Veterinarians and farriers must work as a team to manage a horse’s athletic soundness and performance. The collaborative dynamic between veterinarian and farrier is important to ensuring a horse remains sound and receives the best possible hoof care. William Moyer, DVM, of Texas A&M University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, and Harry Werner, VMD, of Werner Equine in Connecticut, explored this topic during the in-depth Foot from Every Angle seminar at the 2012American Association of Equine Practitioners’ (AAEP) Convention, held Dec. 1-5 in Anaheim, Calif.
Moyer brought to the discussion nearly 40 years of practical veterinary experience along with a background in shoeing prior to veterinary school; similarly, Werner has decades of practical experience in caring for horse feet. Werner suggested, "A partnership with a farrier is important to the health and welfare of the horse, particularly if a veterinarian doesn’t possess the necessary skill set to deliver competent hoof care." In addition, he remarked that the high incidence of human orthopedic injuries associated with farrier work underscores the importance of hiring a farrier who is also well-versed in this skill set.
Moyer noted that farriers can work on horses in the United States without certification, whereas in the U.K. they must complete a four-year apprenticeship. Also in America shoeing schools are not regulated, he explained, and many farriers are self-taught. "One organization, the American Association of Professional Farriers, has made a positive contribution by requiring continuing education credits of its members," he said.