Horse and pony - site index.Horse chat message boards.Horse breeds, types and breeding gallery.Search for horse information on Equiworld.Horse information and equestrian news horse and pony magazine.Horse web links.  

Tufts University Vet School Forum Will Compare Risks and Benefits of Barefoot Hoofcare Methods

North Grafton, Massachusetts (USA) -- Tufts University's School of Veterinary Medicine's Hospital for Large Animals has joined forces with the Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy to prepare a forum that will be the first of its kind in the world: "HOOFCARE FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM: Exploring the Strasser Method." Medical, ethical, practical, and philosophical aspects of hoofcare choices will be examined.

On May 4-5, 2002, an expert panel of veterinarians and farriers, chaired by Dr. Carl Kirker-Head of Tufts, will discuss and evaluate information presented at the symposium by Dr. Hiltrud Strasser, a German veterinarian, plus many other hoofcare researchers and practitioners. Farriers, veterinarians, researchers and hoofcare specialists are invited to attend as audience participants.

Panelists include (in addition to Strasser and Kirker-Head) farrier/veterinarian Tia Nelson of Montana, who is a specialist in the four-point style of barefoot trimming, and Judith Shoemaker of Pennsylvania, an outspoken holistic practitioner who specializes in rehabilitation of sport horses, often using "radical-breakover" shoeing to relieve lameness or hoof imbalance.

On the farrier side of the panel is farrier/author Henry Heymering of Maryland, chairman of the Guild of Professional Farriers, who is known for his historical research and thought-provoking articles on hoof function, and Michael Wildenstein, resident farrier and instructor at Cornell University's vet school, a specialist in the care of lame horses
who has worked extensively in Europe.

A special panelist added recently is farrier Craig Trnka of New Mexico, a former world champion farrier who was recently elected president of the American Farrier's Association and who will speak on behalf of the nation's largest farrier organization.

Horse owners, veterinarians and farriers in attendance will be involved in discussions. Horses successfully rehabilitated by Strasser practitioners in New England will be shown, if possible, and Strasser will demonstrate the basic techniques of her trim.

Dr Hiltrud Strasser of Germany and student at a recent US hoof trimming seminar for horse owners. (Photo credit: Hoofcare & Lameness

By examining options, and participating in open discussions, the panel will strive to 'debunk the myths' of both traditional and alternative hoofcare, with special attention to navicular disease and laminitis.

The involvement of the Center for Animals and Public Policy will allow examination of the broader implications charging that Strasser's method may constitute animal abuse or cause unnecessary pain and suffering for some horses.

In England, concern about harm to horses by Strasser devotees has resulted in public warnings from the International League for the Protection of Horses, Farriers Registration Council, Worshipful Company of Farriers, Laminitis Trust, and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

On the other side of the issues, Strasser and other advocates claim that traditional hoofcare, horse management, and shoeing practices are damaging to horse health. Tufts' Center for Animals and Public Policy is a leading institute for the study of animal welfare and has been involved in key studies related to the public's perceptions of cruelty to animals in different situations.

Strasser's system is only one of several shoeless management systems currently being promoted in America. The Tufts forum will conduit information to the entire horse world about both the possible benefits and complications of new philosophies in natural horse management and hoofcare.

To learn more about the conference and to read background information on the difference between Strasser's system and traditional farriery-based hoofcare, visit

For registration information, visit

Phone (508) 887-4723
Fax (508) 887-4539
Contact: Susan Brogan Email

article courtesy of Hoofcare & Lameness: The "Feet First" Equine Science Journal and Hoofcare Online: free educational e-letters for farriers, veterinarians, therapists and horse owners and horse world's home page for hoofcare information


Find out more, visit the links page or find answers on the message board.