Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hoof Wall Matrix

The Matrix Loaded, Unloaded, Reloaded? 

by KC La Pierre

What on earth am I talking about? I'm about to expose you to the latest information on hoof wall health. Information that will, I hope change your entire perspective on hoof wall health.
For nearly a decade, I have taught the importance of inner wall health and the how inner wall health is vital to overall foot health. Where my explanation of hoof wall health may have been lacking is in the definition of the Matrix.
The Matrix The hoof capsule and the components that comprise it consist of zones (areas of differing matrix); each matrix is responsible for a multitude of functions. The Matrix is a blending, or combination of different types of horn that constitute a structure (hoof wall, sole, white line, or frog.) The outer hoof wall that you see consists mainly of horn tubules and provides protection against moisture loss and toxin ingress. It is also responsible for the storing of energy created by the stride, to be released during breakover. The outer wall must be strong and hard to resist the leverage forces that occur throughout the stride. The outer hoof wall however is only one part of a more complex matrix. The matrix of the hoof capsule is made up of tubules that originate at the coronary band. These tubules are bound tightly together by a specialized Intertubular horn that acts much like super glue. As we move deeper into the wall's matrix, we find horn produced by the lamellae blending with the newly developed tubules. This blending takes place just below the coronary band, in those areas covered by the periople. Periople is known as the stratum externum, and serves to protect newly developing wall. Progressing further inward, the ratio of tubules to Intertubular horn (horn produced at the lamellae) is reduced, until we reach the zone of matrix known as the stratum internum, also known as the inner hoof wall. This inner most hoof wall, often described as the water line, is far more pliable than the outer wall, and is well suited to distortion without breakdown. The inner most wall is easily identified by its lack of pigment. Research has provided strong evidence that the Intertubular horn of the inner wall originates at the laminae layer of the foot, and grows from the inside out, blending with the tubules of the outer wall to form the matrix. The healthiest of hooves contain a strong Matrix (blending) of both types of horn. The inner most wall having fewer tubules is far more pliable than the outer most wall. This inner most wall (Stratum Internum) acts as a buffer zone between the sensitive structures of the foot and the dense matrix of the hoof capsule known as the (Stratum Medium). When the foot is asked to distort, it is the inner wall's responsibility to absorb much of the pressure created by the lever forces created by the outer wall and stride. Our research points to poor matrixing as a primary cause for reoccurring hoof wall cracks, wall separation, and white line disease.
Cause and Effect After much research, the logical conclusion is that hoof wall disorders are most commonly seen in those horses where correct foot function is lacking. The need for proper balance and distortion is very important to proper foot function and the resulting matrix . As stated, the matrix that is characteristic of the healthy hoof occurs just distal to the coronary band, in those areas covered by the periople, and grows distal to the ground. There can be several causes for poor matrix to occur, and often it is a combination of causes.• Lack of distortion, most commonly caused by shoeing or lack of exercise.• Imbalance resulting in improper distortion.• Poor hydration, leading to acidity, and ph imbalances.• Compromised nutrition, and vitamin/mineral imbalances.• Compromised immune system, often resulting in infection of periople, and hoof wall.• Damaged periople, caused by toxins (toxic hoof dressings, shampoo, oils), or injury. Matrixing also occurs in other areas of the hoof capsule, including at the white line, frog, and sole. Wherever the mechanism needed for correct matrixing is lacking, areas of infiltration of bacteria and other micro-organisms can occur, this leading to horn failure (hoof wall cracks, wall separations, white line disease, frog infections, and sole cracking). Balance can play a huge role in hoof wall health. A weak matrix, coupled with imbalance in the shoeing process, cause excessive stresses to be placed on the hoof wall leading to cracks. It is not uncommon for the farrier to suggest removing the shoes for the winter, "to give the foot a break from shoeing." What often happens is that the foot is not given enough time to see a healthy matrix reaching the ground, and the wet spring environment plays havoc with the increased inner wall that is presented to the ground. The inner wall is very susceptible to infection when not matrixed correctly. With the matrix occurring higher up the hoof wall, it does need adequate time to grow down, and those hooves that do not present a strong matrix at the ground are more likely to develop infection, cracks and separations.
Treatments Now that we have a better understanding as to the cause of hoof wall problems, what can we do to cure or better yet prevent them? With the understanding that environmental stimulus (distortion) is responsible for the health of the matrix within the foot we can develop a treatment plan to cure an existing problem or develop a preventative strategy to prevent future problems. First and foremost, use a hoof disinfectant to rid the foot of harmful bacteria. I highly recommend a product called Clean Trax. Clean Trax is a deep penetrating hoof cleanser that is often effective in one treatment. Follow up with a daily treatment of Silvetrasol Hoof and Wound Wash, our non-necrotizing topical anti-bacterial solution. I recommend staying away from products that contain formaldehyde, bleach or other necrotizing ingredients. You may have come to the conclusion that I promote going shoeless for the health of the matrix, and for a foot with a hoof wall problem this is no exception. I have successfully treated toe cracks, wall separations, and white line disease shoeless for many years now. Though there are excellent products that can provide dynamic stability to the unstable foot.  I, like many farriers, have tried resections, patching, lacing, and corrective shoeing. Don't get me wrong, there will be times when the foot has lost so much structure that the only course of action is to stabilize the capsule. We now have Energetics Brand Perfect Hoof Wear for cases where stabilization is needed. A balanced stable foot that is exposed to the proper environmental stimulus (distortions) for the return of healthy matrixing will be a foot that is not likely to develop severe hoof wall issues. What is the proper environmental stimulus you ask? Exercise! Provided stability exist or can be achieved, hand walks over uneven surfaces will do wonders for the horse with a lack of horn matrixing. Balance in the foot is critical allowing for correct distortion to occur, thus providing the necessary pressure for correct growth and matrixing to occur. Often thirty minutes a day of hand walking for eight weeks will produce visibly healthy growth of the stratum internum (inner most wall). It should be noted that it will take several months for the hoof wall to fully matrix, as the matrix is formed just below the coronary band and must grow to the ground before it is evidenced.

Diet as a Factor
Evaluate your diet program. A well balanced diet will go a long way to developing a healthy matrix within the hoof capsule. It is best to consult with your veterinarian on dietary requirements for you horse, as requirements vary from region to region.
Regardless of the diet you have chosen for your horse, hydration is the most important factor in correct matrixing. Hoof wall cracks, and separations that occur in early spring can be signs of mild chronic dehydration having resulted in a poor matrix.
Your role in hoof care as an informed owner is to provide a dry, clean environment that is conducive to the health of the foot. Begin with a well balanced foot, treat for infection, and provide a balanced diet, plenty of water and exercise.

