Telling Fact From Fiction In Horseshoeing

How to know the difference when looking for truth in the art and science of farriery

Think twice before believing anyone who claims to have the proven, best solutions to your shoeing challenges, warns equine veterinarian William Moyer of Texas A&M University, because the one right answer might not exist.

“Shoeing is both art and science, but science is the smaller part,” says Moyer, who recently addressed attendees at the International Hoof-Care Summit. “Most of what we know, or think we know, is based on tradition and experience rather than actual facts. If I was to bring in all the published papers on hoof care that exist and that are based on scientific methodology, they would fill only a small box.”

In fact, the lack of science behind hoof care means even the most well-read hoof-care professionals can’t offer absolute answers to many equine foot problems. “A huge percentage of horses that we see at Texas A&M, more than 30 percent, leave the university with a diagnosis of ‘I don’t know,’” Moyer says.

Yet claims of hoof-care certainties are common, he notes, so farriers should understand “how to listen to a speaker, read a paper, look at a video or watch a presentation and decide how much of it is fact and how much is just tradition.”

Moyer adds, “It has been said, ‘People believe more than they know and cannot possibly know all that they believe.’ That is, what we actually know and what we think we know might be different.” 

A Long History

Many of the commonly accepted shoeing methods developed over time. “People…

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Ron_perszewski

Ron Perszewski

Ron Perszewski is a freelance writer and former associate editor of Ameri­can Farriers Journal.

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