping you, not the other way around."

Thomason concluded his discussion by urging American farriers to support licensing in order to improve the industry.

"Anyone who picks up a rasp and a hammer should be properly organized," he says. "If you have some [one who is irresponsible] out there, he's going to hurt the industry." 

How-To Hoof-Care Product Knowledge Clinics

Five speakers shared their expertise during 20-minute learning sessions.

G.E. Forge & Tool's Dan Bradley discussed the importance of eye safety.

"How much are your eyes worth to you?" Bradley asks. "There's no reason whatsoever for you not to wear safety glasses."

Larkin Greene of Vettec shared his knowledge in using hoof boots. SmartPak's Jessica Normand talked about how farriers can help horse owners choose a hoof supplement. Grant Moon of Delta Mustad Hoofcare Center told audience members what to consider while shoeing a sport horse.

"Be aware of other styles and techniques," Moon says. "There's no shame for me in improving my shoeing. I had a goal of being a master farrier. I found that is unattainable."

American Farriers Journal Executive Editor Jeremy McGovern advised Summit attendees how to build an effective Facebook page. China Horseshoes sponsored McGovern's discussion. 

Hoof-Care Roundtables

The first day of the International Hoof-Care Summit was rounded out with 16 hoof-care roundtables.

Steve Kraus, Randy Luikart, Roland Thaler and Jeff Thomason used Horse Science models to present a hands-on anatomy discussion in two separate sessions. Australian farrier Neville Wright shared his expertise on the various foot problems that can occur during seasonal changes. Dean Moshier of Delaware, Ohio, led a discussion on dealing with thin-soled horses. Bob Smith of Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School in Plymouth, Calif., talked with rookie shoers about starting out in foot care. Chris Wagner of Aubrey, Texas, moderated a lively discussion about the various issues surrounding Western show horses. Todd Allen of Vandergriff, Pa., led a discussion on what farriers look at before and during a trim. Wellington, Fla., farrier and American Farriers Journal Technical Editor Red Renchin leant his expertise in a discussion about long toes and underrun heels. Dave Dawson of Uxbridge, Ontario, tackled the sizable foot care issues of larger sport horses.

Doug Workman of Cleveland, Ga., led a discussion on shoeing strategies for horses with soft tissue injuries. Dave Richards of Southern Pines, N.C., focused on the future of horseshoe materials and their uses. Doug Anderson of Frederick, Md., talked about modifying shoes to improve performance. Attendees talked about analyzing and treating lameness cases with Jeff Ridley of Leighton, Iowa. Dr. Amy Rucker of Columbia, Mo., and Brent Brown of Northport, Maine, led a discussion on improving the relationship between vets and farriers. Summit attendee shared the best foot care ideas that they heard in the past year with Dave Nicholls of West Sussex, United Kingdom. Esco Buff, of Webster, N.Y., shared ways farriers can increase prices and justify them to their clients.

Day 2 promises to be another big day at the International Hoof-Care Summit with Randy Luikart kicking it off with the Burney Chapman Memorial Lecture. The Ashland, Ohio, farrier will discuss how your work can affect the weight-bearing phases.