The Truth about Applied Equine Podiatry

The Naked Truth about Applied Equine Podiatry by Robyn La Pierre  

 For the more than fifteen years, the popularity of barefoot horses has increased in volumes. The frustration of horse owners with the traditional farrier sciences has increased as well. Horse owners are looking for their own answers, answers to questions about balance and lifestyle, as well as how the hoof itself works and grows. Herein lays the problem. Currently, there is no real true model for farriers and veterinarians to follow, other than the practice of balancing the hoof to the lower limb and shoulder, which is a variable at best.  From this, horses have been suffering and developing syndromes, and diseases that could have been prevented had the horse owner known what to look for.
 Systematically, the barefoot craze has taken off. Often labeled as "designer trims"of the decade, these barefoot trim styles are offering an alternative to the traditional farrier practices. However, what are they based on? Most are based on the hoof of a wild horse and are concentrating on the exterior of the hoof. Some of these trims are extremely radical and are considered damaging to the hoof, with consideration given only to circulation and support. So what is the answer? This question explains the over abundance of internet sites and chat rooms that exist today where thousands of people question the different trims and the results they produce. Why all the confusion? Simply this, there is no true model that will support the greater majority of the hoof care industry. Not until today.
 At the Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry, KC La Pierre has begun to answer many of the questions surfacing on the internet. KC has been a registered Journeymen farrier for over a quarter century. However, he was never satisfied with the traditional farrier sciences, or the results he obtained in his practice of that science. His new theories and models on hoof wall growth help bridge the gap between the farrier sciences and the barefoot movement. What he teaches through his school, the International Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry, is how to define proper structure for the hoof and foot of the horse. Yes, there are two separate structures, a hoof and a foot. Most neurological and circulatory issues that plague our horses today are present due to an imbalance between the hoof and foot. Where the structures contact the ground is paramount to the soundness of the horse. KC is able to balance the foot using what he terms "the internal arch of the foot." This arch is not simply the coffin bone and whether it is ground or close to ground parallel. The internal arch includes soft tissue, lateral cartilages and all connective and sensitive structures within. His HPT (High Performance Trim) Method is his tool for achieving proper structure within the hoof. He balances to four dimensions, and utilizes the fifth dimension of time (T). Many farriers' today balance to only two dimensions, proximal/distal and rotational balance, however they label proximal/distal balance as medial/lateral balance and anterior/posterior. The fact of the matter is that medial/lateral and anterior/posterior balance as viewed by these farriers is actually proximal/distal balance (up and down) of the medial/lateral and anterior posterior planes. What about proprioception? Proprioception is the ability of the horse to know where its hooves are at all times, in relationship to its own body. Within the horse's foot there are five locations that have been identified where proprioception is heightened.. Heel placement is a key element in allowing the horse the ability to know where its hooves are at all times and how to correctly execute the stride. Most horses we see today have underrun heels that are naturally contracted due to forward movement of the hoof capsule. The frog, having a triangular shape will naturally cause the heels to move in or contract as the foot print moves out from under the horse. KC La Pierre addresses the functions that are present within the foot, and works to aid the horse in bringing back proper structure once it is lost due to incorrect stimulus.
 What has all of this information meant to the horse owner today? Yes, it has caused one more barefoot trim to exist and it has raised yet another question in their minds. However, please take this fact into consideration; KC does not consider himself a barefooter. This somehow confuses people. How can you not put shoes on and not be a barefooter? Being in the barefoot sandbox has not been an ally to KC and his work. Currently, many barefooters are against the farriers and many farriers are up in arms about the barefooters. Why can't we all just agree to help the horse? Isn't that what it is all about? Applied Equine Podiatry being the study of the hoof encompasses all of the cutting edge research and proven results that aids the horse in healing itself, and perform as it was meant to perform. Utilizing a spectrum of usability KC places the hoof onto a scale identifying where each structure lies at that present moment. Educating farriers, veterinarians and horse owners on proper structure, how to recognize it, and rehabilitate it is the practice of Whole Horse Hoof Care. Being an Applied Equine Podiatrist has nothing to do with barefoot foot per say, it has to do with creating the proper environment for the horse, allowing correct pressure to be the correct stimulus for growth. Once proper structure is returned, then apply a shoe if you choose, having the knowledge that by locking the foot into an environment such as a shoe, you are no longer promoting proper function or proper structure, and could quite possibly dissipate the structure you had stimulated to grow. Remember, most people shoe their horse to allow that horse to perform in a discipline, not for the health of the horse itself. KC has invented a viable replacement for the steel shoes. His design, Perfect Hoof Wear Pro Wear allows proper bio-mechanical and neurological function to occur. It does not however allow the hoof to wear naturally when applied; therefore it is imperative that a regular trim schedule be maintained. KC's Perfect Hoof Wear was originally designed for those who working towards returning proper structure to the foot, but didn't have the necessary structures to work over extreme environments where rocks, rough ground, or asphalt may cause damage to the hoof capsule. The PHW Pro Wear replaces all types of performance and remedial type shoes.
 In order to help the most horses, Applied Equine Podiatry needs to go main stream into the barefoot realm, farrier sciences and the veterinarian realm. KC La Pierre is working toward helping as many horses as possible in order to correct what he terms "DHS" (Deformed Hoof Syndrome). Being in the barefoot niche' will not enable KC to do so. Most people think that simply being barefoot is the responsible thing to do. However, often the environment that is present does not allow for the horse's ability to heal itself, and problems often arise. KC has dedicated his work to educating people about the science of Applied Equine Podiatry. KC's theories have opened many doors for many veterinarians and farriers the world over. But there are many more doors that need to be opened before we start to see a significant change in what has become acceptable in the equine hoof care industry. Applied Equine Podiatry is truly the cutting edge alternative to the farrier sciences.

