Tomorrow's Footcare Will Require Planning Today

We’re seeing some encouraging signs of cooperation between veterinarians and farriers lately — and we hope we’ll see more.

A program on veterinarian-farrier relationships in managing sport horses sponsored by the Florida Association of Equine Practitioners drew a large number of attendees in August and the American Association of Equine Practitioners December convention includes a day-long program entitled “Putting Science Into Farriery.”

To be sure, there is still friction between the two professions and there probably always will be. But the future will demand not only cooperation, but the exploration of new methods of ensuring teamwork.

Critical Shortages Loom

There is already a shortage of equine veterinarians and research suggests that shortage could very well reach critical proportions in coming years. Researchers at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University found that the nation’s veterinary schools — despite operating at full capacity — will fall well short of graduating enough new DVMs to fill projected needs.

The shortage is expected to be even more severe in the equine field. Now think about how few equine veterinarians are out there who are really experts at hoof care. Who’s going to fill their places when they retire?

While it’s much harder to get a handle on the number of farriers in the United States than it is veterinarians, there are indications that at least some areas of the country will suffer from a shortage of good shoers. That is likely to be particularly true of farriers with the skills and…

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Pat_tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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