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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Lost Hoof History Holidays: November 23 is Saint Clement's Twanky Dillo Day

Imagine a holiday when tradition dictated that farriers and blacksmiths fire their anvils with gunpowder, then roam the streets and knock on doors, demanding liquor or cash as they sang songs with lyrics only they understood. It only happened on St Clem's Day, a festive day that has slipped off British calendars and from people's memories...unless you know where to look.  Public domain image, Chatterbox magazine, 1896.

It's Thanksgiving Day in America, but in the British Isles, it is a forgotten holiday that you probably won't find on any calendar.

For hundreds of years, people celebrated St Clement's Day on November 23.  But not anymore: both the holiday and the saint are now lost in history. Hard as it is to find out what went on, much less why it went on, this day is worth remembering for its colorful couplets and enchanting songs.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day for a Forgotten Hero: The Farrier at Compiègne



The memory of war is harsh, but the memory of a hero's deeds often improve with age. An anonymous World War I hero is still in the books but you have to dig to find him.

World War I began on August 1, 1914 when Germany declared war on Russia. Three days later, Great Britain declared war on Germany. And three days after that, the first British troops arrived in France. They would soon become mired in one of the longest, bloodiest wars in history.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Breeders Cup: Innovative Copper-Shield Racehorse Shoes Debut Under British Turf Runner Decorated Knight


Kerckhaert horseshoes treated with a copper "shielding" process, along with copper-coated Liberty CU Carrera nails, give British runner Decorated Knight a unique flash as he trains at Del Mar in California for this weekend's Breeders Cup. The process, called Cu Shield Technology, transforms the normal plates. (Ashley Berry photo)

It’s that time of year. The best racehorses in the world have been winging their way to the USA to line up against the best of the home team. The Breeders Cup races, to be held Friday and Saturday at California’s Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, will be the Super Bowl of horseracing.

Once the horses are out on the track, they all look pretty much alike, no matter what countries they call home. Maybe you’ll see a few minor differences in tack, or the way the jockey rides. And as you watch the horses trot by in the post parade, you catch the flash in the sunlight as horse after horse shows you a glimpse of the four silver-y aluminum plates adorning their feet.

Wait a minute. What was that? As one horse trots past, the California sun catches a flash of red copper, instead of silvery aluminum. That was different...what's going on?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Underfoot with Winx: Meet Australia’s champion and her farrier, John Bunting

John Bunting farrier for Winx racehorse
This man has a lot to smile about: Meet Mr. John Bunting of Melbourne, Australia. He's the farrier and she's the world's favorite racehorse--and with good reason. Today she won her third consecutive Cox Plate, and her 22nd stakes win in a row without defeat. John reports that she is so good-tempered, he "could shoe her without a head collar (halter)." He hasn't tried that yet, though. (Photo courtesy of John Bunting)

If you could pick up the near fore of any horse in the world today, and have a look, whose would it be?

Frankel’s? American Pharoah’s? Valegro’s? Zenyatta’s?

Most people would probably choose the same horse: Winx. She's the horse of the hour. And the year. Maybe of the decade.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Doomed Glory on the Hoof: What's Left of the Charge of the Light Brigade?

The preserved bronzed trophy hoof of Ronald, the British cavalry horse that led the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War on October 25, 1854. The hoof sits on a bronze pillow and is the property of the The Royal King's Hussar Museum in Winchester, England.


Today is the anniversary of the ill-fated but gallant charge of the Light Brigade of British cavalry during the Crimean War back in 1854. More than half the British cavalry horses and a third of the men who galloped "into the valley of Death" behind the controversial Earl of Cardigan would never gallop back out. But what about the ones who did?

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Reg Pascoe, Australia's Legendary Equine Veterinarian, Has Died



In Australia, and almost any part of the world where horses are raised or raced or bred, you could be forgiven for thinking that there's a secret word that seasoned horsemen and veterinarians all seem to know. "Pascoe" certainly must be synonymous with "horse vet".

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Research: Direct-Injection Gene Therapy Proven Successful for Soft Tissue Lameness Injuries in Horses

Two dressage horses recovered from suspensory ligament and superficial flexor tendon injuries following direct injection of enhanced equine DNA into the injury site. The research was published this week. (Photo: Catrin Rutland, Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Developmental Genetics, University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine)


Can we use gene therapy to repair injuries? Specifically: Can genetic material (DNA) be injected directly into a soft tissue injury site and repair damaged tissue that is causing a performance or race horse to be lame?

An international group of British and Russian researchers believes that not only can it be done--they’ve done it. Twice. In a ground-breaking pair of case studies, Professor Albert Rizvanov (Kazan Federal University, Russia) and his group confirm that by injecting pure DNA into an injured horses' suspensory ligaments and superficial digital flexor tendons, they were able to completely restore the function in these vital areas.

The authors also stated that the horses presented at the clinic with naturally occurring injuries; the genetic treatment conformed with US Food and Drug Administration and EU standards. Similar treatments had been used experimentally in dogs and humans in tests by some of the team members.

The first case study was conducted on a successful 13-year-old dressage horse. The horse's clinical diagnosis was Grade 2 desmitis of the lateral branch of the suspensory ligament. A second treatment benefited a 9-year-old half-bred Trakehner, also used for dressage; he had been diagnosed with Grade 3 tendinitis of the superficial digital flexor tendon.


"We showed that gene therapy used within a period of 2–3 months after the injury resulted in the complete recovery of functions and full restoration of the severely damaged suspensory ligament and superficial digital flexor tendon," the authors state in the article.

The research also showed that the tissue within the limbs had fully recovered and that 12 months after the revolutionary treatment, the horses were completely fit, active and pain free.

