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Professional Farrier Organization Issues Warning To Horse Owners

Strasser Hoof Trim Method Far Too Risky To Recommend, Says Guild President Henry Heymering

WASHINGTON DC-In response to an anti-traditional hoofcare program advocated by German veterinarian Hiltrud Strasser, the Guild of Professional Farriers, an organization of advanced-level professional full-time farriers, is the first US horse health organization to caution horseowners about this program for the well-being of their horses.

"Strasser hoofcare" is currently being promoted in the United States and Canada through a network of seminars and via Internet discussion groups.
Guild president Henry Heymering issued a multiple-point statement in June outlining the potential dangers of the Strasser program, which is built on a naturalistic approach to horse management, but with unorthodox trimming of the feet.

Heymering was one of six professional farriers and veterinarians selected to discuss her program with Dr. Strasser at a formal presentation hosted by Tufts University College of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton, Massachusetts May 4-5, 2002. In preparation for this, Heymering undertook a month-long investigation of the Strasser system by reading her books, communicating with her followers, and trying, in vain, to find sound useable horses that had benefited from her methods. "I found some sound horses that were being trimmed with some of her points selectively in mind," Heymering concluded, "I saw far more evidence of failures than of successes."

The Strasser hoof trimming method has been the subject of equine welfare warnings in Great Britain from organizations such as the International League for the Protection of Horses, the Worshipful Company of Farriers, the Farriers Registration Council, and the Laminitis Clinic. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals became involved in one case where a horse was euthanized following unsuccessful trimming by a Strasser follower.

Heymering agrees with several points of the Strasser program, stating, "Barefoot is an ideal state for horses who can perform safely and soundly without shoes. I also agree that maximum turnout time is desirable for all horses. My disagreement with her method comes in the severity of the trim and the radical intentional misaligning of the hoof capsule compared to current professional farriery standards."

Heymering is most concerned that not only may the extreme trimming technique be dangerous, but that it is made considerably more dangerous when done by untrained owners or even Strasser-certified trimmers, if they have less that three or four years of experience applying the method.

The Guild president's assessment is published in its entirety on the Internet. Anyone wishing to read the statement may do so at the website; click on "press releases".

ABOUT HENRY HEYMERING: Henry Heymering is a farrier with 29 years of experience trimming and shoeing horses. He was the founder of the American Farriers Journal and is the author of two books: On the Horse's Foot, a bibliography of farrier literature from Roman times to the present, and Hoof Care for Horses. He attended Clark University, is an American Farrier's Association certified journeyman farrier, and also a Registered Master Farrier with the Guild of Professional Farriers. Heymering has ridden horses for more than 40 years and currently rides and trains horses in Frederick, Maryland, where he operates his full-time farrier practice.



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