 About the Author: Robyn La Pierre is the General Manager of the Institute being responsible for admissions, and overall daily business operations. Robyn has owned horses most of her life. Robyn began trimming horses nearly two decades ago and began studying AEP in 2001. Robyn is a published author, and devoted horsewoman.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Staying on the Cutting Edge

Keith "KC" La Pierre:  I have been a professional farrier for over 30 years and for the past 15 years have taught trimming in 13 countries. Through the years I have tried nearly every rasp produced and for all of my 30 plus years I stuck with and used only one brand of rasp, Save Edge, but after putting the MaXcut by Exim to the test at our school and in my practice, I have decided to make a change. I am so pleased with the performance the MaXcut by Exim offers that we will be endorsing it for use by all of our students and graduates. Well done Exim, getting this farrier to change rasps after all these years is nothing short of astonishing.

Exim Rasps and Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry (IAEP) are pleased to announce channel partnership.  IAEP will distribute Exim Rasps’ MaXcut rasps though its website, distribution and dealer network in UK and France.  KC La Pierre, founder of IAEP, provided valuable input on IAEP’s needs during MaXcut’s development.  MaXcut met performance requirements before it was selected for distribution through IAEP’s channels to its students, alumni and distributors.   This recently launched model is now available through IAEP’s network.
United Kingdom:

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Why Digital Pulse?

Why take Digital Pulses? by KC La Pierre

What is the Digital Pulse? Digital in this instance denotes the digit or foot and pulse refers to the pumping of blood through an artery or vein entering or exiting the foot. To be more precise, the digital pulse is taken or referenced at what is called the V.A.N. apparatus. V.A.N. stands for Vein, Artery, and Nerve. V.A.N. describes the physical conformation of the vascular structures located in a specific location on the pastern of the horse.

If you were to place your fingers on the front of the pastern, mid way between the coronary band and the fetlock (ankle), and slowly slide them towards the inside of the pastern, your fingers would slip into a slight hollow. This is the location where you would take the digital pulse.
The digital pulse is a reliable indicator of what is occurring within the vasculature of internal foot, including whether inflammation may be present within the confines of the hoof capsule.
In the normal horse at rest, locating a pulse at the V.A.N apparatus can often be difficult, as it is very faint, this because systolic pressure (arterial blood pressure created by the pumping of the heart) is relatively low in this location. With increased exercise and the accompanying increase in blood pressure, the pulse is more easily felt. This is why you should check digital pulse (DP) before exercise. You are not attempting to identify pulse "rate" but rather "pressure."
The vasculature of the equine foot is unique in several ways: Firstly, the veins within the foot do not have valves in them. Valves within veins prevent back flow of blood through the vein. Secondly, there are no A.V.A.'s (Arterial Vascular Anatomsis) described as  bypasses that allow for blood to be shunted from an artery directly to a vein, bypassing the delicate capillaries. Lacking these features, the vasculature of the foot, lying between the internal foot and the hoof capsule is  readily influenced by changes in circulation.
Changes in circulation can be the result of an increase in blood flow, or by a restriction of flow within the vascular caused by inflammation. It is very important that you determine which of the two may be occurring.
Both cause an increase in pulse at the V.A.N. apparatus. Increased blood flow in most cases is a good thing, whereas inflammation resulting in the inability of the blood to enter the foot correctly is a bad thing. Restriction due to inflammation can result in blood being shunted by A.V.A.'s that are present in the vascular at the coronary band and above. With blood being shunted from the arteries to the veins before it enters the foot,  pressure felt at the V.A.N. is  increased.
It is safe to say that lameness usually accompanies inflammation in the foot. Also, heat will be felt when you rest your hand on the outer hoof wall. If you have an increase in pressure, but there is no heat, or lameness, it is likely that the increase in pressure is related to an increase in blood flow. You should be aware that there is a fine line between increased circulation and inflammation. The cause of vascular dilation and increased circulation can also result in inflammation.
My advice is that you learn how to take your horse Digital Pulse and take the time to observe the pulse each morning before you exercise your horse. Do this for at least a week. I rate DP on a scale of 0/3 with 0 being normal. If I have difficulty finding the pulse it rates a 0. If it is faint it is rated 1, if it is easily felt it rates a 2, and if it is bounding I rate it a 3. You should be checking the pulse when your horse is sound to establish a baseline. If after a week you have found it normal for your horse to have a faint pulse, then faint pulse for your horse would rate 0. This will allow for early detection of changes in the foot's circulation of "your" horse.
Here is how you use your baseline.

0   Normal, no concerns
1   Monitor daily for change, no real change in daily routine.  
2   Horse should not be exercised, and veterinarian should be consulted.    
3   Treat as an emergency; horse should be seen by your attending veterinarian at the earliest possible time.  

I do not always treat immediately for inflammation when I have a 2 or even 3. I first want to determine whether there might be an abscess brewing. Treating for inflammation will hinder the abscess process. Abscesses often have to run their course and anti-inflammatory can stop the process leading to complications down the road. If you are not sure, it is always best to consult your veterinarian.

About the Author: 
Keith "KC" La Pierre APF, RJF, CF, MIAEP has been a farrier for more than 30 years. KC is the co-founder of the Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry. KC teaches and lectures on Applied Equine Podiatry through out the world. KC has developed and introduced dozens of innovative theories, methods, and products that continue to improve the quality of life of the horse. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

When does a trade give birth to a profession?

We don’t need another new shoe; we need a whole new Profession. by KC La Pierre, MIAEP

One Professional's Point of View

There’s no question about it, research on the horse’s foot is booming. Concerns over foot related injuries and lameness associated with the lower limb have become insurmountable. Educated horse owners, breeders and trainers are looking to the professional hoof care provider for answers. Though all to often the concerned horse owner and professional  have become disenchanted by the redundancy of the antiquated approaches and treatment recommendations offered them.  With so many equine research projects underway you would have thought that answers to hoof care related problems would abound.

In this decade research into the complex genetic and environmental interplay that shapes the equine foot and determines its demise is an area that has moved to center stage at many universities. Who will this new found knowledge be communicated to and will those in the field have the skills necessary to make use of this information? The real question is: will the minds that breathe life into the struggling farrier trade come from the hallowed halls of the veterinary universities, or will this rescue come from those educated at the traditional farrier’s school?  These were a few of the questions pondered while revising curriculums of study at the Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry. In order to accomplish our goals of providing the most relevant and progressive education possible we also decided to take a good close look at the educational systems that were being offered those wishing to enter the field of farriery.

