Depending how hard you want to look — or stretch a thought — you can find correlations in everyday life that relate to hoof care. I have one that serves as a cautionary tale for footcare.

On each side of the front door of our office building, there are glass partitions. Stretching from the floor to the ceiling of the overhang, these offer a slight respite from the winter wind.

As with all clear glass structures, the partitions are difficult for birds to see, so they often fly into these walls. The fortunate birds survive, while the less fortunate ones expire on impact.

Recently, the building manager or another sympathetic soul placed stickers of birds on the panes. No surprise there — that’s one of the recommended solutions for the United States Fish and Wildlife Services. As I left the office Wednesday evening, I noticed two dead songbirds at the base of the partitions. In the case of these two birds, the stickers didn’t prevent their doomed flights.

There are a few possibilities why these stickers aren’t effective. A few are:

  • Stickers don’t deter this particular species.
  • This particular design of stickers attracted these two birds.
  • The stickers aren’t close enough together.
  • Stickers would only slightly adjust a flight path, but not enough for birds to avoid the structure.
  • Bird stickers are a gimmick and aren’t a long-term solution.

The possible reasons for the ineffectiveness of the stickers with these two birds correlates to problems faced by farriers who lack a thorough education and experience. Sometimes a footcare decision is made with the best intentions (like the bird stickers), but without knowledge and history, may not be the best application for a particular horse.

A footcare solution may produce the effect a farrier wants, but without thinking it through, could introduce other problems. Sometimes a heavy-handed owner or trainer who lacks the experience or is blind to all of the variables a particular case provides, coerces that decision. Or a product or theory appears to be a quick and reasonable solution at first, but disintegrates when stacked against the foundations of proper hoof care.

If it is a single mistake, there is a lesson to learn. However, repeatedly making uninformed decisions becomes reckless. In the end, the farrier who makes it routine to ignore the cause and effect of a trim or shoeing application is doomed, like those birds that slammed into the partition.