Farriers Research Each Day, Why Not Document It?

Collecting and sharing data improves the life of the horse and the industry

Third In A Series

This is the third in a series on researching the equine foot. The first article, “Bringing The Hoof To Scientific Research,” was published in the December 2017 issue. The second, “Groups Aim To Boost Hoof-Care Research,” was published in the January/February 2018 issue.

Conducting research has a reputation for being a daunting task. Most farriers even find it intimidating. Yet, hoof-care and research share common ground.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary de­fines research as, a “studious inquiry or examination; especially [an] investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws.”

When taking on a new client, questions about the horse often are the first order of business.

  • What’s the horse’s job?
  • How old is it?
  • Does the horse have any special needs?
  • Does it have soundness problems?

Most farriers watch the horse move and study its conformation, posture and feet, among other things, before picking up a tool. Gathering information about the horse helps you provide the best possible hoof care for the animal.

“Research is a thought process that gets documented,” says Renate Weller, a professor in comparative imaging and biomechanics at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in England.

“You look at the horse and think about what is the best way to address the problem. If you then assess the outcome — what did it do to the horse — that’s research.”

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Jeff cota 2023

Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the Lead Content Editor of American Farriers Journal.

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