Farrier Organization Issues Warning To Horse Owners
Hoof Trim Method Far Too Risky To Recommend, Says Guild President
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
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 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".
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.