Wyoming farrier Mike Sussex discusses the significance of keeping hooves healthy through therapeutic hoof care and a holistic approach to horse health.

“A healthy hoof is the bottom line to a horse’s existence,” Sussex told The Torrington Telegram. “If his feet are bad enough, he can’t navigate.”

“There is a lot of weight being placed on that area,” agrees Dr. Luke Bass, an equine veterinarian and professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University.

Ideally, according to Sussex and Bass, footcare is a “three-legged process” of collaboration between a horse’s owner, veterinarian and farrier, considering the integral nature of the hoof.

“By working very closely together with what we can do as a veterinarian and what they can do as a farrier, we can get the best results when we work together and combine our resources,” says Bass.

Together, the three are best equipped to meet horses’ medical, everyday and active needs — no matter how special or routine.

During his visits, the attention Sussex pays to the foot is special. According to the Torrington Telegram, he spent 2 hours on his second appointment with Duke.

This included watching him walk with a tool attached to his foot and readjusting it several times to change the pressure and angle of the hoof, so that Sussex could make shoes that would make him more comfortable.

To Sussex, this is the work that sets apart a farrier. “There are farriers all over the world, doing what I do.”