Articles by Heather Smith Thomas

Texas Farrier's Timesaving Tips

A few minutes spent organizing and planning your shoeing day will get you home earlier and feeling better
Tommy Boudreau, a Mineral Springs, Texas, farrier, at work making shoes in his shop so they'll be ready for the next day's shoeing. Whether shoeing one horse or a dozen, improving your efficiency in trimming and shoeing is an important key to success.
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You and Your Horses's Feet

The Basics of Hoof Care

What you need to know about keeping your horses feet healthy
It’s an old saying, but still true: “No foot, no horse.” As a horse owner, you may get tired of hearing it, but it should serve to remind you that a sound hoof is crucial to the health and function of the horse.
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Bowed Tendons: The Farrier's Role in Prevention and Treatment

Regularly scheduled hoof-care appointments and cooperation with a veterinarian are important aspects of dealing with these injuries
Modern ultrasounds are useful for diagnosing bowed tendons and other soft tissue injuries, particularly minor tears that aren't obvious during palpation. It may take an experienced person to spot less obvious tears in the tendons.
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Horses Are At Risk For Rabies And You Can Be, Too

Know the warning signs and urge your clients to vaccinate their animals against this deadly virus
We generally don’t think about horses when someone mentions rabies. The first images that come to mind are “mad” dogs frothing at the mouth, or wild animals such as skunks, foxes, raccoons and coyotes becoming aggressive and attacking people.
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Product Knowledge

Wrap It Up Right

Farriers dealing with first aid situations should know how to properly apply a bandage — but also know when a vet needs to be called in
There are times a farrier must administer first aid for a foot or leg injury, and it's handy to know what products/materials might be helpful, and some do's and don'ts for proper bandaging.
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Balance: More About The Trim Than The Shoes

Montana vet-farrier has found trimming to conformation is often enough to restore lame horses to soundness
Whenever farriers talk about feet, there's a lot of discussion about hoof balance. For sound, healthy feet, balance is crucial, but the concept of balance is not always understood.
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Deciphering Gait Irregularities

Not all faults are foot related, but farriers will often be the first people asked to do something about them.
Gait faults are not always due to issues in the leg, but farriers will often be the first people to be asked about them by trainers and horse owners. Farriers can greatly enhance their value to their clients by learning to read shoe wear and how to differentiate between gait faults that are due to conformation defects, and those that might be related to a lameness issue.
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Product Showcase

A Sampling of Soaks and Poultices

Hoof treatment manufacturers and distributors list what they find are the benefits of using their products
Hoof poultices and soaks are used for hoof injuries, abscesses, puncture wounds, thrush, white line disease and other foot problems. Not a recent discovery, poultices of various types of clay and mud have been used for human afflictions for thousands of years, and eventually for their animals as well.
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