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The theme of the 2015 annual fall clinic at the Horseshoe Barn in Sacramento, Calif., focused on looking beyond the surface of the hoof and considering the anatomical structures and systems that affect and are affected by the way farriers trim and shoe horses’ hooves.
A thorough knowledge of anatomy is not only critical for farriers’ understanding of the hoof and the pathologies a horse may face, but is also an important contributor to conversations farriers have with their clients and veterinarians.
Presentations from International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame farrier Bob Smith of Plymouth, Calif., and Marshall, Va., farrier Paige Poss focused on comparative anatomy of three hoof types the first day and a full hind and full fore limb dissection the second. The pair pointed out structures farriers should be aware of and explained some of the pathologies associated with those structures.
With 85 farriers in attendance, the clinic also featured a lecture by Smith on shoeing club feet and a fundraising auction to support farrier Logan Lovett, who recently was diagnosed with cancer.
“Our presentation was focused on functional anatomy as opposed to just identifying the parts,” Smith says. “Our limbs were relatively fresh so we could flex the muscles and extend the stifle to show how the structures in the leg work together.”
When choosing cadavers for dissections, Poss says she picks limbs with varying conformations and distortions to better illustrate what is happening inside some of the feet farriers commonly work on.