Farriers already are conducting research — they just don’t realize it, according to Dr. Renate Weller. At the 2013 International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot, Weller explained that farriers conduct research with each horse.
“Research is a thought process that gets documented,” says the professor in comparative imaging and biomechanics at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in England. “You look at the horse and think about what is the best way to address the problem. If you then assess the outcome — what did it do to the horse — that’s research.”
Weller continues that taking this approach with each horse will elevate the individual farrier and the profession. In addition, the farrier is better suited for conducting this type of “research.” It is the obligation of the veterinarian to utilize the input from a farrier.
“I’m an orthopedic vet — I see the horses when they break,” she says. “I don’t have the long-term relationship with horses. I would be negligent if I didn’t consult with the farrier on why something has changed.”
Weller’s definition of research by the professional farrier in an everyday practice likely is broader than that of many of her contemporaries. And while I have no doubt that she would enjoy a discussion on the matter with colleagues who disagree, Weller is looking to elevate the role of farriers in research.
Following her lecture on tendon ruptures and bone fractures at the 2016 International Hoof-Care Summit, Weller…