Tag Archives: Equine Podiatry

Simply Healthy Hooves: Natural Hoof Care

The Bare Facts

On the 8th April Simply Healthy Hooves and Finchale View RS organised an interesting afternoon course for our clients and anyone interested in Natural Hoof Care,  together with farrier Jeff Mordey at the Finchale View Riding School in Leamside, Durham.

The afternoon started with some practical lectures from Paul Proctor and Jeff, focusing on the anatomy of the hoof, explaining the benefits of barefoot trimming and giving a step by step approach for an easy transition to get your horse barefoot in a healthy way.

victor hoof 1

Barefoot Hoof TRANSITION

After a short tea break it was time for our clients to get more hands-on. Thomas and Cougar were available as our volunteering horses, so everybody could see the anatomy of the hoof in real life and learn how easy the day to day care of a barefoot horse can be.

By the end of the afternoon the feet of Thomas and Cougar were very shiny and well polished because everybody had a go with the hoof care following instructions from Paul!

Jeff gave some great demonstrations of barefoot trimming, showing what the foot should look like for the horse to move as naturally as possible.

There were also different kinds of boots on display, so everyone could get a feel for what’s available nowadays. In addition, Paul used some specimen hooves to show the cross section of the foot and carried out some x-rays on Thomas and Cougar so we could see the alignment of the bones inside their hooves.

horse hoof transition-ridden

It was great to see everybody so excited about learning more about the subject and Paul, Jeff and the Simply Horses team had their hands full with answering all the questions.

In conclusion it was a very interesting afternoon, and everybody went home with a little more knowledge than they arrived with and lots of things to think about.

Mariet Klomp ( Simply Horses Vet Clinic)

The EasyShoe a Way To Shoe The Barefoot Horse

On the 19th February Simply Horses Vet clinic will be hosting the first live demonstration in the UK of the brand new revolutionary Easy Shoe from easy care.
A group of 20 local farriers will be having a practical demonstration on how to nail and glue these innovative shoes. At long last we have a shoe that is flexible and good for the hoof, for those horses we cannot boot or are unable to go totally barefoot for whatever reason.
We will be doing an online webinar / video after the event if anyone is interested.
For more information contact the clinic on easyshoe @ eq9vet.com
A new dawn in shoeing horses, at last a flexible shoe that allows the hoof to move, especially the heels so essential for good hoof function.

Introductory Video


Simply horses find out about farriery in Italy

How the Italians do it!

As an Italian vet working in the UK there are many similarities with how farriery works.  In Italy a farrier is called a Maniscalco (which is derived from the words ‘mare’ as in horse and ‘shall’ meaning duty/responsibility).  Incidentially, the English word ‘marshal’ derives from the German words ‘marah’ (horse) and schalh (servant) – meaning who is responsible for taking care of horses.

In Italy farriers can train at local level or train via military farrier colleges which are now open to the public rather than just military.  It takes 2-3 years of both theory and practical work (apprenticeship) before an Italian farrier is qualified to European standards.    However, there are other shorter courses for farriers in Italy but these do not give qualifications for working outside Italy.  Unfortunately, there are also people who call themselves farriers, who have learnt the ‘skills’ from their fathers, ie family businesses carried down.  Whilst they may have experience they have no recognised qualification.


Recently, in Italy barefoot farriery has become popular resulting in the craft of farriery gaining new impetus.  Obviously, barefoot farriery requires learning new techniques and farriers have had to adapt and learn these new techniques.



As in the UK Italian farriers work closely with owners (who know the type of work the horse is required to do) and vets (who, for example, will ensure the appropriate measures are undertaken when a horse has joint problems, etc).


At equestrian sporting events in Italy a farrier would be present, along with vets and first aid personnel for people.

Simply Horses Laminitis research update

Vets have announced plans to conduct a clinical trial evaluating an experimental drug that has shown promise in treating horses stricken with the debilitating hoof disease laminitis.

They have treated four horses suffering from laminitis with the investigational anti-inflammatory drug so far. They said that one horse experienced remission that has lasted for more than a year, and three others have shown some improvement. A paper on the first laminitis case has been accepted for publication by the peer-reviewed Journal of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia.

Alonso Guedes, DVM, MS, PhD, Dipl. ACVA, an assistant professor at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), School of Veterinary Medicine, plans to begin the clinical trial to assess the drug’s safety and establish a tolerable dose in the spring. Further clinical trials would be needed to establish the drug’s effectiveness as a laminitis treatment.