No side effects or adverse reactions were seen in the horses.

The main advantage of gene therapy used in this study was the application of a combination of the pro-angiogenic growth factor gene VEGF164, enhancing growth of blood vessels, and bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2), which plays an important role in the development of bone and cartilage.

To avoid undesirable immune reactions, both genes were derived from horses, thus resulting in biosynthesis of natural horse proteins in treated animals. Both recombinant genes were cloned into single plasmid DNA which is commonly regarded as non-immunogenic and a biologically safe gene therapy vector.

Since these injuries may affect not only horses but many other animals and humans, the study carries potential implications for the future direction of human and veterinary medicine, potentially with fewer relapses and shorter recovery times. Much more work will be needed to investigate safety and efficacy. A larger clinical trial has been started.

Professor Rizvanov formed a collaboration with scientists and clinicians within his laboratories at Kazan Federal University, Kazan, Russia and also with Moscow State Academy of Veterinary Medicine and Biotechnology, Russia and the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. Working together to heal ligament and tendon injuries has been the primary goal of the work.

Their work has now been published in the international journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science and is titled “Gene Therapy Using Plasmid DNA Encoding Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor 164 and Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 Genes for the Treatment of Horse Tendinitis and Desmitis: Case Reports.”

To read the full article please go to: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2017.00168/full

Full citation:
Kovac Milomir, Litvin Yaroslav A., Aliev Ruslan O., Zakirova Elena Yu, Rutland Catrin S., Kiyasov Andrey P., Rizvanov Albert A. (2017) Gene Therapy Using Plasmid DNA Encoding Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor 164 and Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 Genes for the Treatment of Horse Tendinitis and Desmitis: Case Reports. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 4. DOI=10.3389/fvets.2017.00168.

For more information, contact Professor Albert Rizvanov: albert.rizvanov@kpfu.ru.

Dr. Rutland's imaging work was displayed on the cover of the September 2017 edition of HoofSearch. She assisted with the preparation of this article.


© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is the news service for Hoofcare and Lameness Publishing. Please, no re-use of text or images on other sites or social media without permission--please link instead. (Please ask if you need help.) The Hoof Blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a headlines-link email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). Use the little envelope symbol below to email this article to others. The "translator" tool in the right sidebar will convert this article (roughly) to the language of your choice. To share this article on Facebook and other social media, click on the small symbols below the labels. Be sure to "like" the Hoofcare and Lameness Facebook page and click on "get notifications" under the page's "like" button to keep up with the hoof news on Facebook. 
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Disclosure of Material Connection: The Hoof Blog (Hoofcare Publishing) has not received any direct compensation for writing this post. Hoofcare Publishing has no material connection to the brands, products, or services mentioned, other than products and services of Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Burghley Best Shod Horse 2017: Paul Varnam's Bar Shoes for Eventer Ivar Gooden Impress Hoof Judge

The hind feet of Ivar Gooden, the "best shod horse" prize winner at England's Burghley Horse Trials this year, are shod with dramatic lateral extension shoes, as prescribed by the horse's veterinarian. But the judge said that it was the front feet that won this horse the prize for farrier Paul Varnam of Leicestershire, England. (Paul Varnam photo)

By Fran Jurga
© Hoofcare Publishing
It's that time again: The Olympic-level champions have lined up to compete in one of the world's toughest tests for any horse: The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, held in England this weekend. Many of the world's best four-star-level event horses and riders are there, as well as celebrities and royalty.

As usual, The Hoof Blog will probably forget to tell you who won or what happened. Instead, we want to draw your attention to what amounts to little more than a footnote on the prize list: The Best Shod Horse Prize.

To the horses that compete at this level, the farriers who tend to their feet are key to the performance levels and scores they can attain. They wouldn't be there without the farriers at home, so the little note on the prize list is worth explaining and, in one horse's case, celebrating.

The horses that lined up for Burghley's horse inspection on Wednesday were beautifully groomed, turned out, tacked up and conditioned. What the public couldn't see, however, was what was underneath them. Some of the world's best farriers worked quietly--and anonymously--to prepare these horses for the three days of tests before them. One horse would be singled out and recognized for the extra effort, skills and perception its farrier had used in preparing that horse for this difficult event. This horse and its farrier will be awarded the Best Shod Horse Prize.

The best shod horse prize at Burghley Horse Trials went to Ivar Gooden, an Irish Sport horse shod with handmade front bar shoes with side clips. The shoes were made from 7/8 x 3/8" stock. The horse wore bar shoes as a preventative, farrier Paul Varnam reported. Judge Mark Watson and the rider concurred that the horse has healthy front feet. He has had a fungal wall infection in the past, however, and his conformation calls for more medial heel support than straight shoes can supply. Burghley was his second four-star event this year in front bar shoes, his first in handmade bar shoes. (Paul Varnam photo courtesy of Imogen Murray)

The foot judging is a simple process at a three-day event: After each horse has been trotted up for the jury at the first horse inspection, it is led over to the farrier judge, who will lift all four feet of each of almost 70 horses, in the case of a large event like Burghley or Badminton.

Best shod horse judge at Burghley
this year was Mark Watson, FWCF. 
(Stephen Hill photo)
The Worshipful Company of Farriers sent a judge to Burghley: Mark Watson, FWCF had the task of picking a winner. He brought his daughter to be his scribe. She took notes as he rattled off his observations, which were based not just on the shoes the horse was wearing but how they fit and if they were appropriate for the horse’s size, conformation and its mission at hand: to complete all three phases at Burghley.

“Yes, there was fairly good stuff,” Watson remarked casually when the judging was done. “But some (was) middle of the road, and others not so nice.”

