Pictured Above: Tab Pigg, right, of Vettec Hoof Care instructs Bobby Simms of Moravia, N.Y., on the importance of applying Adhere quickly due to its quick set time. The instruction was part of the Vettec Hands-On Clinic that took place Tuesday at the International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio.

What is breakover? If you ask five farriers, you’ll probably get as many definitions, Dr. Michael Miller told attendees at the 13th annual International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“Everyone has been told about breakover from the time you were a farrier student, an apprentice, when you worked with a mentor,” says Miller, who not only is a farrier, but serves human patients as an orthopedic surgeon. “You were told to move the breakover here, slow it down, speed it up, put it over there. It’s like moving a piece of furniture around. Everyone has an idea and are convinced they know what it is.”

The Huntsville, Ala., farrier, though, is convinced that no one really knows what it is.

“What you think it is, probably doesn’t exist at all,” Miller says. “The problem with focusing on breakover is that you’re taking away from what really matters, which is a very complicated, biomechanical animal that weighs 1,100 pounds and responds to tremendous forces — and you are working on the wrong end of a chain.

“So, thinking that your shoe is going to alter this chain of events drastically, might be a little misguided.”

Anatomical Review Of The Features And Effects Of Different Foot Types

How do different foot types affect the inside of the hoof and distal limb? It’s critical to understand anatomy to arrive at the answer for the many variables, according to Mitch Taylor. The owner and operator of the Kentucky Horseshoeing School in Richmond, Ky., dissected a number of equine cadaver limbs and hooves as part of the review.

“It’s important to think through a problem,” the Hall Of Fame farrier says, “rather than take a ‘monkey-see, monkey-do’ approach.”

Yet, while anatomical knowledge is critical, there are other considerations to keep in mind.

“Environment and conformation affect the foot the most,” Taylor says. “I started shoeing horses at 16 in Colorado. When I moved to Kentucky, I realized the influence that environment has over the foot. The horse’s leg has developed quite well to handle these stresses.”

Vettec Hands-On Clinic

Vettec Hoof Care supplied four stations to offer attendees an opportunity to use its products while a clinician instructs them.

“You really don’t want to use these products for the first time in front of a client,” says Frank Dugan, Vettec’s director of sales. “It’s best to practice and get a good feel for it before applying it to a live horse.”

As Moravia, N.Y., farrier Bobby Simms applied spacers to the shoe he was going to glue onto a cadaver limb, Vettec clinician Tab Pigg offered some pointers.

“You can wear gloves when using Adhere, but I prefer not to so I don’t get stuck to the horse,” the Azle, Texas, farrier says. “The material bonds to the gloves quickly and you can’t get it off.”

Before applying the material, Pigg suggests placing the shoe with the toe facing you.

“All I have to do,” he says, “is pick it up and boom, right on the foot.”

SmartPak Hands-On Clinic

Jessica Normand, SmartPak’s se­nior director of equine health, and Lafayette, Ind., farrier Danvers Child teamed up to offer “Smart Nutrition Tips From SmartPak.”

“It’s important for farriers to understand the foundations of nutrition,” Normand says, “so when a client asks you about it, you feel comfortable discussing it.”

It’s critical for your hoof-care clients to understand that the digestive systems of humans and horses are vastly different.

“Humans have set meal times, but the equine digestive system is designed to eat small amounts frequently,” she explains. “Humans are constantly metabolizing gastric acid, but horses don’t. Extended periods of fasting increases the risk of gastric ulcers and colic.”

A horse’s caloric intake should come from forage — or roughage — rather than concentrates — or grain. A horse should be fed 1% to 2% of its body weight in roughage a day.

“It can be a mix of pasture, hay, cubes, chopped, beet pulp, etc.”

Honoring A Distinguished Leader

Late last summer, the farrier world lost one of its best and brightest when Red Renchin passed away at the age of 70. To honor the Hall Of Fame shoer and American Farriers Journal technical editor, the American Association of Professional Farriers and AFJ teamed up to create the Robert “Red” Renchin Distinguished Leadership Award.

The award is a Waterford crystal vase that rests on a wooden base that displays the names of each years’ recipients. It will be awarded annually to:

• A current member of the AAPF, Canadian or International Association of Professional Farriers — although the recipient may not be a current member of the board of directors.

• A farrier who displayed similar exemplary leadership demonstrated by Renchin, including being well-respected by and able to work hand-in-hand with area veterinarians and other farriers on critical horse care issues.

• A farrier who is willing to share his or her knowledge and train future hoof-care leaders.

