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Stromsholm Clinic: Olympic Farriers

Date: 23rd April 2016

The first of a series of “unique CPD clinics” was held at the well-equipped Haydn Price forge near Usk, South Wales. An intimate group of just 12 farriers had secured a place on what was to be an information packed day.


Following a concise and warm welcome from Managing Director Carl Bettison, Jim Blurton began with an insightful lecture discussing the advantages and disadvantages of running a multi-farrier practise in relation to the results of the FRC (2011) survey conducted with horse owners. Plenty of thought-provoking considerations were provided in the context of running a farriery business efficiently, maximising profit and satisfying the different needs of the equine client.


Haydn Price followed with an account of his recent work at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) within the Structure and Motion Lab. Haydn has been examining the effects of different types of hoof packing – and their ‘shore’ ratings – on hoof deformation. Consequently, the impact in the range of motion in the limb and the potential for the application of his findings in relation to a “targeted approach to injury sites” has been noted.


Jim led in the practical demonstrations with two methods of a vertical hoof crack repair on a cadaver limb; one with ‘stitched’ Imprint Granules and the second with a crack plate, Equilox and screws. The various merits of both were discussed, with the need for different types of crack repair warranted in different situations. The use of a Styrofoam pad to allow the application of Vettec (clear) Hoofpack with a Kerckheart plate was also revealed. Ben Benson followed with a discussion on the different types of crack, how and why they occur, and his practical demonstration of a superficial crack repair; cleaned and prepped with a Dremel and the use of Equilox interwoven with fibres and copper sulphate. 


The Equi-gait analysis system was introduced by Dr Anna Walker, and assisted by Emily Sparkes, from the Structure and Motion Laboratory at the RVC. The application and ease-of-use of the inertia sensor based system was demonstrated in the context of a lameness assessment, carried out on horse referred to Haydn. Equi-gait is able to quantify the movement in a stride cycle, whether in a straight line or on a circle and on soft or hard ground, providing essential objective lameness assessment. This horse was later fitted with an EasyShoe Performance shoe with Equilox; this flexible shoe with integrated frog support “maintains pressure on and around the frog without hampering heel expansion and contraction.”


Haydn demonstrated the use of dentist impression material, mixed with copper sulphate, to the back two thirds of a cadaver foot with a thermoplastic hoof pad and finished with a Jim Blurton Sports Heartbar and Liberty Cu Nails. Carl rounded off the practical aspect of the day with the attachment of an aluminium racing plate with Equilox using a ‘shoe liner’ to give height,  avoid glue on the sole area and relieve sole pressure and finally the Duraheel carbon fibre heel support, fitted with Vettec Adhere, was presented.


Ben completed the day with a discussion on ‘Shoeing for Performance’; an insight into his thought processes and the consideration he gives to his clients and their horses in a given situation. Anatomy was reviewed in the context of its relative roles and the differing needs of the complex structures. The demands of different surfaces, travelling conditions, slip vs grip and the careful and appropriate selection of shoes and subsequent materials was highlighted.


A full and incredibly educational day which aside from demonstrating commercial products available on the market, detailed their best use, real application and various merits. The presentations reviewed farriery theory and provoked thought and insight into different demands and situations both from a practical farriery perspective and also a business one. The day was further embellished by a lovely lunch, plentiful refreshments and the open and relaxed environment offered by the clinicians.


A highly recommended CPD day that you can make your own - ask questions, share experience and get involved – contact Stromsholm for further availability.


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