Hundreds of farriers, veterinarians and hoof-care professionals from at least 16 countries gathered Tuesday in Cincinnati, Ohio, for the 12th annual International Hoof-Care Summit.

Celebrating the theme, “Gateway To Better Footcare, Mitch Taylor kicked off the general session by performing his popular dissection of an equine limb by ”

During the dissection, the owner and operator of the Kentucky Horseshoeing School in Richmond, Ky., discussed the importance of the coffin bone.

“As farriers, one of the biggest charges we have is protecting the coffin bone at all costs,” Taylor says. “I begin balancing the foot at the coffin bone.”

Although each horse is different, there is one trait that each sound horse has in common.

“Not all horses have the same characteristics of why they are sound, but all have one thing in common,” he says. “They all have very good vertical depth of foot.”

The start of the 4-day footcare education event was met with an abundance of enthusiasm.

“I’m very excited to be attending the International Hoof-Care Summit this week,” says Caleb Fisher of Gordonville, Pa. “It’s always an excellent opportunity to further our education as hoof care professionals.”

A Standardized Method Of Hoof Trimming Using A Mapping Protocol

Because of decades of debate over the meaning of hoof balance, there is no standardized approach to trimming the equine foot. Myerscough College farriery instructor Mark Caldwell wants that to change.

The British farrier believes there is a need for hoof-care professionals to use a consistent method of trimming that will accurately assess the orientation of internal anatomical landmarks by using external reference points.

“If you can accurately identify those anatomical landmarks, you can trim and shoe horses to minimize the effects of biomechanical forces over your shoeing cycle,” Caldwell says. “They’ll give you an accurate guide of how to deal with hoof capsule distortion without ruining the integrity of the hoof wall. It will give you an accurate indication as to where specific anatomical and biomechanical points are, such as center of load and rotation. It will help you design and modify shoes that can manipulate those forces to your advantage to relieve pressure.”

Vettec Hands-On Workshop

Farriers packed the third annual Vettec Hands-On Workshop to learn how to apply and maintain the various products from the hoof-care product manufacturer.

Vettec clinician Tab Pigg gave pointers to attendees on how to glue shoes using Adhere.

“When dressing the foot, you should leave about 1/8 of an inch of material,” says the Azle, Texas, farrier. “If you rasp it down too much to look like a foot, you’ve lost a lot of strength. If you leave enough to hang your finger nail on it, the material is presentable and there’s still enough strength there to keep the shoe from coming off.”

The workshop once again was a hit among attendees. Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., farrier Mike Heinrich took advantage of the opportunity to try his hand at applying a horseshoe to a cadaver limb.

“It went really well,” he says. “It was surprisingly easy. Tab has a great way of explaining ideas. It’s a great clinic and just a fantastic opportunity.”

Four Key Factors That Affect Hoof Health

Danvers Child, a Lafayette, Ind., farrier and Jessica Normand, senior director of equine health at SmartPak, teamed up to discuss “Four Key Factors That Affect Hoof Health.” Among the four key factors is keeping a horse on a 5-week schedule.

“We do this to keep the foot under the bony column of the limb,” Child says. “If we are only dealing with horses that grow in a downward fashion, we’d go broke. Luckily, it grows forward and we have to back it up to get under the bony column.”

As technology continues to improve, it becomes easier to maintain a schedule using any number of devices and software. Getting clients on the schedule, however, can be more difficult.

“Let your clients know that if they’re not on a schedule, they’re not a priority,” Child says. “If they are on the schedule, they are a priority.”

Brandon Marczyk of High Prairie, Alberta, appreciates the advice.

“Too many times I’ve put the wrong calls first,” says the owner of Heavy Horse Farms and Farrier Service. “People cancel, so I just try to cram them into days I’m in the area again or days that are already booked too full. Then I’m over worked or forced to postpone and thus starting the cycle over again. I could never win. I’m totally adopting this policy.”

Classrooms And Roundtables

The first day of the International Hoof-Care Summit concluded with six How-To Hoof-Care Product Knowledge Clinics and 16 Hoof-Care Roundtables.

Hoof-Care Product Knowledge Clinics:

  • How to Properly Match Horse Nails to Horseshoes, presented by Steve Kraus, the head farrier at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
  • An Overview Of Synthetic Shoes And Their Application, conducted by Larkin Greene of Vettec.
  • Ten Easy Equine Nutrition Takeaways, presented by SmartPak’s Normand.
  • Helpful Tool Tips, sponsored by China Horseshoes and presented by Bob Smith, owner and operator of Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School in Plymouth, Calif.
  • Safety 101: Protect Your Hearing, by Dan Bradley, a G.E. Forge & Tool clinician.
  • Dormosedan Gel — A Farrier’s Best Friend, presented by Dr. Kenton Morgan from Zoetis.

Hoof-Care Roundtables:

  • Two sessions of a Hoof-Care Anatomy Warm-Up, which was led by Caldwell; Dr. Stephen O’Grady of Northern Virginia Equine in Marshall, Va.; and Brad Porter, the former head farrier of the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
  • Thoughts And Theories On Sole Support, moderated by Todd Allen of Vandergrift, Pa.
  • Business Management Strategies For The Everyday Farrier, which was led by Shane Westman of Bow, Wash.
  • Considerations For Shoe Fit And Placement, moderated by Kraus.
  • For New Farriers (Apprentice To Third Year) Only, conducted by Smith.
  • Shoeing Hunters Or Jumpers: What’s The Difference, moderated by Doug Anderson of Frederick, Md.
  • Pathological Vs. Conformational Issues: How Do You Tell The Real Differences?, led by Travis Burns, lecturer and chief of farrier services at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Dealing With Long Toes, Underrun Heels, featuring Red Renchin, technical editor at American Farriers Journal.
  • Is Modern Farriery In Danger Of Moving Away From Basics?, led by Jeremy Spivey of Platteville, Colo.
  • Field Tested Tips For Using Glue-On Shoes, conducted by David Giza of Culpeper, Va.
  • Footcare Management For The Standardbred, moderated by Conny Svensson of East Windsor, N.J.
  • Considerations For The Show Farrier, led by Dave Dawson of Uxbridge, Ontario.
  • Managing Public Perception And Why It Matters, conducted by Jamie Cooper, a Cleveland, Texas, attorney.
  • Laminitis: Recognizing And Managing Client Expectations, moderated by Steve Prescott of Raleigh, N.C.
  • Rehabilitation For Foot And Hoof Injuries: Where Does The Farrier Fit In?, which was led by Anderson.

Be sure to find out what’s on Wednesday’s agenda for Day 2 of the Summit.

Tell us what was the highlight for you from the first day of the 2015 International Hoof-Care Summit?