Most farriers schools attract and accommodate those students that wish to enter a trade, those
hoping to be able to make a better than average income and to do so while having to meet only limited academic requirements. As an example: In the UK, the farrier student must attend one of the nation’s approved farrier colleges, the actual semesters for academic study at these colleges is eight weeks the first year, six for the second, four for the third, and two weeks in the fourth and final year. The remainder of the student’s education is spent in apprenticeship with an approved mentor, the master farrier. It is likely that it has only been in the two decades that you would find a teacher (master farrier) that would have attended college themselves. The reason; it was in the mid 70’s when the registries began and at that time most all working farriers fell under a grandfather clause and did not have to attend college. In many cases these same farriers would take an apprentice under this new system. Though this system may have been flawed, it remains far superior to any other form of farrier educational system in the world today and has undergone substantial change over the past five years. In the United States however there is no regulation of the farrier trade. Formal education is strictly voluntary and as a result quality varies greatly. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that education in the farrier trade does not exist, on the contrary, it exist alright, but we need to accept the fact that growth within the farrier trade is nearly nonexistent, and that we need to find a way to revive a somewhat antiquated and all to often inadequate trade.

I believe that if we are to see rapid advances in the understanding and treatment of the equine foot, we need to promote a profession that will attract those minds that will accelerate the science of hoof care. We need minds that will take equine podiatry and the farrier trade out of the Victorian era.

It is my belief that the practices and principles of Applied Equine Podiatry hold promise in better understanding the equine foot and that the practice of Applied Equine Podiatry is in fact defining a new equine related profession. Applied Equine Podiatry is a profession that continues to attract the minds needed to advance the farrier trade. It has been said that Applied Equine Podiatry is actually an evolution of the farrier trade.

Let me share this bit of proof with you. Attendance to the Institute’s five day courses on the science of Applied Equine Podiatry has grown steadily over the past decade. Enrollment in the Institute’s full time diploma program has shown a dramatic increase in the past three years, so much so that it dictates our company’s expansion.

Of interest are the demographics of the students interested in hoof care or AEP as a
career. The demographics of the Institute’s students may be a good indication of where hoof care needs to go, and where it is going. Our students range in average age from 24 to 54 and most have a high level of formal education, many holding advance degrees. What is the reason for this? What attracts this type of person to a profession that in many eyes is reserved for those having a stronger propensity toward the physical attributes? I think the answer is; a common desire to improve the quality of life of today’s horse.

Many students come to us because they are disappointed in what their farrier and/or veterinarian have had to offer. Some felt a strong desire to move toward that which appeared more natural. Why they come to AEP is important, but not as important as their thirst for knowledge, it is this thirst that is the fuel that will advance Applied Equine Podiatry as a profession.

In my humble opinion, Applied Equine Podiatry as a profession has over the past 15 years proven itself to be a viable alternative to the traditional farrier trade.

For more information about Applied Equine Podiatry visit our website at 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Not Just Another Trim.

The HPT Method, not just another trim!

Copyright KC La Pierre © 2001

The HPT Method was developed in direct response to the Suspension Theory of Hoof Dynamics (La Pierre, 99). It is the author’s belief that this theory closest represents the true bio mechanics of the hoof. As the theory was forming, it became increasingly apparent that how the hoof dissipated the energies created during impact played an important role in keeping the horse sound, as did the utilization of the energies created to execute the stride. As with any object subject to kinetic energy, its shape is what determines where the energies are directed, thus hoof conformation and how a trim was applied appeared to be of greatest importance.
That said I find it important that I respond to a statement that has been presented recently more than once. The statement simply put; “The HPT is just the same as any other traditional trim, just applied well and that’s why the horses on it are going sound.” This statement has been echoed on many of the farrier and barefoot chat rooms from farriers all over the globe, including a select few from the UK and Sweden.
First, I will say that the HPT does not resemble the traditional wall bearing trim, but that is not what makes the HPT unique. What does make the HPT unique is the Method, the term HPT should not be used without its association with the term, Method. The HPT Method in itself is a tool we use to achieve proper structure in the hoof while practicing Applied Equine Podiatry.
For centuries, the farrier student has been taught how to apply the traditional trim to the horse. The method of teaching a traditional trim varies greatly among teachers and schools. This has led to an inherent problem; having a multitude of difficult to define reference points being left to the interpretation of the student. Applying a trim cannot be compared to mechanics or mathematics, it is not simply completing the formula or outlined task, and there are few true absolutes. Applying a correct traditional trim depends on one’s ability to correctly reference a multitude of factors that we have been taught were important to achieving balance in the hoof. None of these can be defined as absolutes, but have been misinterpreted as such. Angle of hoof is one such absolute that has been badly misinterpreted. In an effort to justify that which the student has interpreted, they are led to believe various measuring devices have been used to confirm what is being perceived as an absolute.
Thus, absolutes are perceived by the person reading the protractor, dividers, tee squares and rulers. It is impossible to state an absolute such as hoof angle and then expect anyone to use a device that uses undefined reference points to achieve the same. The protractor and dividers for instance, use reference points that are vague; therefore, any absolute perceived is based solely on the user’s interpretation of these points. Example: dividers use the hair line and protractors use dorsal wall and sole surface, all of which can be deviated to the point that the only absolute that can be stated is that neither can be measured accurately with these traditional tools. Further, traditionally we are taught to use external angles to guide us in applying a trim. Such angles involve shoulder to pastern angle in relationship to the hoofs’ dorsal wall angle. Is this an absolute? What about dorsal wall angle to heel angle and hairline to ground as so on and so on and so on?
It is true that with years of practice and experimentation, the farrier can capably apply a correct trim. This is a statement often used in defense of the traditional farrier sciences. “Leave it to the experts; it takes a long time to learn what is needed to trim a hoof properly or to treat hoof lameness.” There are some farriers out there that have the ability to interpret or read a hoof and apply a proper trim. Most of these farriers have taken many years to get to the point where they can make this claim and the percentage to those that can not is overwhelming, in my opinion. What of the thousands of horses being used to gain this expertise?
Just as we have seen a misinterpretation of the many natural trims being practiced, how the traditional trim is applied has been misinterpreted to a far greater extent. By having so many variables being left to one’s individual interpretation, it is little wonder there has been such difficulty in defining the proper trim. Therefore the true definition of a proper trim should be defined by the results obtained – a sound horse.
The inherent problem is that the traditional farrier science does not provide a solid method for teaching the application of the traditional trim and further, does not scientifically support its efficiency in its aid to the shoeing process. Yes, there are outlines on how to trim a hoof; many are mostly based on ones ability to visualize what lies beneath, (bone structure) and what is proper for balance. Dr. Doug Butler, author of “The Principle of Horse Shoeing III,” and renowned educator, stated recently in the American Farriers Journal that most farriers have difficulty visualizing the internal bone structures and their relationship to the hoof capsule. I find this remark to be of paramount importance, if the method for doing a traditional trim is based on one’s ability to interpret so many variables and the experts are finding it difficult, then my belief that there is an inherent problem has been confirmed.
The HPT Method, though not developed to answer the above outlined problem, does to a great extent do just that. As stated earlier, the HPT Method was developed as a result of my beliefs on how the hoof deals with force. The trim is applied using far fewer reference points and those being used, easily define balance as outlined by the traditional farrier sciences. It further answers a more important need; the need for a method that can be taught to a student and allow that student to obtain a proper trim. Proper trim defined by the results – a sound horse.
If the farrier sciences and their advocates were to continue their assault on the natural hoof care movement and the many trims being practiced, it would be advisable that they first define the methods used in teaching the traditional trim and aim at educating the professional at large.
The true issue here is not whether a horse can go barefoot or not, it is whether or not a horse is sound for its intended use. If a horse is shod and is lame, it may well be the trim. Does this mean the horse should go without shoes? This depends on hoof conformation and whether or not the HPT can be applied to improve the overall conformation of the hoof.
It is my belief that the hoof conformation cannot be corrected with the application of a shoe and that the remaining structure and its provided environment is the determining factors in whether or not the hoof can be corrected. Can a hoof be deviated so badly that it cannot be corrected? To say no would be irresponsible of me. There are hooves that have been deformed either by man or by accident that cannot be corrected by just a trim. You will notice that I did not say by nature. God provides, man interferes, and accidents happen. Someone recently asked me for percentages, not numbers and that is fair. I have found that 7 out of 10 horses that had owners interested in having their horses go shoeless were capable of doing so. Also, I have found that 8 out of 10 horses that came to us for treatment for lameness have shown marked improvement over their being shod with therapeutic shoes. Were all the shoes applied incorrectly? By what and who’s standard? It was more important that I determine whether or not the hoof conformation was a cause for lameness, and then decide on how best to improve the situation. Simply stated; the HPT Metho is a means by which a person can learn to apply a proper trim that has shown promise in the treatment of lameness associated with poor hoof conformation, as well as proving to be a trim for the high performance horse in many cases. Is the HPT just a traditional trim being applied well?
The answer is no, the HPT is a method being used to apply a proper trim in order to promote proper structure:Applied Equine Podiatry

