By: Alexandra Hamilton
When horse show season ends, continuing education season begins!
This October, thirty farriers and equine professionals gathered in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island for an inaugural “Super Clinic.” This clinic consisted of a 2-day tool building clinic with Chad Lauson (Lausen Farrier Tools) of Strathmore, Alberta; an evening workshop about how to read radiographs (x-rays) presented by Dr. Kaitlin McDonald DVM of Victoria, BC; and a one-day clinic on utilizing “Hoof Beat” technology (Langley, BC) and building/applying wooden clogs delivered by Kim Lacey CJF DIPWCF of Sylvan Lake Alberta.
During the tool-building workshop, a smaller group of farriers worked with Chad Lausen to learn how to build anvil blocks, hot fit tongs, and fullers. This hands-on work was supplemented by several business lectures, during which Chad instilled the importance of using business acumen and smart goals to plan for the future in a physically-demanding industry.
Dr. Kaitlin McDonald’s evening lecture on radiographs provided excellent instruction on how to interpret x-ray images and how farriers can use this information to achieve short and long-term goals for promoting and maintaining health and soundness. Kaitlin taught participants how radiographs are taken; how different stances, angles, and focus points can affect images; and how different anomalies can present in the findings. A team quiz at the end put the group’s knowledge to the test!
The final day started with an introduction to Source for Horse’s “Hoof Beat” technology by Kim Lacey CJF DIPWCF. Hoof Beat uses sensors attached to the hoof wall to track movement at a variety of gaits and converts this data into graphed measurements. This technology gives farriers precise information on how the horse travels to help determine the best trimming approach and shoeing package for each horse. Hoof Beat was used before and after the trimming and shoeing of a gaited horse to demonstrate the utility of this technology. Dr. Kaitlin McDonald returned to provide pre-and post-farriery radiographs to build upon the lessons of the night before.
In the afternoon of the final day, Kim Lacey and Dr. Kaitlin McDonald collaborated to use wooden clog shoes to treat a horse in an active state of founder. Kim demonstrated how to build and apply custom wooden clogs covered by casts. Radiographs monitored the rotation of the coffin bone prior to and after applying this treatment. The crowd was delighted to see the immediate comfort that the clogs brought to the lovely demo horse (“Macho”) and learned about follow-up protocol (in this case, it is anticipated that one more cycle of clogs will be followed by several cycles of supportive steel shoes as Macho heals).
Although continuing education is not mandatory for farriers, many farriers seek out professional development opportunities on their weekends and evenings in order to provide the best service possible to their clientele. The farriers in attendance at the Super Clinic are these kind of professionals, with participants travelling to the event from across British Columbia, Alberta, and even England!
This event was made possible with support from the Western Canadian Farriers Association. For information on continuing education events in your area please visit www.wcfa.ca.