Farrier Science And Economic Loss Due To Lameness

Study finds important differences regarding perceptions of farrier skills and abilities

OWNER CONCERNS. Horse owners who participated in this study felt the ability of a farrier to identify causes of lameness was the most important skill for a farrier to have.

The state of Tennessee has the third highest population of horses in the United States with 190,000 head. In 1998, horse-related expenditures accounted for $406 million in Tennessee, 16 percent of all farm expenditures for the year1. Nationally, the horse industry has a direct impact on gross domestic product of $25.3 billion and a total impact of $112.1 billion. The horse industry accounts for 1.4 million full-time jobs and pays $1.9 billion in taxes and fees annually. Of all money spent nationally on recreation and entertainment, 9 percent is spent on the horse industry2

Lameness And Loss

Lameness is the single greatest contributor of economic loss to the horse industry. With nearly 14 percent of all horses lame at any given time3, Tennessee’s horse owners and horse owners nationally lose $11.5 million and $678 million, respectively.

The most debilitating lamenesses vention. The quality of farrier-provided intervention required to correct the lameness in these cases is often of more importance than that of the veterinarian. Currently, no minimum education or skill requirements exist to become a farrier, despite the fact that proper hoof care is a preventative measure for a variety of lameness suffered by horses. 

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the skill level of farriers and determine whether there is a…

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