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Being able to problem solve for the unexpected and unfamiliar is a job requirement for farriers. Even today, when manufacturers continually make new keg shoes and equipment to tackle nearly every footcare issue, resourceful shoers will still reach for bar stock when unique cases arise.
Although you probably have had many successful experiences in hoof-care solutions on the fly, how often have you been asked to develop a new sealant for a rumen fistula allowing access into a cow’s stomach or craft prosthetic rings to help a horse’s collapsed trachea?
These are some of the uncommon crises that the chief of farrier services at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center could face each day. Pat Reilly, the chief for the past 2 years, was asked about the fistula by a veterinary surgeon on his first day on the job.
Helping is just one of the responsibilities entrusted to the chief of farrier services at the Kennett Square, Pa., campus. Some of the duties are as uncommon for horseshoers as making bovine stomach gaskets, while others are as familiar to the profession as trimming a hoof.
First and foremost, Reilly’s primary function is to perform the recognized duties of a farrier. The daily caseload can include a horse that needs a new therapeutic shoe or one that needs more drastic treatment. “By nature, farriers are problem solvers,” says…