Katie Navarra

Katie Navarra

Katie Navarra is a freelance writer who draws from her experiences owning and showing horses, and inter­viewing the industry’s leading pro­fessionals.


Farrier Steve Foxworth and assistant Matt Lamoreaux

Proven Strategies for Calming Nervous Horses for Hoof Care

Simple techniques can make footcare an easier task

Horses want two basic things in life, peace and comfort. When experiences meet these criteria they are agreeable much of the time. This includes easily tolerating regular trimming and shoeing. But for some horses the recurring visits can be anxiety-provoking for the horse, which may show signs of impatience and nervousness, making the farrier’s handling more complex.

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Farriers Should Not Sedate Clients’ Horses

An improper injection can lead to significant medical and legal liabilities

Sedation during hoof care is a trend New Hampshire-based farrier Mary Bramley is seeing used more frequently. Predominantly, it is used for safety reasons, but Bramley also has seen farriers use it to train horses to stand and others who lean toward sedation on larger accounts because it allows them to get the job done faster.

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Understand Breakover and the Implications of Manipulating it

Definitions vary among hoof-care professionals, but improperly influencing it can produce significant problems
Life would be simpler if the definition of breakover, as it relates to horses, is as unambiguous as Merriam-Webster’s entry of breakover, as it relates to publishing. The dictionary describes breakover as, “the portion of a newspaper or magazine story continued on another page.” This leaves little room for interpretation.
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Tips for Identifying and Managing Compassion Fatigue

Emotional highs and lows of caring for clients’ horses can take a toll
Missouri farrier Sydney Kotow remembers that one horse, that one case, above all others. Early in Kotow’s career, she was asked to work on Flash, a foundered horse. Kotow also holds a Bachelor of Science in equine nutrition and remembers thinking that through her nutrition and farrier expertise she could save the horse, or at least make it more comfortable.
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Hoof Health Hinges on Dynamic Climates

Ever-changing environment can leave your clients’ horses struggling to adapt
After a client invests $40,000 on footing for their arena, it’s hard — maybe impossible — to convince them it’s ruining their horse’s feet. Uxbridge, Ontario, farrier Dave Dawson had a client express concern that their horses were frequently tripping and stumbling.
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Pressure Plate Analysis Measures Dynamic Weight Distribution

Ghent University researcher’s findings can influence trimming and shoeing for individual hoof-care cases
Human medicine and athletic stores rely on visual maps to recommend orthotics or sneaker styles based on a person’s gait. Pressure plates measure how an individual distributes their weight as they walk or run and converts that data into a graphic interpretation. That information is used to pair the right support or shoe style for specific gait pattern or abnormality to reduce the risk for injury.
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How Hind End Geometry Improves Performance and Balance

Cornell University Farrier Steve Kraus explains the geometrical effects of trimming and shoeing
Car manufacturers know placing the power at the rear of the vehicle allows for better balance. Nearly all race cars are rear-wheel drive so that when accelerating from a stop, the vehicle’s weight transfers to the back of the car and provides increased traction.
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Hoof Moisture Content Plays a Major Role in Foot Quality

Shorter trimming intervals, moisture barriers and proper supplementation can aid farriers in regulating hoof moisture
Veteran farrier and founder of the Crawford, Neb., Butler Professional Farrier School, Dr. Doug Butler is credited with saying, “Hoof quality may relate more to the hoof’s ability to regulate moisture content than anything else.” Although Lafayette, Ind., farrier Danvers Child jokes that he and Butler, both members of the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame, sometimes have disagreements, they see eye-to-eye on this point; the key topic of client discussion should center around regulating the moisture content in hooves.
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Joint Practitioner Educational Clinics: Win-Win for Clients and Their Horses

Case discussion builds camaraderie and helps reinforce professional boundaries
One Friday a month, 30 farriers in western Pennsylvania gather at Allegheny Equine Practice. At least one, often two, lame horses are awaiting them. A veterinarian performs a lameness exam and explains the steps involved. The horses are blocked and radiographs are taken.
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