About the Author:

KC La Pierre, a horsemen for over three decades, a graduate of Brewer School of Harness Racing and holder of a USTA trainers license in the early 80’s. He became a professional farrier after becoming dissatisfied with the work being performed on his own horses.
KC has been a professional farrier for nearly 33 years, certified with the AFA since 1989, passing their Journeymen written exam in 1990 and a Journey member of the Guild of Professional Farriers. After working 11 years at doing it traditionally, KC felt something was missing. He began to think that by increasing his forging skills he would be able to produce therapeutic and finely crafted hand made shoes to help in his rehabilitation of the deformed hoof and the lame horse. To this end, in 1994 he began an apprenticeship as a Traditional Blacksmith at the Farmers Museum in Cooperstown, NY under the guidance of Master Blacksmith Paul Spaulding. Two years later, armed with his improved forging skills, KC began applying hand made shoes of all types, only to come to the conclusion; the shoe was not the answer.
It turned out to be the teachings of the Master Smith, KC had learned to break things down to the simplest denominator and determine how things worked before forging them. It was this mindset that allowed KC to look closely at the hoof and determine that the answers were to be found on the inside. The results; Equine Podiatry based on The Suspension Theory of Hoof Dynamics and the HPT Method. KC is the Co-Founder of the Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry, Inc., which provides horse owners, vets, and farriers hands-on workshops to learn Applied Equine Podiatry as well as a three level certification program for becoming a DAEP. KC now teaches throughout the United States and abroad. His environmental research includes the wild horses of Abaco, Bahamas and many others.

IAEP, Inc.
KC La Pierre

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Evidence Based Farriery

Evidenced Based Farriery? by KC La Pierre, MIAEP, MAEP, APF, RJF, CF

Over the past month, graduates and students of our school, The Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry, have sent inquires voicing concerns over an article that was published in The Horse magazine. The article;" Evidence-Based Farriery: The Proof is in the Hoof" By Erica Larson, News Editor Apr 15, 2015. This article voices the opinions of several veterinarians concerning their take on the practice of evidenced based farriery. The question posed by our graduates; Don't they know that Applied Equine Podiatry is based entirely on evidence based farriery? comes up frequently.   Each time I would read such an email I found myself holding back a smile.
Why don't they know what we teach? The answer to that question is actually quite simple. Within the conventional veterinary/farrier industry, our work has always been lumped in with the barefoot movement. Why? Because our studies and teaching focus on foot structure, function and performance with little emphasis placed on the application of horseshoes. This is true of our entry level program. In our advanced level program, horseshoeing and digital orthopedics is an integral part of learning.
With that being said, it never ceases to amaze how acknowledgments can be found in the strangest of places. After nearly 15 years of teaching foot bio-mechanics and dynamics with little interest shown by the conventional veterinary sector, it was refreshing to see a leading Equine Podiatrist Stephen O’Grady, DVM, MRCVS state in the above mentioned article, “You can take biomechanical principles and establish the center of rotation in a horse’s foot. You can trim the horse’s foot according to biomechanical principles, and that way you can put some standardization into each trim. That’s evidence-based because … we have the support saying that biomechanical forces can be applied to the horse’s foot and therefore used as guidelines in trimming.”

