Anatomy: Foundation of Good Hoof Care

At a recent clinic in Burlington, Wis., I began with an anatomy lecture — as I do at many clinics. This allows all of the people attending to be on the same page when we later do a dissection, or apply some sort of pathological shoeing to a horse. Pat Tearney from the American Farriers Journal was in the audience, and asked me to write some articles about anatomy as a result.

I feel that anatomy is largely left out in the teaching of farriers in the United States. If the owner or operator of a shoeing school does not see the importance of teaching anatomy, the students in that school are not getting what they need to become the best farrier possible. In cases of farriers who learn the craft through an apprenticeship, many masters don’t have the time — and perhaps the knowledge — to make anatomy a part of creating a great new farrier. As a result, the horse often suffers at the hands of horseshoers who get in over their heads from a lack of knowledge.

Knowledge As Power

Another — and possibly bigger — problem that arises from the lack of anatomy knowledge is that it leads us to be more easily persuaded to buy into bad shoeing theories.

Anytime I hear about a new way to trim a horse, or a new apparatus to glue or nail to a foot, I base the decision of using that item on whether or not it makes…

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Chris Gregory

Chris Gregory is a Hall of Fame farrier and owner of Heartland Horseshoeing School in Lamar, Mo.

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