Watson is also an examiner for the Worshipful Company; he judges farriers who come forward for diploma and advanced levels, such as for the Associate and Fellow levels of recognition. His job is to recognize quality and to be able to discern the talented work from the window dressing. He was looking for horses shod for the job at Burghley, and shod safely and thoughtfully.

For Mark Watson, a 10-year-old Irish Sport horse named Ivar Gooden filled the bill this year.

While the winning horse wore hind shoes that made an artful statement and drew the eyes, it was the front shoes that warranted his highest praise. “The fronts were really well made and well nailed. That horse was simply the best shod of all.”


About the farrier
Sometimes, a farrier gets to work with a rider long enough to see great things happen, and know he or she has been a part of it. That’s what happened this week at Burghley.

The farrier winner of the Best Shod Horse Prize is Paul Varnam, DipWCF of Leicestershire, England. Paul is the fifth generation in his family to shoe horses in the county. (Photo courtesy of Paul Varnam)

Ivar Gooden joined rider Imogen Murray’s stable a few years ago, and was soon under the care of Imogen’s longtime farrier, Paul Varnam, DipWCF. Paul has been shoeing for 21 years. After completing an apprenticeship with Leicestershire farrier Tim Allen, Paul joined forces with his father. Today he shoes a lot of eventers, noting that the sport is very popular in his area.

Burghley marks the first time Paul Varnam has been awarded a “best shod” prize.

The Worshipful Company's Varnam
Tray was donated by Paul Varnam's
family and is awarded to the 
Associate
who scores highest 
in the
practical examinations. It is inlaid
with 19 different types of wood and
contains 1,461 pieces. It is a
memorial to two of Paul's uncles who
were great supporters of the farrier
profession in England.
(Doug Bradbury photo)

The shoeing challenge
“I’ve shod for her since she was a little girl,” Paul said on Friday if his longtime client, Imogen Murray. “He’s a nice, well-behaved horse. He’s not enormous, maybe 16 hands, but he has a big canter, and is very Thoroughbred-y. He’s quite fine, really.”

Paul described the horse’s feet as “not bad”, noting that the horse occasionally has problems with wall fungus. “But he hasn’t had a lot of issues with lameness,” he reflected. “He wouldn’t be competing (if that was the case).”

Paul said that he shod the horse to help its conformational shortcomings. “It’s all preventative type shoeing,” he said. “The right front rotates out; he has problems with limb and hoof imbalance.”

Left hind: Ivar Gooden wears vet-prescribed lateral extension shoes on both hind feet to improve his movement behind. Paul Varnam said that the horse tends to stand close behind and has weak lateral heels. (Paul Varnam photo courtesy of Imogen Murray)


Ivar Gooden wears front bar shoes, which alarmed some people when the rider showed her horses’ shoes on Facebook. Both Paul Varnam and Mark Watson insisted that there is no hoof damage, and that the bar shoes were added this season for injury prevention and support. Because of the limb rotation, medial-lateral balance is an issue for the horse.

Paul Varnam said that he shod the horse with side clips in front, instead of the customary British-style toe clips, because of the balance needs and to hold the shoe in place. The rotation means that the right front has a weak inside heel; he said he couldn’t completely support it with a regular (open) shoe. The bars displace weight more evenly over a larger surface area. Paul noted that he made both the front and hind shoes in a tiny Swan Signet gas forge from ⅞ x ⅜” concave stock.

“I wanted to keep them as light as possible,” he remarked. “And that is the best size material for that size hoof.”

Ivar Gooden wore this type of bar shoes on both front feet at Badminton Horse Trials in May, but they were machinemade. For Burghley, Paul Varnam moved up to handmade shoes for the gelding, remarking, “They leave it up to me.”

The only photo of the front feet shows one shoe, and the ground surface only. When asked if the horse's front feet were a pair, Paul laughed and said that the shoes could be swapped and nailed right on, the feet are so close in size.

Paul said he hopes to prevent any recurrence of the wall fungus. This summer has been wet and hot in Leicestershire, and the side clips in front help prevent the foot from over-expanding, which could lead to spreading over the shoe, or developing flares that leave the white line vulnerable.

Another view of the left hind shows the fit of the heel on the broad base of the lateral extension and the arc of the outer branch's extension from the second nail hole to a point under the heel bulb. (Photo courtesy of Paul Varnam)

The side-clipped lateral extension shoes on the hind feet were prescribed by the horse’s veterinarian. “He wouldn’t have the support, and wouldn’t move so straight underneath himself when he reaches forward under his tummy (without the lateral extensions),” Paul remarked. Dressage is a critical phase of the modern three-day event so a clean and smooth collected movement is something the sport horse farriers strive to provide.

Ivar Gooden has worn the lateral extensions for several years, but Paul said he has no overt limb or joint issues in his hind legs. “They’re supporting the outside heels,” he said. “The horse does stand close behind, and he loads the outside heel.”

The rider
Imogen Murray, 24, of M.S.Team Eventing, has graduated from a successful career as a junior and young rider and gone straight to the four-star level. She is based near Willoughby Waterleys in Leicestershire, England. This is her first Burghley competition. She and Ivar Gooden completed the Badminton four-star event in May.

Rider Imogen Murray hacking best-shod winner Ivar Gooden in front of Burghley House earlier this week. (Photo courtesy of Imogen Murray)


The horse
Ivar Gooden, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, is owned by Aivair Ward and MS Team Ltd. His sire is the Thoroughbred Young Convinced and he is out of a mare by Coevers Diamond Boy. Imogen and Ivar Gooden are 15th after cross-country, going into Sunday’s show jumping. They started Saturday at 51st, based on their dressage score.

