Physiological Trimming Theory Is Working

While some aspects of this scientifically proven trimming method are not new, they’ve been forgotten or under-utilized by many hoof-care professionals maintains this researcher

More than 10 years of intensive research at Michigan State University has resulted in new recommendations for relief from navicular syndrome and other chronic foot ailments.

Robert Bowker, an equine veterinarian who is director of the Equine Foot Laboratory at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine, is conducting research on the physiological function of the equine foot. He brings a solid background to this research position with a veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Veterinary Medicine and a Ph.D in anatomy from its medical school.

As a result of teaching gross anatomy to MSU veterinary students since 1988, Bowker became interested in the equine foot, since he knew that the texts commonly used by students and veterinarians were often incorrect on this subject.

Capitalizing on his doctoral training in neurobiology, Bowker began to lookclosely at the nerves of the foot. His research was soon expanded to blood vessels, cartilage, bones of the foot and more recently to the role of hooves and laminae from both health and disease standpoints. Most of these research efforts are supported by the American Quarter Horse Association, the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, Inc. and private donations.

In the 1990s, Bowker began supplementing his scientific studies with field observations of the foot of the wild horse in order to better understand footcare concerns with the domestic horse.

Bowker’s research has led to the discovery of a wholly different theory on how the equine foot responds to ground impact. His research focused on the…

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