2014 INTERNATIONAL HOOF-CARE SUMMIT
Randy Luikart got the ball rolling for the second day of the International Hoof-Care Summit with the Burney Chapman Memorial Lecture. The Ashland, Ohio, farrier stressed the importance of the weight-bearing phase during equine locomotion.
“We ignore research that doesn’t agree with our beliefs. Don’t ignore the facts,” says the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame member. “We need to evaluate the leg at weight bearing.”
The lecture drew a large crowd, and left attendees with a wealth of information.
“[Luikart] is a favorite speaker for me,” Kevin Alcock, an Uxbridge, Ontario, farrier wrote on Facebook. “He never fails to turn on a lightbulb!”
Luikart and Dr. Jeff Thomason continued the discussion about the weight-bearing phase and locomotion later in the day during another packed afternoon session.
The duo teamed up to provide a comprehensive examination of horses that move well, and those that don’t. Farriers must recognize the early signs before the injury worsens, they say.
“A horse has a lot of compensation [for an injury] even before you get a chance to see it,” Thomason says. “The horse could be masking the pain.”
Summit attendees were treated to an illuminating discussion about the benefits of reading radiographs by Dr. Amy Rucker of MidWest Equine in Columbia, Mo.
“You have to know what’s going on inside the hoof to have a meaningful discussion,” says Rucker in the first of three presentations of her short course in reading radiographs. “Measurements matter because they help us identify disease.”
Part two of Rucker’s short course will continue Thursday afternoon, while the third session will be Friday morning. Both are part of the daily hoof-care classrooms.
Day 2 of the Summit also featured the start of the trade show. Almost 120 exhibitors brought their wares to display and sell.
The exhibition also is a hit with attendees such as Belle Center, Ohio, farrier Chuck Gibson.
“It’s pretty good,” he says. “It seems like it’s gotten bigger this year.”
Gibson particularly was impressed with Anatomy of the Equine, a Marshall, Va.-based software company.
“They have some really cool apps,” he says, “that illustrate for my clients what’s going on with the horse’s hoof in 3D, rather than showing them charts.”
Summit attendees had a choice of five informative hoof-care classrooms: “Dealing With Mismatched Feet In The Sport Horse,” with Bedminster, N.J., farrier Bob Pethick; “Overweight And Underweight Horses — What The Farrier Needs To Know,” by Dr. Lydia Gray, medical director and staff veterinarian for SmartPak Equine in Plymouth, Mass.; “Tips And Techniques From Down Under,” presented by Bobinawarrah, Australia, farrier Neville Wright; “Stem Cell Therapy: Understanding The Foundation Of Healing,” by Metamore, Mich., veterinarian Roland Thaler; and “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Horse Nails,” with Steve Kraus, the head farrier at Cornell University’s College of Veterinarian Medicine.
Kraus touched on the origins of the horse nail, but really stressed the selection and use.
“I’ve become more involved in horse nails than I ever thought I would,” he says. “The more I talked about horse nails, the more I’ve become fascinated with them.”
The selection and use of horse nails was the most practical for those who attended the classroom. Some of the best advice Kraus has for farriers is simple enough: use your nails judiciously. He reminded that fewer nails are better for the horse and your bottom line.
“I’ve seen some fill up all of the nail holes,” he says. “Don’t fill up the nail holes. Seldom do you need more than six nails. I know some who only use four.”
Farriers, Veterinarians Join Halls Of Fame
Farriers George Fitzgerald, Mark Milster, Jim Poor and Haydn Price, and veterinarians Larry Bramlage, Phillip Johnson and Andrew van Eps were honored for their outstanding work in equine footcare during a ceremony Wednesday afternoon and a dinner Thursday evening.
Fitzgerald of Newtown, Conn., and Wellington, Fla., has been shoeing top hunters and jumpers for more than 55 years. He has been the official farrier for the National Horse Show for more than 30 years at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Fitzgerald also has worked several events at the Olympics for the U.S. Equestrian Team.
“This is really special for me,” Fitzgerald says. “I’ve worked all my life and it’s all worth it after being inducted into the Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame. I want to dedicate this to my partner. I lost him 4 years ago, and I’d like to dedicate this to Mike Weaver.”
Milster of Purcell, Okla., has been a five-time member of the American Farriers Team, was the 2001 World Championship Blacksmith at the Calgary Stampede and is a six-time world champion in the draft horseshoeing competition.
“I love shoeing horses,” he says. “I can’t imagine doing anything else. I thank God that He has put me in this profession.”
Poor, a Midland, Texas, farrier was the first American to win individual honors at the International Farriery Competition in Stoneleigh, England. He also participated for several years in the World Championship Blacksmiths’ Competition at the Calgary Stampede.
Price of Monmouthshire, Wales, is a consultant to Great Britain’s international show jumping and dressage teams and was presented with a medal of honor by the British Equestrian Federation.
“I wanted to be a farrier since I was 14 years old,” says Price. “It’s taken me to places that I never dreamed. I have exceeded all expectations that I’ve ever had. [Induction into the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame] absolutely tops all of that.”
Bramlage, a surgeon at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., is a past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and was a surgeon and educator for several years at Ohio State University before going into private practice. Bramlage has done extensive work in the equine footcare field.
Johnson, of the University of Missouri veterinary medicine teaching hospital, has done extensive research on how external forces on the hoof affect the functions of specific types of cells. He has examined the role of enzymes that are responsible for the detachment of the hoof from the coffin bone during laminitis. Johnson wants to develop simple diagnostic tests that will be useful in determining which horses are at a heightened risk for laminitis.
Van Eps, of the University of Queensland, Australia, has paired with fellow Hall Of Fame member Chris Pollitt on research of many aspects of the prevention and treatment of laminitis.
Day 2 of the Summit concluded with the American Association of Professional Farriers/Canadian Association of Professional Farriers annual meeting.
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