Only 45 of the approximately 70 horses entered are still in the competition; falls, refusals, and voluntary retirements on cross-country eliminated scores of horses.

The prize
Best shod prizes are generally acknowledged as a British invention, but American horse shows like the Ohio State Fair gave prizes for the best shod horses, too, back in the early 1900s. Today, the administration of “best shod horse” awards in Great Britain is under the aegis of the ages-old Worshipful Company of Farriers, which maintains a list of judges for this event who have been trained for the task.

The Company has formalized the process and created a way for farriers to compete against each other without ever seeing each other, without driving anywhere, and without time limits or even many rules. A farrier can take all day to shoe a horse, and the judge won't mind. A farrier can use modern or traditional methods, steel or copper-coated nails, side or toe clips, and any width and thickness of material. The winner is the one who not only showcases his or her skills, but shows that the work is helping the horse do its job.

The Varnam Family of Farriers
A key thing to know about Paul Varnam is that he is at least the fifth generation of his family to be a farrier. His family has a fascinating history, which has been documented in a booklet by farrier historian and museum-keeper Doug Bradbury of Derbyshire, England. The Varnam family donated a silver tray in an intricate inlaid wooden case to the Worshipful Company of Farriers to be awarded to the farrier scoring the highest level in the practical portion of the Associate examination each year. Doug has told the story of the tray and the family behind it.

It all began with Farrier Major William Varnam, Sr., who served as a high ranking farrier in the Second Dragoon Guards before returning to Leicester in 1886 to become a private farrier. The Varnams have been shoeing there ever since.

His son, farrier William Varnam, Jr., had eight sons and three daughters; three of the sons became farriers. Two of them, Bill and Fred, worked in Leicester all their lives. Bill's three city forges employed 20 workers; one was open 24 hours a day to serve the working horses.

Fred Varnam, meanwhile, became an Associate of the company and an examiner. He was granted a rare honorary Fellowship in 1986.

Paul Varnam comes from this long line of farriers who have given a great deal to their profession--and to their country.


Where and when was the first best shod horse prize awarded?

Farriers have always gone home at the end of the day knowing whether or not they’d done their jobs, and done them as well as could. They have always also known who among them had the toughest challenges, and who went the extra mile to help a horse, once they saw the horses lined up together. But they probably kept it to themselves for centuries.

Now, we have a name for it, and a plaque, and we tell the world. We hope someone will listen, and understand that some farriers work very hard to prepare horses for these big tests. That they actually like the horses and their riders.That they are there to help the horse compete successfully, and will be for years to come.

----

Update: Congratulations, Ivar Gooden, who rose from 51st place, based on his dressage score! He and Imogen Murray finished 14th overall in the 2017 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. Of 62 horses that went forward after dressage, 40 completed all three phases.

Listen to an interview with "Best Shod" judge Mark Watson, FWCF, during the judging during the Burghley horse inspection on the "An Eventful Life" website.

The Hoof Blog would like to thank Paul Varnam, Mark Watson, Imogen Murray, Stephen Hill, Doug Bradbury, Burghley Horse Trials media office, and everyone who has been so helpful during the preparation of this article. We look forward to the day when all the horses will be declared equally "best shod".


Fran Jurga is a professional freelance writer and editor in Gloucester, Massachusetts (USA). She writes on all subjects, and is widely published, particularly on the subjects of horses, pets and wildlife. Fran is especially dedicated to promoting the history and appreciation of professional hoofcare for horses around the world, as well as providing the most up-to-date information on hoof disease and research. The Hoof Blog's parent company, Hoofcare Publishing, is involved in many projects, including the new monthly equine research update service, HoofSearch.


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© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is the news service for Hoofcare and Lameness Publishing. Please, no re-use of text or images on other sites or social media without permission--please link instead. (Just ask if you need help.) The Hoof Blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a headlines-link email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). Use the little envelope symbol below to email this article to others. The "translator" tool in the right sidebar will convert this article (roughly) to the language of your choice. To share this article on Facebook and other social media, click on the small symbols below the labels. Be sure to "like" the Hoofcare and Lameness Facebook page and click on "get notifications" under the page's "like" button to keep up with the hoof news on Facebook.
Follow Hoofcare + Lameness on Twitter: @HoofBlog
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Disclosure of Material Connection: The Hoof Blog (Hoofcare Publishing) has not received any direct compensation for writing this post. Hoofcare Publishing has no material connection to the brands, products, or services mentioned, other than products and services of Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Horseshoes in History: Why Did the Forge Cave in Under the World Champion "Fighting Blacksmith"?

This photo of World Champion boxer Bob Fitzsimmons is a mystery. "The Fighting Blacksmith" from New Zealand posed with an anvil wearing his apron. His left foot seems to be on top of a very large horseshoe.

I’m not a boxing fan, but I like a good story. I wish I could say that this story has been passed down through generations of horseshoers around the world, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Bob Fitzsimmons made the headlines more than 100 years ago, when one of the most celebrated sports figures in the world was hailed as “The Fighting Blacksmith”. But he seems to have been erased from the public’s memory, and neither the farrier nor blacksmithing worlds has ever tried to keep his fame alive.

Maybe this story will change that.

Monday, July 31, 2017

2017 British Equine Veterinary Association Congress features “BEVA Farriery Day” and equine lameness programs


The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) Congress is only six weeks away, and the time has come to make plans to attend this world-class event. Touting itself as "organized by horse vets for horse vets", the BEVA Congress is Europe’s largest equine veterinary conference. This year it will be held at Liverpool Arena Convention Centre from 13-16 September.  The Hoof Blog has dissected the schedule to pull out interesting speakers and topics of interest to veterinarians and farriers.