• A farrier who has a continued desire to learn more about all aspects of hoof care and evaluate new techniques in the farrier field.

• A farrier who is willing to go out of his or her way to help fellow farriers.

• A farrier who is a strong believer in the need for highly effective customer service.

“The 2016 recipient of the AAPF Robert “Red” Renchin Distinguished Leadership Award is, of course, the late Robert “Red” Renchin,” announced AAPF President Dave Farley.

Triple Crown Farrier

It was a tremendous year in the equine industry — one that saw the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years, as well as the Breeder’s Cup Classic.

“We should take time to celebrate achievements of those in the industry, regardless of the types of horses worked with or what was nailed, glued, wrapped or strapped on horses’ feet,” says AFJ Executive Editor Jeremy McGovern. “Everyone’s work is important and it doesn’t matter if it’s a backyard champion or a grand prix champion. That horse matters to someone and so does the hoof care that you provide.”

McGovern and AFJ Editor and Publisher Frank Lessiter recognized the outstanding footcare work that Arcadia, Calif., farrier Wes Champagne provided for the legendary American Pharoah.

“It takes a lot of hard work to be a farrier,” Champagne says. “You have to want it like you want to breathe.”

American Pharoah didn’t receive special treatment from his farrier, though.

“I treat him like any horse that I treat,” Champagne says. “I do the best that I can, because I know if he goes on to win a competition, he brings other horses to that barn, which makes more work for all of us.

“I have a trainer who was fresh out of high school and had one horse. The tip of the coffin bone had broken through the sole. I put a special hospital plate on it and it went on to win six races. By the end of the year, that trainer had 40 horses. So, if you take care of the little guy, he’ll be great, too.”

How-To Clinics And Roundtables

A number of hoof-care practitioners offered up valuable knowledge to round out the first day of the International Hoof-Care Summit.

• Dr. Kenton Morgan presented, “Solutions For Safety,” sponsored by Zoetis.

• Larkin Greene discussed, “Hoof Protection Options For Endurance Horses,” sponsored by Vettec.

• Normand and Child teamed up once again for, “Is This Horse A Healthy Weight? How To Body Condition Score,” sponsored by SmartPak.

• Esco Buff lectured on, “The Use Of Copper Alloy Shoes,” sponsored by Kawell.

GE Forge & Tool sponsored Dan Bradley’s presentation on, “Registration, Certification And Licensing, What Do They Mean?”

Razerhorse sponsored Conny Svensson’s lecture, “A Creative Frog Support Idea.”

• Champagne demonstrated how to “Improve Success At Shoeing,” sponsored by Postyme.

• Blasdell, N.Y., farrier Tim Cable moderated a roundtable that focused on “Shoeing For Soundness In The Gait An Equine Athlete Needs In Competition.”

• Travis Burns, the chief farrier at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Va., led a discussion on, “What We Know Vs. What We Think We Know … And Telling The Difference. The Importance Of Referencing In The Farrier Profession.”

• Raleigh, N.C., farrier Steve Prescott moderated a discussion on, “Management Of Mismatched Feet.”

• Farley, the Coshocton, Ohio, farrier, led a pair of discussions — “Who Is Your Client’s Hoof-Care Expert: You Or Google?” and “Ethics: How Are We Doing As An Industry.”

• Ramona, Calif., veterinarian John Stewart moderated a discussion about, “What Should We Consider About The Sole’s Role In Weight Bearing?”

• Moreno Valley, Calif., farrier Tim Shannon led a discussion on, “Good Practices Vs. Poor Practices With Bar Shoes.”

Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School owner Bob Smith led two discussions for new farriers — “Finding Clients” and “Early Errors That Limit Or Destroy Farrier Practices.”

• Califon, N.J., farrier Bob Pethick, British veterinarian Renate Weller and Italian farrier and veterinarian Hans Castelijns led a pair of “Hands-On Anatomy Warm-Up sessions. The Horse Science models were provided by Hall Of Fame farrier Allie Hayes.

• Wellington, Fla., farrier Curtis Burns led a discussion on, “Balancing Your Practice Between The Needs Of Different Disciplines.”

• Ashland, Ohio, farrier Randy Luikart moderated a session on, “Thoughts On Breakover And The Hind Foot.”

• Buff, of Webster, N.Y., discussed, “Business Mistakes That Cost Farriers Money And How You Overcome Them,” with attendees.

Cornell University head farrier Steve Kraus led a discussion on, “Managing A Horse Coming Back From Clinical Care To Your Practice.”

• Child moderated a discussion about, “Tackling Soft Tissue Injuries With Sport Horses.”