Hoof Capsule Shape Plays Critical Role In Expansion

Jeff Thomason, the biomechanics researcher from the University of Guelph in Ontario, says his research has led him to theorize that the dropping of the sole during the loading phase of the stance is caused not so much by the coffin bone descending as it is by the shape of the hoof capsule itself. “The hoof is a cone,” he explained at the 2010 International Hoof-Care Summit. “When we drive the sides of a cone into the ground or a substrate, because of the flares, they tend to go out and to rock as well.”

Thomason believes these twin motions act on the laminar junction, which causes the sole to drop. Force is transmitted from the sole out to the walls of the hoof capsule, rather than to the soft tissue in the center of the hoof. (See Pages 26 to 28 for more details from Thomason’s Summit presentation on biomechanics.)

Keep In Constant Contact With Your Footcare Clients

Gary Weers believes it is essential to visit hoof-care clients regularly regardless of the schedule or their request for longer shoeing intervals. “If there’s not enough growth to warrant pulling shoes and trimming, I offer a $30 adjustment fee for cutting and reclinching the nails,” says the Seguin, Texas, farrier.

Do Equine Drugs Impact Hoof Growth?

While some folks maintain the overuse of equine drugs such as dewormers may lead to reduced hoof growth, there doesn’t appear to be any scientific evidence to back up this claim, says Hoyt Cheramie. The veterinarian and Merial’s manager of large animal veterinary services in Georgetown, Ky., doesn’t see any detrimental impact that would have any bearing on the need for deworming horses. (More opinions on this controversial topic can be found in a 2-page article entitled “Could Too Much Dewormer Reduce Hoof Quality?” that appears in the American Farriers Journal 64-page Feeding The Hoof report that can be ordered for $9.95 on the AFJ Web site at www.americanfarriers.com.)

Late-Breaking News & Views...

A recent survey of American Equine Practitioners Association members indicates that their work on wellness care and pre-purchase exams dropped off by more than 53% in 2009 compared to previous years...Only 3% of American workers in 1960 were regulated or licensed by government agencies compared with 35% of today’s employees, says the Institute for Justice...While only 7.5% of horses across the country were defined as 20 years of age or older in a 1998 National Animal Health Monitoring System study, that figure today is approaching 20% in some areas of North America, says Andrew Clark of the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Ky...The average veterinary practice loses 10% to 30% of its clients each year, mainly due to the failure to meet expectations, according to the dvm360 Web site...When deciding whether you like a person delivering a message, University of California at Los Angeles psychologist Albert Mehrabian says studies show tone of voice accounts for 38%, body language for 55% and the actual words for just 7% of your final opinion.

Keep Getting Paid In A Timely Manner

Nick Denson says accepting credit cards has turned out to be a godsend for his hoof-care business in these economic times. The Sagamore Beach, Mass., farrier says clients are more willing to remain on a 6- to 8-week shoeing schedule if he simply bills their credit card after finishing the work. “I haven’t seen some horse owners for months, but I still get paid,” he says.

—American Farriers Journal Editors