Speaking of farriers, this year the BEVA Congress is hosting a full day of farriery speakers, moderated by Professor Renate Weller of the Royal Veterinary College, on Saturday, September 16. Farriers may attend the one-day session at a special rate, but the rate ends on August 4.

The schedule for BEVA Farriery Day: 

Anatomy and biomechanics of the foot |  Jean-Marie Denoix 
How do nerve blocks help in the management of foot pain? | Michael Schramme Radiography of the foot – how does it help farriery management? | Renate Weller MRI of the foot – how does it help farriery management? | Tim Mair
How does arena surface modify distal limb biomechanics in sport horses? |  Nathalie Crevier-Denoix 
How to read the hoof capsule | Grant Moon Farriery of the foal | Simon Curtis 
The natural balance approach | David Nicholls 
Kinesitherapic shoes | Jean-Marie Denoix 
Managing the Thoroughbred foot | Declan Cronin 
Keeping the dressage horse sound | Haydn Price 
Guidelines for trimming and shoeing the sport horse | Grant Moon 
Farriery panel and case discussions on The Barefoot Revolution--Fad, Fiction and Facts with panelists Renate Weller, Michael Schramme, David Nicholls, Simon Curtis, Haydn Price, Grant Moon, Declan Cronin and Jonathan Anderson

Here's a message from Professor Weller about the farriery event:



Early registration rates close on August 4, 2017, however direct online registration is not available for those registering for the Farriery Day only. The form can be filled out and emailed to Verity at BEVA.


The BEVA Congress has a wide-ranging program of events; in addition to the packed multi-track lecture schedule, the Congress hosts a large trade show of equine veterinary products and some innovative specialty topics are covered in depth, such as an afternoon session on equine "end of life" decision making.  The pros and cons of incorporating a veterinary practice will be debated.

In addition to the farriery day, there is also a dentistry day and a nursing day. Derek Knottenbelt will present the 2017 John Hickman Memorial Plenary Lecture; his topic: Using the past to make the future better. Tom Divers of Cornell University is one of the US veterinarians who will be speaking at Liverpool.

This video offers some reactions to the BEVA Congress from 2016 attendees:



Some lameness highlights from the main Congress lecture schedule:

Thursday Lameness Topics and Speakers from the Main Congress Schedule

Dealing with excessive granulation tissue | Yvonne Elce
Chronic progressive lymphoedema | Marianne Sloet
CAT: What is the risk that corticosteroid treatment will cause laminitis? |  Edd Knowles
Skin problems of the distal limb |  Marianne Sloet
Foot conformation and placement | Thilo Pfau
Training aids |  Russell Guire
Pelvic movement asymmetry | Thilo Pfau
Tendon properties | M. Verkade
Sole packing and impact vibrations | Amy Barstow
Wounds | Jonathan Anderson
Acute Laminitis | John Keen
Common fractures | Matthew Smith
Lymphangitis/cellulitis | David Rendle
Choice of intra-articular medications for treating joint disease | Andrew Bathe
Use of stem cells in treatment of osteoarthritis | Michael Schramme
Use of bisphosphonates in bone disease | Olivier Lepage
Complications of biologic therapies in the treatment of musculoskeletal disease | Roger Smith
CAT: Is it worth me operating on a DIRT lesion in a juvenile Thoroughbred intended for racing? | Richard Reardon
Imaging the proximal suspensory ligament | Jean-Marie Denoix
Medical treatment of proximal suspensory desmitis | Kent Allen
Surgical management of proximal suspensory desmitis | Andrew Bathe
Acupuncture in the management of equine lameness | Dietrich Von Schweinitz
CAT: What is the best treatment option for a medial femoral condylar subchondral bone cyst? | Etienne O’Brien
Diagnosis of PPID and EMS | Kelsey Hart
CAT: Does pergolide therapy prevent laminitis in horses diagnosed with PPID? | Edd Knowles
Fractures secondary to kick injuries | A. Schreier

Friday Lameness Topics and Speakers
from the Main Congress Schedule

Limb and hoof conformation: When do variations affect intended use? | Sue Dyson
PPE of horses intended for breeding. What can be done? | James Crabtree
PPE across Europe – understanding the clash of cultures | Malcolm Morley
PPE and radiology of sports horses. What is the evidence? | Werner Jahn
PPE disasters – and how to avoid them | Malcolm Morley
Resveratrol in osteoarthritis | D. Ryan 
Synovial fluid metabolomic profiles | J. Anderson
Computed tomographic contrast tenography | R. Agass
Hock conformation and PSD | J. Routh
Suture patterns for DDFT repair | L. Chapman
Catastrophic condylar fractures – MRI | J. Peloso
Nuclear scintigraphy in sports horses | L. Quiney
Facial expressions and pain | S. Dyson
EHV-2 in tendon | R. Wardle
Return to racing after SDFT injury | R. Alzola
Complications of arthroscopic surgery | Bruce Bladon
Where are we and where are we going with objective lameness evaluation? | Filipe Serra Bragança
Objective lameness evaluation in clinical practice | Michael Schramme
Why I prefer subjective evaluation of lameness | Sue Dyson
CAT: Can I give alpha-2 agonists for blocking and accurately assess the horse’s lameness once blocked? | Michael De Cozar
Pragmatic approach to multi-limb lameness | Luis Rubio-Martinez
Changing disease patterns in an aging equine population | John Marshall
Fasted insulin for EMS diagnosis | R. Olley
Effects of Karo dose on oral sugar test | N. Jocelyn
PK and PD of oral pergolide in horses with PPID | D. Rendle
When nerve and joint blocks go wrong | Bruce Bladon
CAT: Is nuclear scintigraphy helpful in the diagnosis of chronic lameness in competition horses? | Jonathon Dixon
Evaluation of flexion tests | John Marshal
Owner perceptions of equine obesity | T. Furtado
Regional anaesthesia of the distal limb | Luis Rubio Martinez
Ultrasound of the distal limb | Roger Smith
Regional anaesthesia of the distal limb | Luis Rubio Martinez 
Distal limb dissection Parts 1, 2, and 3 | Jean-Marie Denoix