Note: The use of the Dynamic Balance Hoof Level is supported by O'Grady's above statement. We have taught that standardization (consistency) can be achieved by balancing to the center of rotation on all planes, simply stated; balancing of hoof capsule to the foot within , while the the biomechanical forces applied to the horse's foot should be viewed as the stimulus for the development of structure.
Essentially, all of what O'Grady proposes is being taught at the Institute and has been for nearly 15 years. In fact, the very cornerstone of our teaching underpins the definition; Structure + Function = Performance.
Our curriculum includes an in-depth study of the structures of the equine foot and their functions, and physiological sequencing.  In 2000, we began teaching the Suspension Theory of Hoof Dynamics, a theory grounded in evidence based farriery, Bio-mechanics and Energetics within the foot are all addressed. Several of the papers referenced in the article in The Horse were used in support of the development of this foot function theory, along with hundreds of other credible papers. New research is evaluated from a perspective of evolution.
Also in the same article was written, O’Grady believes researchers need to focus on “evaluating the horse’s foot, evaluating the structures in the foot, the appropriate trim, and finding your way about the foot.”
In 2001 we introduced the use of the Spectrum of Usability, a tool that is used to asses the health of the structures of the equine foot. In 2014 at the Veterinary Conference in Poa, France, a well-known farrier presented the Spectrum of Usability proposing it be used by farriers and researchers alike.
Here is just one of the many power points we utilize in teaching the use of the Spectrum of Usability; Assessing Structures

Our program has been completed by veterinarians, farriers, and students entering into a new career. We are encouraged by the fact that we have graduates in over 15 countries, all of whom practice the principles of Applied Equine Podiatry. With over 15 years of scrutinizing and continued re-evaluation of curriculum content, we can say with confidence that the fundamentals taught at the Institute are grounded in evidenced based farriery, even though we don't teach forging. Thank you Stephen O’Grady, DVM, MRCVS for offering up your definition of what constitutes Evidence Based Farriery. It is refreshing to see that lateral thinking has a unique way of infiltrating even the most vertical schools of thought.

Friday, March 6, 2015

High Heels and Laminitis

High heels or Conformation Change?

I recently read a thread on Facebook about rotation of P3 and high heels. The question presented was; Why is it that there seems to be a greater degree of rotation to P3 (coffin bone) in those hooves with high heels? It has often been said that horses that suffer laminitis/founder grow more heel. There are many reasons given for this, but none have been scientifically proven. Many of the treatment protocols call for raising the heels of those horses with rotation. From one perspective the farrier is looking at the hoof wall of the heel and its height. One farrier commented that heel height held no relationship to the position of the coffin bone. From another perspective the vet looks at bone alignment to the dorsal hoof wall. Perhaps it is time to entertain a new perspective, one that involves the conformation of the foundation caudal (back) foot, ungular cartilage. Here is a link to a paper I authored on the subject (Laminitis / Founder).  It is my hope that for the good of the horse those that are caring for the horse stricken with laminitis / founder look at the situation from multiple perspectives. Article on heel displacement

The lines do are NOT suggested as trim lines. They represent the
changes in conformation that have occurred over time. 

View this Video

About the Author: 
Keith "KC" La Pierre, MAEP, APF, RJF, CF has been a farrier for more than 30 years. KC is the co-founder of the Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry. KC teaches and lectures on Applied Equine Podiatry through out the world. As a researcher KC has developed and introduced dozens of innovative theories, methods, and products that continue to improve the quality of life of the horse. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Frogs just don't survive in Oil.

As a professional farrier, teacher, and public speaker I am often asked what I use for treating hoof infections. My response has been; use a non caustic topical or soak that wont result in excessive moisture retention. I also suggest they do their homework before shelling out their hard earned money.

You should always be sure that when you purchase a hoof infection fighter you do your research, comparing apples to apples as a rule of thumb. Bacterial kill time and the effect the product has on moisture balance or retention is of great importance. Many oils that are purposed for use in treating infection (organic or synthetic) are known for their emulsifying properties, properties that aid in moisture retention. Excessive moisture retention has been found to be a cause for the breakdown of the protein bonds responsible for healthy horn development.
Further, there are several factors that can cause an infection to continue such as increased moisture, availability of nutrients for microbes to feed upon (necrotic tissue), and a warm environment. If a product perpetuates any of these factors it is likely not the most effective infection fighter available.

Around the middle of the 20th century it was common to hear of someone using used motor oil on their horses hooves. It was cheap (read free) and killed infection (very little could survive in the acidity of used motor oil).

Today many are turning to essential oils or extracts because of their natural ability to fight infection, often claiming they are cheaper than those products developed specifically for fighting hoof infections. This is often far from the truth. An Internet search for Tea Tree Oil revealed cost ranging from 14.95 oz. to 45.95 for 16 oz. How about Grape Seed Oil, is it cheaper? An Internet search for pure medicinal grape seed extract resulted in cost ranging from 9.95 for 3.5 oz. to 22.50 for 16 oz. You can always find cheaper oils, but it usually means you are getting inferior grade oils with contaminates or those thinned with additives.  Here is a link to those products that I use and recommend for use in fighting severe hoof infections. I have spent the better part of ten years developing these products to be safe and highly effective. So the next time someone post a comment suggesting you use an oil for hoof infections in place of those products developed for treating hoof infections, consider whether it truly is more cost effective. After all it is the health of your horse that is at stake.

About the Author: 
Keith "KC" La Pierre APF, RJF, CF, MIAEP has been a farrier for more than 30 years. KC is the co-founder of the Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry. KC teaches and lectures on Applied Equine Podiatry through out the world. KC has developed and introduced dozens of innovative theories, methods, and products that continue to improve the quality of life of the horse. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Frog Function?

How important is the Frog and what's it supposed to do anyway? 

Whether you are a hoof care professional or a concerned horse owner this simple question is probably one that has come up often. With over 30 years as a professional farrier, now teaching both in the states and abroad you would think that I would find that those involved in caring for the horse's hoof would have the answers to these questions and that there would be agreement in how it were treated. That's what you would think right? But for reasons that sometimes allude me that is not the case. 

The importance of the frog and its function will depend largely on your perspective and your level of understanding of hoof function. Having studied hoof/foot function for the better part of 30 years from the perspective of; what is foot function with and without the constraints of horseshoe? When I say that I have dissected thousands of frogs you may experience flash backs of your time spent in high school biology class and recall the smell of formaldehyde. That's not quite how one goes about dissecting the horse's frog. My dissections began with asking questions, simple questions based on commonly accepted theory. What are some of the commonly accepted theories you ask? 
  • The frog is a pump aiding in circulation
  • The frog aids in traction because of its unique triangular shape
  • The frog is a shock absorbed because it is softer than the hoof wall and more rubber like.
  • The frog works with the digital cushion to help in foot expansion to aid in circulation
Please take note that I qualified the question with the word "theories". Theory is simply a hypothesis or an assumption based only partially on fact. I believe that the reason we have not seen much research done on the function of the frog is because the theories on hoof function are vague and to simplistic. I have stated it hundreds of times, "The greatest problem facing today's farrier is their complacency with simplicity." 
I will admit that frog function in of itself can be simply explained, this provided you have a working knowledge of the hoof function model it relates to. If for example your foot function model is based on circulation, then the frogs primary function will likely involve aiding in circulation. If your model is based on shock absorbency, then the primary function will be shock dissipation. You get the drift. 
When I first asked the question; what is the frog's function? I was in the midst of investigating hoof function. I was never satisfied with the simplistic hoof function theories I was asked to accept. I have a tendency to challenge conventional thinking and the way I challenge it is by asking very simple questions. These questions were always based on a definition I learned while working as an assistant to Master Blacksmith Paul Spaulding of the Cooperstown Farmers Museum in upstate New York some twenty years ago. The definition is Structure + Function = Performance (S + F = P).
Armed with this definition I began to question conventional and sometimes the not so conventional hoof theories of the day. 

