But nutrition can have a huge impact on those feet and your work on them, especially when it comes to laminitis, and often owners just don’t know when their horse-feeding practices are contributing to the problem. You can win a lot of loyalty, and reduce your chances of working on foundered feet, by helping educate your clients about nutrition as it relates to foot health.
X-rays, ultrasound, MRIs and other diagnostic imaging methods might not often cross a farrier’s path. But when they do, they offer a tremendous opportunity to learn about the inner workings of the horse’s foot as well as information to help that particular case.
Shoeing horses can be very challenging sometimes, especially with one of those horses that doesn’t go completely sound no matter what you try. You might find yourself studying all aspects of that horse’s mannerisms, his feet, your shoes and anything else to find that clue that will tell you what he really needs.
Laminitis continues to be an all too common, devastating mystery — extremely painful for affected horses, frustrating for those treating them and sometimes ruinous to equine businesses. We don’t yet know how to prevent it 100%, and we can’t always treat it effectively enough to bring affected horses back to work.
How often can one ride with a farrier for a workday and never see him put on a single shoe? Not very often! But days like that are not unusual for Tom Curl, the farrier based in Vero Beach, Fla., who spends about half his working time patching quarter cracks instead of putting on shoes. Indeed, he travels to take care of a single foot on many horses, and many others are hauled to him for the same treatment.
Is it really important for a farrier to know how to read and interpret a radiograph (X-ray) of a horse’s foot? Absolutely so, especially if he or she is dealing with laminitis or other pathological problems, says Ric Redden, — farrier, member of the International Equine Veterinarians Hall of Fame and founder of the International Equine Podiatry Center in Versailles, Ky.
Illinois farrier Vern Powell shares the benefits of looking at feet in terms of steel length instead of a standard factory shoe sizes. It could give you a leg up in a forging competition or when sitting for an examination.
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