Saturday Lameness Topics and Speakers
 from the Main Congress Schedule

Emerging methods using ultrasound for detection of soft tissue musculoskeletal disease | Valeria Busoni
Is MRI of the proximal metacarpal or metatarsal region worth it? | Lucy Meehan
Body condition scoring – how to do it and how to engage horse-owners | Lizzie Drury
Use and abuse of NSAIDs | John Marshall
Live Horse Ultrasound with Jean-Marie Denoix  | Sponsored by The International Society of Equine Locomotor Pathology
Basics of medication of competition horses | Andrew Bathe
Do vets need to understand the rules of competition, showing and racing? | Jonathan Pycock

Photo credit for preserved leg specimen in top graphic: Museum of Veterinary Anatomy FMVZ USP.


© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is the news service for Hoofcare and Lameness Publishing. Please, no re-use of text or images on other sites or social media without permission--please link instead. (Please ask if you need help.) The Hoof Blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a headlines-link email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). Use the little envelope symbol below to email this article to others. The "translator" tool in the right sidebar will convert this article (roughly) to the language of your choice. To share this article on Facebook and other social media, click on the small symbols below the labels. Be sure to "like" the Hoofcare and Lameness Facebook page and click on "get notifications" under the page's "like" button to keep up with the hoof news on Facebook. 


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Disclosure of Material Connection: The Hoof Blog (Hoofcare Publishing) has not received any direct compensation for writing this post. Hoofcare Publishing has no material connection to the brands, products, or services mentioned, other than products and services of Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Why Are They Called the "Horse" Latitudes? Storytelling and horse legends at their best

Horses below decks on board a sailing ship; they were valuable cargo but sometimes only half the horses made it to their destination. What happened to some horses out in the middle of the ocean is the stuff of legends.  Illustration by John Charlton, as seen in The Graphic in November 1878.

Whenever horsepeople get together, the stories begin. And some of us are very good at telling them. Farriers are among the best storytellers on the planet, and I’ve traveled enough to bear witness that their ability to hold people spellbound--and deliver a great punchline--crosses all latitudes and longitudes--even the "horse latitudes".

In the age of sail, the horse latitudes were treacherous seas, and not for the typical reason of storms and waves. In two latitudinal zones, one about 30 degrees North and one about 30 degrees South, wind can be scarce and, even today, a sailing ship can find itself floating in still water, waiting for a breeze that may be weeks away. There's one big difference between now and then: today's boats have engines to keep a boat moving when the wind dies.

Sitting on a calm sea gives plenty of time for storytelling, and there's one tale that has been told for hundreds of years whenever the sea goes calm and glassy. It still gives people a chill, and may bring tears. Invest a few minutes and have a listen to this lost classic tale:


Back in the 1980s, actor Geoffrey Lewis added a new layer to the unforgettable legends surrounding going to sea with horses during the age of sail.


• • • • •

Horses no longer travel by ship, for the most part, but that doesn't mean they've been forgotten out on the water, either. Perhaps some superstitious memory of the horse latitudes legend inspires so many sailboat owners to make sure that a horseshoe is bolted to the mast, and some shipbuilders still include a time-honored horseshoe nailing ritual in the laying of the keel.

The story behind these unpredictable geographic zones is a pretty gruesome one, but back in the 1970s, a famous storytelling “band” turned the legend into performance art with some embellishment of the story from well-known character actor Geoffrey Lewis. He spun the gruesome legend of the horse latitudes into one of the world’s most memorable horse stories.

Just as the name stuck hundreds of years ago, so did the new-age, enhanced story behind the name, thanks to Lewis's convincing delivery. Admittedly, there’s not much to see on this video, and the quality isn’t great; the audio track is the key.

I hope this story--and the storyteller--inspire you to perfect and record your own favorite stories, and that you will share them with me some night, on the deck of a boat or around a campfire or down at the end of the bar.

Did it really happen? You can believe it or not, as you wish.

Legends of the horse latitudes were revived in the 1960s when a band called The Doors recorded a gruesome spoken-word ode to lost horses at sea called "Horse Latitudes", written by their leader, Jim Morrison. It would be 25 years until Geoffrey Lewis and Celestial Navigations broached the tragic subject again.

Now, 25 years later, it might be time to look again at the legends surrounding the horse latitudes.

Spoiler alert, if you haven't watched the video: Geoffrey Lewis's story builds on centuries of speculation and legends about how the horse latitudes earned their name. On the factual side, naval lore tells us that some ships were becalmed for so long that horses being transported from Europe to the New World either died because their fodder ran out, or they were jettisoned by the crew because fresh water was at a premium and a horse requires so much fresh water every day.

Old records of Portuguese ships transporting horses to Brazil do document how many horses were lost during the journey, but suggest that the horses died during the journey rather than being sacrificed for the greater good of the ship's progress. In the annals of maritime voyages, the losses were attributed to poor planning to accommodate horses below decks or "pilot error" in navigating what came to be called the horse latitudes.

Other sources say that shrinking water supplies had nothing to do with it; horses were dispensed with because the sailors sought to lighten the ship so it would float higher in the water where lighter air might push it along on its course.

