Providing Hoof Care in Developing Countries

Providing owners of working equids with both hoof care and education can be challenging. One farrier shares his tips.
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What does the three-day eventer leaping over car-sized hurdles in Virginia have in common with the donkey hauling goods to market in Ethiopia? They both need hoof care to stay sound and productive in their respective jobs.

The donkey’s cargo, however, might be his owner’s sole source of income, so soundness becomes especially crucial to a family’s livelihood. But owners of working equids in poor communities don’t have access to the quality farriery (if they can find any at all) that owners of horses in developed countries do. And the challenges in trying to provide them with hoof care and education are many.

“The approach to improving hoof care is difficult, as it not only involves care for the animals while there, but instruction of the local populace in the importance of good farriery, and also how to implement it in a very basic manner,” explained Stephen O’Grady, DVM, MRCVS, of Virginia Therapeutic Farriery, in Keswick.

O’Grady, who has been involved with equitarian projects all over the world, described ways to teach proper hoof trimming and shoeing to owners of working equids in a presentation at the 2015 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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