American-based farrier research is getting a big boost from across the pond as the Royal Veterinary College will be expanding its graduate diploma in equine locomotor research to the United States.
The graduate diploma offers professional farriers in the U.S. the opportunity to learn how to produce original research, increase the evidence base behind farriery and enhance equine welfare, according to the RVC.
After successfully launching the graduate diploma program in 2016 in the United Kingdom, Dr. Renate Weller — who is leading the program with Dr. Thilo Pfau — explored expanding it to the U.S. Following her lecture on tendon ruptures and bone fractures at the 2016 International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio, Weller asked the hundreds of farriers in the room whether they would be interested in entering a university program of advanced footcare. Armed with a photograph of the dozens of hands raised, Weller returned to England to show the RVC administrators that farriers are interested in contributing to research.
“I am super excited by this course,” Weller says. “As an equine clinician I cannot emphasise the importance of farriery in the prevention and treatment of lameness in horses enough. And as a researcher, I am excited to be able to work with people who have the practical experience and knowledge to generate scientific evidence for farriery strategies.”
The course, which can be completed in a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 5 years, is divided into two sections — contemporary study skills and applied equine locomotion. The course will be delivered via webinars, podcasts and face-to-face learning seasons on weekends to accommodate the busy workload that farriers carry. The weekend sessions will be conducted at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center.
“It is a historic moment for the RVC where after 225 years we are welcoming back farriers and I am very honored to be allowed to lead this endeavour,” Weller says. “The most common problem in equine practice is lameness and I am 100% sure we will see great research coming out of this that will help us to work in a team to improve the welfare of the horse.”
Admission will be open to all farriers who can demonstrate that they have farriery training, practical experience with advanced footcare and can provide evidence of reflective practice.
For more information about the graduate diploma, please visit: http://www.rvc.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/graduate-diploma-in-equine-locomotion-research