Whatever the reason, the zone may not have earned its name from the act of dispensing with horses, but rather from the effect on approaching mariners who saw a sea ahead of them dotted with the bodies of disposed horses. In the age of pre-GPS navigation or even reliable charts, it was an ominous sign.

Another interesting aspect of shipping horses to the Americas and other places in colonial times is that there weren't any docks or cranes or even ramps to offload them when they finally arrived. The horses were often pushed overboard and made to swim to shore. Think about a horse having spent weeks in a stall without any exercise suddenly being forced to swim for its life.

Given the high value of horses, and the colonists' intense desire to establish horse breeding in the colonies, it's hard to believe they wouldn't have planned in advance what to do when and if the ship hit a calm zone in the horse latitudes. It remains a mystery, the stuff of legends, and--if nothing else- a really good story, when it's your turn to tell one some night when the power's off, the campfire is burning low, or you still have that last 200 miles to drive.

--Fran Jurga


Note: Geoffrey Lewis refers to the "doldrums" rather than the horse latitudes. Technically, the doldrums are an area about 5 degrees of latitude north or south of the Equator, where a ship may be trapped without wind. That zone's official name is the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Many people refer to the horse latitudes when they mean the doldrums, and vice versa. Also, "doldrums" is a generic word used for a calm area or time, typically found in either the horse latitudes or the doldrums themselves.


Learn more:

NOAA explanation of the horse latitudes

For good source material in English about early Spanish and Portuguese shipping of horses:

Johnson, J. (1943). The Introduction of the Horse into the Western Hemisphere. The Hispanic American Historical Review, 23(4), 587-610. doi:10.2307/2507859. Alternate free to read version at this link.

To view the script of the story, for those wishing to retell the story or develop it for performance, here's author RavenStorm's transcript of "The Horses".

And to see more videos of Geoffrey Lewis telling great stories:
Celestial Navigations tribute Facebook page
or search YouTube.


© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is the news service for Hoofcare and Lameness Publishing. Please, no re-use of text or images on other sites or social media without permission--please link instead. (Please ask if you need help.) The Hoof Blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a headlines-link email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). Use the little envelope symbol below to email this article to others. The "translator" tool in the right sidebar will convert this article (roughly) to the language of your choice. To share this article on Facebook and other social media, click on the small symbols below the labels. Be sure to "like" the Hoofcare and Lameness Facebook page and click on "get notifications" under the page's "like" button to keep up with the hoof news on Facebook.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: The Hoof Blog (Hoofcare Publishing) has not received any direct compensation for writing this post. Hoofcare Publishing has no material connection to the brands, products, or services mentioned, other than products and services of Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

FEI hosts new Grooms Working Group; will support their role in sport horse welfare

Grooms are gaining recognition for the role they play in equine welfare within equestrian sport. The FEI's new Grooms Working Group is expanding into a more formal registration program for international sport horse grooms. (Fran Jurga photo/©Hoof Blog)


The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) hosted the inaugural meeting of its new Grooms Working Group at the Federation's headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland this week.

It was the first meeting of its kind. 

The working group was created following a recent survey among national equestrian federations to determine the best way to improve communications and interaction with grooms and what the FEI can do to help them.

As part of a day of very positive discussion, it was agreed by the working group that there was a need to establish a more formal relationship, with grooms being officially welcomed into the FEI family through being registered with the FEI. Registration would facilitate further development of education systems, and create a more structured framework for cooperation between the FEI and grooms.

In addition, the FEI is taking significant steps towards producing applications and other tools which will best serve the grooms, allowing them to streamline preparation for upcoming events.

“Grooms play an absolutely vital role in our sport, especially in preserving the welfare of our horses, but often they go unnoticed and unrecognized, so this new working group has been set up to change that and establish an official relationship with these very important members of our community,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said after the meeting.

The new Grooms Working Group had its first meeting at FEI Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland this week. (L-R): Nanna-Riikka Nieminen (Finland) and Brent Kuylen (Belgium) representing Jumping; Jackie Potts (Great Britain) representing Eventing; FEI President Ingmar De Vos; and Alan Davies (Great Britain) representing Dressage. (FEI photo)


“It is vital for the sport and for the development of our global equestrian community to have a solid support network, and for the FEI to offer assistance and education where necessary. Grooms are truly worth their weight in gold, and we want to provide the finest resources and tools that will help increase knowledge of best practices and standards. Forging better relationships with our grooms is only the beginning. We want to help them share their knowledge with the wider community for the benefit of the sport globally.”

“I felt very honored to be invited by the FEI to talk about the future of the grooms,” said dressage groom Alan Davies, who works with British Olympic stars Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin.

“I am super excited about the fact that the FEI want to do things to help the grooms and improve everything, which at the end of the day is for the welfare of the horse as well. It was a great meeting, we talked a lot about amazing new features and things which can be developed. It won’t be easy and it is going to take some time to put in place but it will be a fantastic project.”

Belgium's Brent Kuylen, who has worked with Dutch Jumping world champion Jeroen Dubbeldam, and Finland's Nanna-Riikka Nieminen, who previously groomed for two-time Olympian Henrik von Eckermann of Sweden, both agreed that the day had been a “great experience” and were looking forward to future initiatives.

“I think this is a real step forward,” said British Eventing legend William Fox-Pitt’s groom Jackie Potts. “It’s good to try and keep the standards up, and use the experience and the knowledge that some of us have gained over the years, in keeping welfare a priority and keeping grooms in the industry as well.”

Following this initial meeting, the FEI will now focus on the key components of integration, registration, education and communication. Membership in the Grooms Working Group will be expanded to include grooms from other disciplines, with the next meeting planned for 2018, ahead of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, North Carolina (USA).

