As I sit and look through my notes and pictures taken at the International Hoof-Care Summit (IHCS), it strikes me that there was not a day, and most likely an hour, that went by during the four day conference that didn’t have some great element to it. From getting to connect with old friends to making new acquaintances to getting to talk with some of the most brilliant vets and farriers in the world, the entire conference was fantastic.
The first day of the conference started with a dissection and anatomy warmup by Mitch Taylor, owner of the Kentucky Horseshoeing School. With the brilliant Dr. Jenny Hagen, they presented on the fetlock joint and how we as farriers can affect it. After several other good lectures, I spent the evening eating supper with “Frodo”, a good friend from school, as well as catching up with Chris and Kelly and Cody Gregory, owners of Heartland Horseshoeing School where “Frodo” and I graduated from.
The evening session, what made the conference for me, was an hour and a half of rotating between tables with top farriers, equine models, and various topics. The first round I listened to Peter Day, farrier at the Royal Veterinary College, talk about low or crushed heels, a problem I deal a lot with in Indiana. Next, Australian farrier and researcher Brian Hampson discussed his research with feral and wild horses and different trim styles that are based on the feral horse’s foot. The third round, an amazing opportunity and what made the entire trip for me, was the chance to talk with English farrier Simon Curtis, a legend in the farrier industry. His table was empty, so I got to sit down with Simon one-on-one and discuss the development of the horse’s foot from birth to one year.
The second and third days had several great and interesting talks, including lectures from Brian Hampson and Simon Curtis. Another fascinating presentation came from Dr. Jenny Hagen. The researcher from Leipzig University in Germany presented on high-speed fluoroscopy kinematography. If you follow Dixie’s Farrier Service on Facebook, you may have seen the video of what looks like a radiograph in motion.
Sometime in the midst of the conference, I sat down for breakfast at the hotel and ended up in a discussion with another Indiana farrier who I hadn’t met before. It was nice to meet someone new from the area and be able to share about the different things we were learning.
I browsed new products and tools at the trade show, as well as talked to owners and representatives of various companies. Of course you can’t walk through the trade show without buying something, so I did come back with several new tools, books, and anatomy models.
By the end of the IHCS, everyone was tired and sore from sitting so much, but excited to get back home and work on some horses. I look forward to this conference every year for the great lectures, reuniting with friends, and the excitement it puts into a profession that I enjoy. The only downside to coming back from the IHCS is that I now have to schedule extra time with each client from all of the sharing I will be doing, which usually happens anyway, as education is an essential part of what Dixie’s Farrier Service is about.