Horses appear able to exert a fine degree of control over the temperature of their feet probably due to some type of central mechanism, says Australian hoof researcher Chris Pollitt. The director of the Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit says recent research in Norway confirms a conclusion from Australian cryotherapy studies that indicates severe cold is neither harmful nor troublesome to horses.
A half dozen mature horses with clinically normal feet were kept in outside yeards and fed unlimited amounts of hay under Norway's winter conditions. Forelimb hoof temperatues and outdoor temperatures ranging from freezing down to a minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit were logged continuously over several days. Regardless of the outdoor temperature, frequent warming of the foot appears to be a feature of normal foot physioogy, which keeps metabolism and hoof growth from being compromised with either cold or warm feet, says Pollitt.
By having someone concentrating on the feet, Steve Foxworth says a vet/farrier team often finds concerns that otherwise might have been missed in pre-purchase examinations. Over the past 10 years, the farrier from Berthoud, Colo., has built a solid business reputation by working closely with area vets on therapeutic cases. Many of the horses Foxworth ends up seeing have already been seen by two or three other vets and farriers who didn't get the problems solved.
"I've also built a reputation for not being willing to automatically follow shoeing prescriptions from a…