Information for this article was provided by the FEI. 


© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is the news service for Hoofcare and Lameness Publishing. Please, no re-use of text or images on other sites or social media without permission--please link instead. (Please ask if you need help.) The Hoof Blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a headlines-link email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). Use the little envelope symbol below to email this article to others. The "translator" tool in the right sidebar will convert this article (roughly) to the language of your choice. To share this article on Facebook and other social media, click on the small symbols below the labels. Be sure to "like" the Hoofcare and Lameness Facebook page and click on "get notifications" under the page's "like" button to keep up with the hoof news on Facebook.
  
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Disclosure of Material Connection: The Hoof Blog (Hoofcare Publishing) has not received any direct compensation for writing this post. Hoofcare Publishing has no material connection to the brands, products, or services mentioned, other than products and services of Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy Fourth of July: A look back to when Uncle Sam was at the anvil, sharpening an ominous sword

Uncle Sam blacksmith World War II
In mid-1941, the United States was still politically neutral as war erupted in Europe, North Africa, and Asia. The Atlantic wasn't safe for US ships anymore. So the popular Liberty magazine cover became a billboard for one side of the debate. Artist Arnold Freberg had Uncle Sam take off his long-tailed jacket, and roll up his sleeves. He's forging a sword blade perhaps from a ploughshare, reversing the words of Isaiah in the Old Testament. 

It's the Fourth of July. So, why, back in 1941, did Liberty Magazine have this blacksmith forging a sword on its cover?

Just for background, Liberty was a very popular magazine back in its day. It was published until 1950 and came in second only to the Saturday Evening Post in the hearts of Americans. Its subtitle was "A weekly for everybody." In the upper left of this cover art, you can see a tiny Statue of Liberty and the words "The American Way of Life".

The Fourth of July in 1941 was the last one before thousands of Americans were drafted into the military. For the next four years, the nation technically battled two wars, one in the Pacific and one in Europe and North Africa. Yet this cover doesn't reflect any innocence of pre-war days. It's calling for a fight.

When this issue of the magazine was published, the United States was still pleading neutrality as its Allies fell beneath Axis powers in Europe, Asia and North Africa. Winston Churchill was begging for help as London crumbled beneath the blitzkrieg. Jewish refugees continued to plead for rescue. British and Soviet forces invaded Iran to protect access to oilfields needed to fuel their armies and air forces. Japan occupied Saigon and it looked like Thailand would be next.

This cover makes it obvious that Liberty Magazine's point of view called for the United States to enter the war. Pearl Harbor was still five months away, although no one knew it was coming.

The week before this magazine appeared on newsstands, a German U-boat attacked an American warship in the Atlantic for the first time. President Roosevelt gave the Navy permission in the future to fire back, if fired upon first...if that wasn't too late.

In the age before television and the Internet, magazine covers were powerful billboards, whether they reassured Americans of a peaceful way of life on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, or called for political or military action--without saying a word--like this striking cover of Liberty.

What's going on here? Uncle Sam has taken off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. He's pounding on a sword--no peaceful Biblical plowshare conversions for him. He is intent on his job, fully focused on the accuracy of his blow; one eye is even closed to sharpen his aim. The veins in his arms are visible. His suspenders are taut. An invisible wind is blowing his long hair back. He's not smiling.

Behind him, you can see a factory bellowing smoke, symbolizing rearmament of the US military and general preparation for war. And the eagle? He looks pretty angry, too, underneath those super-sized wings.

Uncle Sam the blacksmith

The blond-haired, blue-eyed Uncle Sam--which the editors must have thought personified America's vision of itself better than the usual elderly, gray-haired one--was fine-tuning his sword blade to go out into the world and wage war, as well as to liberate Asians and Europeans and Africans who looked nothing like him.

Likewise, most of the young men drafted to do the job would look nothing at all like this Uncle Sam.

This is one of the most politically charged magazine covers in history, yet it is rarely shown and its artist is uncelebrated. Maybe it's buried in our grandparents' attics for a reason, or maybe it needs to be dusted off, looked at, and discussed, as if we're seeing it for the first time.

To learn more:

If you watch Ebay or haunt flea markets, you can find a copy of this edition of Liberty, or sometimes just the cover, framed. It obviously inspired people.

Hoof Blog
© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is the news service for Hoofcare and Lameness Publishing. Please, no re-use of text or images on other sites or social media without permission--please link instead. (Please ask if you need help.) The Hoof Blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a headlines-link email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). Use the little envelope symbol below to email this article to others. The "translator" tool in the right sidebar will convert this article (roughly) to the language of your choice. To share this article on Facebook and other social media, click on the small symbols below the labels. Be sure to "like" the Hoofcare and Lameness Facebook page and click on "get notifications" under the page's "like" button to keep up with the hoof news on Facebook.  
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Disclosure of Material Connection: The Hoof Blog (Hoofcare Publishing) has not received any direct compensation for writing this post. Hoofcare Publishing has no material connection to the brands, products, or services mentioned, other than products and services of Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

New HoofSearch documents give busy equine professionals a one-stop lifeline to newly-published global research

horse foot science farriery

The time has come: After almost two years in the incubator (and the library), a new service is finally available to all. HoofSearch is a little on the nerdy side; it is designed for those of you interested in research--and eager to keep up with it. The press release below explains all you need to know about this new project. If you are truly interested in the science side of hoofcare and lameness, I hope you will subscribe. If you decide not to, you'll still have The Hoof Blog, and I'll always be here for you.
--Fran Jurga

Thursday, June 22, 2017