It is safe to say that hoof cracks have been with horses ever since they began to run. It is also safe to say that man has been attempting to repair these cracks since horses were domesticated for work.
Cracks come in all sizes, shapes and lengths and there are many products and techniques that are being marketed today. And as many of you get drawn into these marketing schemes, I to did when I first started to develop a passion for the art of hoof repair.
In the late 1970's when working as an apprentice machinist at night and helping some farriers during the day I to became fascinated by the art of Hoof Repair. The fact was that everyone felt we needed a product that would stick to the hoof and you could do miracles. Young and ambitious off I went in search for the wonder putty. After contacting almost every adhesive manufacture in the country and learning about epoxies, urethanes, fiberglass, crazy glue's, acrylics etc. I said to myself "I still don't have any knowledge on Hoof Repair". So I attempted to hunt down all the hoof repair experts that I could find in an effort to see what knowledge they may share.
Well, I located a half a dozen, a couple in Canada the rest in the States. Each one had their own technique i.e. screws, staples, wire stitches, pin with a horseshoe nail. They to had their own set of challenges in the art of hoof repair on achieving continual success within their own techniques. So I decided to research and develop my own technique.
So off I went in search for horses with cracked hooves to try to master the art of Hoof Repair. Fortunately, many trainers gave me the opportunity to experiment on their injured horse, because the last resort back then was time off. The first couple horse hooves I patched seemed ok for the first few days but their would always be a challenge, rather a patch fell off in a race, or the hoof come up sore a few days later. I didn't take long to find out that there are many products out on the market that will adhere to the hoof wall with proper preparation. In time, I learned how to prep the hoof where the materials stayed adhered to the hoof and many times the hoof still didn't come sound.
Then it became my desire to study and research hoof repair as a science and master a technique not as a "patcher" but a technique worthy to be called a professional specialist in the Art of Hoof Repair.
Hoof Repair in the sense of repairing damaged walls so we can nail a shoe on properly is about hoof preparation and product application.
Hoof Repair is about quartercracks with depth into the sensitive laminae, hoof wall separations, hoof bar cracks, coronary band abscess, making the repair giving the horse the ability to perform within several days, if not that day!
The art of hoof repair is about understanding the Hoof Anatomy and the Dynamics of the Hoof. Understanding how to evaluate injuries, cause and the extent of damage to valued or non-valued anatomy. What part concussion will play to the injury site after the repair? How to reconstruct and to know what we can't reconstruct with certain injuries, these are a few thoughts that run through my evaluations while providing a service.
Occasionally, I make the statement to my clients that I can use "Crazy Glue" to repair the injury to the Hoof, it may not look as pretty, it may need touched up in a few weeks, but the end result is the same. Today there are many products on the market that are easier to work with than when I started and I'm thankful for them but I never had one ounce of success until I started with the passion to understand the Hoof Anatomy and the Dynamics of the Hoof.
Today after 22 years of a dedicated passion in the Art of Hoof Repair one can relate it to surgery; you evaluate, identify root cause, open up, correct, reconstruct and drive on.
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