My line of questioning was simple. Here are a few examples of such questions:
  1. If the frog is meant to be a pump why is it shaped like a triangle, why not more like a half sphere or pad?
  2. If the frog is meant to be a pump then why does the frog spine exist, a dense shark fin like appendage that  resides below and behind the DDFT? 
  3. If the frog is meant to aid in expansion then why in the healthy foot is the frog spine denser than the surrounding frog horn? 

Applying the definition to the frog and each of the structures of the foot allowed for the development of the "Suspension Theory of Hoof Dynamics", a comprehensive foot function theory. So what is the function of the frog? In my humble opinion it is the primary vehicle for the deliver of stimulus to the caudal (back) aspect of the foot, this allowing for the correct distribution of energies to the ungular cartilages. The Frog's shape and the shape of the frog stay (V in sole) protect the coffin joint and P3 from excessive torque created at impact by allowing for the correct function of the ungular cartilages. The functions of the frog are many, but can be defined as:
  • "Support"; supporting physiological function by acting as a vehicle for the delivery of stimulus to the caudal foot (energy management).
  • "Protection"; by aiding in the distribution of energies created by the stride.

To learn more about the Suspension Theory of Hoof Dynamics and Frog function visit our website at 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Hot Shoeing, Hot Foot?

Recent discussions over the concerns of hot shoeing brought to memory a simple pilot study conducted on hoof branding done back in 2005. The study was conducted at the request of Stolen Horse International an organization that works tirelessly to help horse owners protect their horses from theft and to aid in the recovery of those that have been abducted.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Seedy Toe Video presentation

Here is a video presentation on seedy toe. 

For those of you that did not make it to the 2007 IHS I have posted a video of the power point I presented during the general session. You and pause on any slide. I regret that two of the videos that were in this presentation are not available, but I think you will enjoy it just the same. The research paper for this presentation: " Lesions associated with atypical black hole seedy toe in the equine foot" was published in the European Farriers Journal in April of 2007 and an abstract of the paper was published in the AFJ in April of 2007.

Seedy Toe, "The Black Hole"

Some recent and not so recent research has prompted my posting this article. Over the past two decades horseshoe manufactures have been inadvertently setting trends that could be proving to be detrimental to the health of the horses hoof. You read that right: trends set by horseshoe manufacturers could be having a profound ill effect on today's horse. Not through their production of horseshoes, but rather by the style of shoes that they produce.
Thinking back to when I began as a farrier over 30 years ago, I can remember making my weekly pilgrimage to the local farriers supply store to purchase the required horseshoe inventory to stock my shoeing truck for the week. I would calculate the number of pairs and the sizes I would need for the coming weeks' work. As my business increased, it became more difficult finding the time to make those weekly trips, and I soon found myself buying inventory for the month.
Establishing a horseshoe inventory was pretty straightforward. I, like most farriers at that time, would buy fullered, punched keg shoes by the case, in the most common sizes 00, 0, 1, 2, 3. The term keg shoe defines the most common of machine made horseshoes. The keg shoe comes in a generic oval shape and was called the "keg shoe" because they were originally shipped in kegs (barrels). This type of shoe almost always needed to be shaped to fit the hind or front foot of the horse. All too often the hurried farrier simply would spread, or close the shoe to fit a foot, and then shape the foot to the shoe., rather than the shoe to the foot.
This practice was likely the first in the beginning of what would become trend, started by the type of shoe that was available from a shoe manufacture. It was the shape of the early manufactured keg shoes where it all began, trend setting.
As new manufacturing techniques developed, manufactures began producing shoes in a variety of new shapes. The first new style shoes to be offered were front and hind pattern shoes which came out of Europe. American farriers who at the time were taking flack for setting the trend of long toe and low heels, this said to help increase stride, were quick to embrace this convenient way of addressing breakover. This was the beginning of a new trend, one that may prove to be just as damaging to today's horse as long toes and under run heels.
It was the hind pattern shoe that really changed things. The hind pattern shoe was the first readily available shoe to be offered with a square toe. Quickly manufacturers introduced hind shoes with ready-made side clips, and front shoes with toe clips. The front shoe pattern was often rounder than the standard keg shoe that many of the farriers were using at the time. This may have been why some farriers began using hind patterns on the fronts of the horse; this proving to be a simple way of providing a square toe to the front foot, making fitting easier.
Twenty years ago, the square toed horseshoe, was more often viewed as a remedial or corrective type horseshoe. It was not often used as a keg shoe. Prior to being able to purchase the square-toed shoe, the square toe needed to be forged.
Over about a ten year period pattern shoes flooded the market.
American based companies began producing front pattern shoes that were not as round as the European type pattern shoes. These new patterns more closely resembled the traditional keg shoe. With increase in production came price reductions, making it more economical to purchase clipped shoes, rather than forging them. In the mid nineties Eventer-type shoes were introduced. These pattern shoes had a rolled cross section, claiming to aid in breakover, they also came in front and hind patterns.
About the mid nineties, we saw increase in the use of the Natural Balance Shoe (NBS), which was fashioned after the footprint of the feral horse. It too had a square toe and came in front and hind patterns. Each time a new shoe was introduced, it was accompanied by claims that the shoe aided breakover, and / or provided needed heel support. This is still true today, of most newly developed horseshoes.
So where is all this going?
To the point, shoe manufacturers have been setting trends that influence the way the farrier addresses the foot.
I have compiled research on a little understood malady that affects many of today's horses, the black hole seedy toe.
The research began in 2001, the early years of the running of our school the Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry, since which time we have examined over 1200 hoof cadaver specimens. We have observed a dramatic increase in the occurrence of black hole-type seedy toe. Investigation has now provided evidence that suggest that various trimming and shoeing trends could be the one cause for the increase in the incidence of this malady. Follow the link provided to read this in depth study of the black hole seedy toe.  Link  Reference: Lesions associated with atypical black hole seedy toe in the equine foot, 2007 

Typical black hole at toe
Close-up of typical black hole lesion

Confirmed Mass 

(A) shows inclusion in dermis. (B) shows epidermal mass on inner wall  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lower Back Pain?


