A new 2-year diploma-level course in hoof care recently has been granted official accreditation by the Australian government.
The Diploma of Equine Podiotherapy course from the Australian College of Equine Podiotherapy in Victoria focuses on anatomy, rehabilitation, hoof pathologies, biomechanics and the equine musculo-skeletal system.
Among the lecturers will be Robert Bowker, who heads the Equine Hoof Laboratory Research at Michigan State University. Bowker is a member of the International Equine Veterinarian Hall Of Fame and has spoken several times at the International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Equine Podiotherapy course has been designed by hoof care professionals, equine body workers, and veterinarians who saw a need for new specialists in this emerging field.
The designers of the course say it “opens up a whole new realm of study for many people”.
They say it has taken more than 10 years to complete the government accreditation process, and every lesson in each module had to be written from scratch.
While this was a lot of work, it “turned out to be a good thing”, the directors say, as they were able to include all the subjects thought necessary for a 21st century hoof-care provider to be a true “hoof therapist.”
“Someone who could explain to horse owners the role of the hoof in life-long soundness," they say, "and the impacts of hoof issues on the entire horse.”
The new Equine Podiotherapy course is different to the Farriers Cert III course, which has been taught in Australia for many years, as it does not cover working with steel but instead concentrates on areas such as anatomy, pathology, equine biomechanics and the equine musculo-skeletal system that have never been available before in any professional hoof care training course.
The February 2015 course was fully booked, with students from across Australia and abroad, and also including equine veterinarians who wish to use more natural hoof care for rehabilitation of conditions such as navicular and laminitis.
The course is based in Yarck in rural Victoria at a working centre for laminitis and navicular rehabilitation so students have access to a wide variety of hoof issues.
Enrollments are now being taken for courses starting in February and March 2016.