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Dr. Michael Russell, left, and Bob Smith pride themselves on having developed a strong vet-farrier relationship that is responsible for saving many rescue horses.
As a farrier and a veterinarian, we have a unique working relationship. Over the past several years, we’ve treated and rehabilitated rescue horses at the Grace Foundation in El Dorado Hills, Calif. Our work provides the students at the Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School with a view on how a good working relationship between vet and farrier benefits the team and the horse. Also, because many of the horses are in poor condition, the students get to see some of the most devastating hoof conditions that horses can suffer.
The school works at the Grace Foundation a minimum of once a week with all the horses on a 6-week shoeing schedule. Students participate in the evaluation of lame horses that are brought in by animal control. Horse’s feet and lower limbs are radiographed and Dr. Russell presents his findings to the students to assist in the shoeing discussions. We interact with the students weekly on a vast array of lameness issues, challenging them to develop logical approaches to dealing with lameness problems. Students learn how shoeing has to be based on sound anatomy and physiology.
Arizona, a 25-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, was seized by Northern California animal control authorities in August 2008 and taken to a county-owned animal shelter for evaluation, care and subsequent adoption. The horse was one of three equines wandering…