It's been nearly 30 years that I have been climbing under horses for a living, and I am happy to say that I don't suffer from back issues. So why the post title? Well I thought that the title would catch the attention of more of you.
The truth is that I do get lower back pain now and again, but I have come to realize that it is actually kidney pain. No, I don't have kidney disease.
What I do have are bad habits, and the worst habit I have is that ignoring the signs. What signs am I talking about? The signs that point to me being dehydrated, the signs that say I've had to much caffeine, and the signs that say I haven't had enough sleep.

Follow this link for more information on avoiding kidney pain.

10 Common Habits that Damage Your Kidneys

Do you do CPD? Continued Profesional Development

Time is money, and in today's fast paced world many are finding it difficult to justify parting with either money or time. In the world of hoof care this has never been more true. Whenever the economy suffers it is those industries that serve the nonessential that are hit most and we have to face the truth, horses are no longer essential to survival for most. Ouch, that hurts. The horse is essential to those of us that make our living caring for them. But the facts remain, the horse industry pulls harder on its purse strings than many other industries when times are tough. As a result, as professional care providers we are forced to work more hours, do more horses, and spend less time away doing things that are not putting money in the bank. Where does continuing education fit in? A few years ago I was asked by the publisher of the American Farrier Journal to comment on how our graduates, and our school was coping with the down turned economy. Here is the short response I sent them.

Implementing Aggressive Business Strategies

In an effort to ride out the current economy, we have had to integrate into our curriculum, new education on strong, ethical business practices and professional communication. To better support our graduates and students we succeeded in becoming an approved provider of continuing education for the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. Our programs represent from 15 to 60 hours of continuing education. Our new programs include on-line modules on team building and communication.

KC La Pierre lectures at 2006 IHS Ohio

It has become clear that today's horse owner is more likely to be proactive in their approach to hoof care, and as a result actively seek out those hoof care providers that participate in continuing education. At the Institute we actively promote those graduates that meet the Institute's yearly CPD requirement of (40 hours). Promotion consists of web site promotion, articles distribution, presence at major equine events worldwide and television exposure.

We have found that those graduates that have developed the communication skills necessary to work closely with veterinarians are excelling in business, even during this economic turmoil.

I believe it can be summed up by saying that today's hoof care provider has to have good communication skills, and the knowledge to support those skills. In today's economy the hoof care provider needs to be a hoof care professional that cannot only talk the talk, but also walk the walk; today's horse owner demands it. 
Teaching anatomy (Cambridge University, UK 2003)

Remember ... Sound Reasoning - Sound Horses 


Having seen a recent post on face book in a popular farrier group asking what farriers did for CPD inspired me to write this blog post. 
Comments in that group ranged from ride along with vets and more experienced farriers to attending conferences. But what I found interesting was that there was no cohesiveness to those post. Most of the farriers that were doing ride alongs were relatively inexperienced and could spend the time, as they did not have a huge demanding clientele. Conference attendance did not appear to be yearly, and workshop or clinic attendance was limited to "when there is one close enough". 
It remains that CPD is not a requirement for the farrier, and that is okay. Why is that okay? When CPD is not a requirement those that seek out CPD are those that benefit most from it. Continuing Professional Development is not simply about staying current, it is about staying ahead. 
That being said, it is fact that attendance to many of the farrier and veterinary conference has shown huge declines in recent years. Is it simply the economy? It could be, but it may also be that potential attendees are not convinced that what conferences offer for CPD has value. CPD needs to offer the kind of information that will help the attendee help more horses, offer ideas that will ultimately save the attendee time and money. CPD must be viewed as a tool that will pay for itself in the long run. Those that do offer CPD are competing for the attendees time and money. There is only so much of either available to the prospective attendee. There are hundreds of CPD opportunities available to today's farrier, but which one too choose? That really comes down to the goals they set for themselves. 
Are you looking to expand on your knowledge of anatomy or bio mechanics, improve your tools skills, or perhaps your communication skills ? Some farriers simply enjoy the social aspect of the event, still others go with specific questions in mind that they seek answers for. What ever the reason is for attending a conference or workshop, choose one that speaks to your individual needs. Don't simply go with the flow because its easier to move with the crowd than to stay ahead of it. Spend your time and money wisely, it is no longer a matter of simply checking the attendance box. Your clients are well educated and you need to be as well. 

We are upping the number of CPD offerings to our graduates, farriers, and veterinarians. There will be over 12 courses and workshops offered in the USA in 2015 and 8 offered abroad. We are adding several "Balance" workshops to our calendar this year, one day workshops offered to certified farriers, DAEP, and Veterinarians. In this course emphasis is placed on ways to achieve consistent and repeatable dynamic balance of the hoof. 
After nearly 15 years of teaching Applied Equine Podiatry I understand that it is not for everyone, but for those interested in keeping ahead of the curve in this every changing industry adding an AEP workshop to your CPD list may prove to be beneficial. A recent Connecticut court decision involving the practice of podiatry and veterinary medicine stated that Equine Podiatry is an evolution of the Farrier trade, are you game for change?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Veterinary Equine Podiatry Group

Newly formed group looks to organize and define Equine Podiatry as it refers to the Veterinary Practices.
According to VEPG chairman Mark Silverman, MS, DVM of Sport Horse Veterinary Practice in Rancho Santa Fe, California, the group exists for the express purpose of setting a standard for the qualifications and role of a veterinary equine podiatrist. 
Unlike other countries, in the United States each state is responsible for establishing its own veterinary practice laws and qualifications. There have been many attempts to regulate farriers through state veterinary regulation. Is that the goal of this group? I personally think developing a board certification for Equine Podiatry is a good idea, But the facts may show that demand will out weigh the number of veterinarians willing to become board certified. Our horses do deserve to have the best podiatry care available, but when the number of horses needing help out number the available care providers, what then? As it is there are very few veterinarians that want to do farrier work. I think the greater need is for education at the the farrier level, education that will allow the farrier and veterinarian to work together.  Follow this link for a more information.