Colorado State University Veterinary Students Attend Hoof Workshop with Dr. Tomas Teskey

by Dr. Tomas G. Teskey, D.V.M. ©2006
Hereford, AZ, U.S.A.
email: tomasteskey @ (delete spaces) 520-366-0707

I had the honor of speaking with 50 veterinary students at the teaching hospital at Colorado State University this past weekend. My wife, Lora, and Martha Olivo were also present at Saturday morning's lecture and slide-show presentation, "The Unfettered Foot; A paradigm change for equine podiatry" where the latest cutting edge information on horses and their hooves was presented. The Equine Club provided a great lunch for all who attended, and that afternoon, the students looked on as I demonstrated a trim and dissection for them under a camera that projected all the images on to the big screen at the front of the lecture hall. I was impressed with all the students' interest in the information, and each busily took notes in the folders I provided. I explored with them the differences between unhealthy, shod hooves and healthy, unfettered hooves, going through my new outline which presents the information in a very simple, easy to remember format. Lora took pictures to document the occasion and Martha spoke about the importance of providing proper environment for horses, describing her latest "infinity environment" design and how it works with the nature of the horses to keep them sound.

All equine club students and clinicians were invited to attend, and though no veterinarians attended the lecture, I was not in the least discouraged with the experience. A couple of the professors I corresponded with via email prior to this meeting were quite fearful of what might be presented, but all of these students, many with a great deal of equine experience, were riveted on the presentation. Many students came up to me after Saturday's presentation and dissection and were just bubbling with questions. Several indicated that they were convinced that what they had seen was true and both their own horses and horses they would care for in the future would be so much more healthy and sound because of what they had just learned. This is what it was all about, and I felt very humbled that these soon-to-be veterinarians were so honest and willing to admit that conventional hoof care causes such great harm to the horses. They all learned that a shod horse can not possibly be looked at as sound, given the terrible changes in form and function that occur--rather a sound horse is "one free from pain that can walk, trot and canter with animation and impulsion on unfettered feet." It was also apparent the students' horror in discovering that conventional hoof care elevates the heels in both heel-sore and laminitic horses! This is why I know that this past weekend's experience will send big, juicy ripples around the world, influencing countless people and helping horses everywhere.

Sunday, thirty five of the 50 students came back to participate in a "wet-lab", where we all took up tools and worked on trimming and dissecting cadaver limbs that had been stockpiled prior to my arrival. Of course there were many diseased hooves and legs, but each provided an opportunity to demonstrate the power of natural trimming techniques and how the hooves would have benefitted from correct hoof care. The enthusiasm was once again bubbling throughout the lab as Martha and I went from team to team helping the students find important landmarks and use good technique. Given that many of these students had never taken up a rasp or hoof knife, they all were able to trim their hoof and dissect it to appreciate how form and function come together to keep the horse sound. The excited chatter and looks of wonder are forever imprinted in my mind...what they learned those two days was truly monumental.

Sunday afternoon, I ventured out with six students to consult on a young horse, uncomfortable and having trouble since moving to the area this past Fall. The horse belonged to one of the students that attended Saturday's lecture, and she could now accurately describe for me what she was previously unaware of with her horse's hooves: there was a two to three degree change in the angle of growth a third of the way down the hooves and the heels were too high, indicating the horse had suffered a mild founder. We mapped out the hooves, reduced heel height by a quarter inch and removed the flare towards the ground. "Roxanne", previously "mean" to anybody trying to trim her, was a complete doll after tending to her left front foot, and I finished up all four over about an hour's time (we had to do a lot of talking while we worked). She walked off with a spring in her step that she had earlier been denied given the poor form, and so yet another horse was set on the path of honest soundness.

This past weekend will go down in history as the first time a veterinarian has lectured to a purely veterinary audience at their own veterinary college in this country about hoof health, and this Spring marks my tenth year since graduating from Colorado State University. It was especially fitting being able to go back to my alma mater to share some of what I've learned out "in the real world". This completes a cycle of learning and experience in an important way, and I have "handed off batons" to a bunch of new recruits that will branch out and bring their own special healing touch to horses that so desperately want and deserve to be sound.

I look forward to talking to more veterinary students at all the veterinary schools around the world, as well as groups of veterinarians eager to learn about the hoof. When they learn that I could shoe a horse at 14 years old and ride in the roughest terrain with shod horses, but can now accomplish the same work with greater efficiency while preserving the horses' health and doing NO HARM, they, like these veterinary students, will become advocates for appropriate hoof care.

"The deformed and shod hoof is a sad and sorry sight, Harmful to the horse. The Unfettered Foot is a joy to behold, And does no harm, of course."
Tomas Teskey D.V.M.
email: tomasteskey @ (delete spaces) 520-366-0707

©2006 by The Horse's Hoof. All rights reserved. No part of these publications may be reproduced by any means whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher and/or authors. The information contained within these articles is intended for educational purposes only, and not for diagnosing or medicinally prescribing in any way. Readers are cautioned to seek expert advice from a qualified health professional before pursuing any form of treatment on their animals. Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.

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