100 Years of Horse Health Care
Standing on the fresh field of a brand new century, we look eagerly-if sometimes cautiously-toward the horizon and the unknown future awaiting us. We hope that, in the months and years to come, we will solve problems long puzzled over and finish
Standing on the fresh field of a brand new century, we look eagerly-if sometimes cautiously-toward the horizon and the unknown future awaiting us. We hope that, in the months and years to come, we will solve problems long puzzled over and finish battles long fought. We look, in short, at all that is left to do, all that we have yet to accomplish.
But before we take up our loads for the work ahead, let’s take time to appreciate just how far we’ve already come. Let’s gaze backward for a time and smile with satisfaction at the incredible feats accomplished in the past 100 years. What better place for a horse lover to look than at the world of equine health care…
In The Beginning
One hundred years ago, most of America’s horses were revered not for their ability to jump or race or for their sheer beauty, but for their truly utilitarian horse power. They were beasts of burden-and they were as important and integral to human life as were the sun and rain. As such, horses were populous, and their good health essential.
In 1905, there were 17 million horses in the country, says Henry Heymering, CJF, RMF, president of the Guild of Professional Farriers. By 1915, the equine population had surpassed 20 million. Those early years of the century were the horse’s heyday. While techniques and tools were certainly primitive by today’s standards, the vital importance of equine care was never questioned: Understanding horse health was mandatory for every farmer and veterinarian in the country.
Then came the industrial revolution and the combustion engine. Automated ma-chines, from cars to tractors, took over the horse’s central role. Equine populations declined. By 1960, numbers had dropped dramatically, to between one and three million (depending on the
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