Theories Of Hoof-Care Gurus Need To Be Put To Scientific Test

While listening to Dr. Hiltrude Strasser and a panel of farriers, veterinarians and hoof-care specialists debate the German veterinarian’s controversial hoof-care theories, I kept hearing a veterinarian who wasn’t even there.

That was Al Kane, who writes the “Research Journal” column in American Farriers Journal. During a roundtable discussion at the American Farrier’s Association convention in Lexington, Ky., Kane offered this opinion.

“The biggest problem in our industry is the lack of truly credible scientific information on which to base decisions,” he said. “There’ s more psudeoscience than science guiding what we do.”

During the Strasser seminar at Tufts University  there was no lack of opinions on what was best for horses. Many of those opinions seemed to be carefully thought out, and their proponents — including Dr. Strasser — could cite successful track records. Some could point to extensive personal field studies and long years of personal observations.

But there was little that would have stood up to the standards required of valid scientific research.

Strasser’s theory, for instance, is based on a holistic care approach that not only gets rid of shoes, but involves a major change from how most horses are stabled and cared for. This approach is as revolutionary as anything Strasser has to say about horseshoes or trimming.

Is It The Shoes?

Strasser and her disciples attribute much of her success to getting rid of horseshoes.

But are horseshoes really the culprit? Or would a study find that horses kept under all of the conditions…

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Pat tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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