The Spring Farrier Clinic held at Iowa State University (ISU) this weekend has similarities with other farrier clinics. There is a multi-class competition, presentations and camaraderie typically found at other clinics. One distinct difference is the emphasis placed on vet-farrier relationships.

There were joint educational sessions, but the primary way that the clinic uses to improve this relationship is through its Vet-Farrier Classic Competition. In this class, two vets will join with a farrier. The team will have to create a case history and treatment plan for the same issue as other groups — a proximal suspensory injury.

Farrier Tim Shannon and Iowas State Veterinary Student

California farrier Tim Shannon works with veterinary students at the 2017 ISU Spring Clinic.

The farrier will trim and shoe the horse, but the students must punch and pritchel the nail holes and clinch. The farrier would select a shoe based on the severity of the injury as described by the team.

After an hour and half to trim and shoe the horse, the team must present the case. The students would describe the diagnostics and treatment, as well as follow-up. The farrier would explain why the particular shoe was selected. Out of 15 teams, Minnesota farrier Bodie Trnka and student Jennifer Ruff won the challenge.

Doug Russo, the farrier at Iowa State, has stressed the vet-farrier relationships since he arrived at ISU a few years ago. He also teaches veterinary students during various 2-week rotations throughout the term in what he jokingly calls the “farrier appreciation course.” He has a set curriculum to cover and wants the students to be able to, at minimum, properly pull shoes after the 2 weeks. However, Russo lets the students determine other areas to explore during the rotation, such as specific shoe types and applications.

This clinic is a joint effort by the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa Professional Farriers Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Michigan farrier Dick Becker was the judge for the competition.

To learn more about this competition, as well as information presented at this clinic on how vets and farriers should work on street nail cases, read the May/June 2017 issue of American Farriers Journal.