The experimental compound, known as t-TUCB, belongs to a group of anti-inflammatory compounds called sEH (soluble epoxide hydrolases) inhibitors. It stems from a discovery made more than 40 years ago by UC Davis entomology professor Bruce Hammock, PhD, while doing basic insect biology research. He and colleagues have identified a group of anti-inflammatory compounds, including the sEH inhibitors, that have proven to be effective in relieving inflammatory discomfort and pain related to nervous system disorders in mice and rats. Their work has been published in scientific journals including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

Guedes noted that the safe management of laminitis-related pain is one of the biggest challenges for equine veterinarians. Often, euthanasia is the only humane alternative for alleviating pain and suffering in horses afflicted with the condition. Consequently, the survival rate for laminitis is estimated to be only 25%. Very few surviving horses return to their previous levels of activity, and laminitis often reappears.

Funding was provided by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the UC Davis Center for Equine Health.

Long Overdue Equine Post and Update

Hello all I hopefully will start posting more regularly now I am back in reins so to speak 😉 I have been working 3 days per week during the summer at BearlEquine and hope to continue this on a regular part time basis if possible and work holds up.

The practice in Blyth is growing nicely and if any fo you have small animals in the Blyth area we would love to see you at the practice, unashamed plug 😉 the website gives you all the details you need to know, http://www.st-clair-pet-care.com

Planning delays have meant the cat practice is somewhat behind schedule but work is slowly progressing and we will let all you who also have cats know whem we should be opeing this. In a strange way cats and horses go together. Sarah has just completed and passed her GP certificate in Feline Medicine. The early site can be seen at http://www.simplycats.net

Ramblings from a life in Vet Practice…

Hi and I apologise once again to my mother and cat Merlin for the delay on posting. At least I know I have 2 individuals whom read my ramblings on the internet about all things veterinary 😉

Last weekend I was on call again 2nd weekend of 3 and spent 5 hours in the car on Saturday and travelled some 250 miles during the day. However the best was yet to come!! The call came in @ 10pm just as I was starting to relax for a mare foaling. Now it is a veterinary urban myth that if the mare has not foaled by the time the vet arrives it tends to be an epic encounter. However this mare had suddenly started foaling and something long and tubular was hanging from its vulva. On close questioning this was almost certainly intestine and thus the mare was most unlikely to survive. On arriving as quickly as I could, I confirmed my suspicions that this was actually large bowel hanging from the mare due a larger rupture around the cervix and that she would have to be destroyed unfortunately. However we needed to see if we could save the foal. I administered a high dose of painkillers and sedation to the mare and attempted to foal her. However the foals head and both front legs were bent backwards and despite straightening them we could not get the mare foaled normally. Thus an emergency standing caesarean was carried out and a very flat, weak filly was produced which I thought had little chance of survival.

The filly was removed for immediate resuscitation and the harrowing job of putting the mare to sleep was carried out. This was a really brave well behaved mare with a lovely kind owner and everyone involved was deeply upset ;-(

By this time the foal had recovered remarkably well and yet despite this miracle seemed unable to stand. On close examination she was found to have severe bilateral carpal contracture. This is a rare deformity of the front legs where the carpi (knees) are fixed in a flexed position and unable toe be moved even after surgery. Due to the hopeless prognosis it was decided to put the foal to sleep also.

Thus after some 4 hours work and care based on over 26 years in practice I ended up with a dead mare and foal!! No one really tells you about this in vet school and you start to understand why vets have a very high suicide rate especially in new graduates. It can be in many cases a very rewarding but harrowing lonely job in large animal practice.

However 2 days later I did a mare and foal check on a delightful Appaloosa filly foal and as they say life goes on 😉

Then to continue this vein of depression I saw my first case of grass sickness on Wednesday night and that mare was put down also! A 5 year old the best mare on the farm! This particular farm has had grass sickness in the past but not on this field, and not on the premises for 3 years!! Classical symptoms fine body tremor low grade colic signs but pulse rate of 75 beats per minute, very hard cannon ball faeces, low grade drooling from the mouth, reduced gut sounds and a foul smelling breath. Diagnosis can be challenging in some cases but was straightforward here. Due to the mares pain and distress she was put to sleep.

I hope you realise I have had a bad few days and things will get better I hope 😉