Fall semester was crazy. I finished up the last of my didactic classes or those where you’re lectured at then you take an exam. I still have 2 seminar based classes, but those are easier to deal with. My first committee meeting was in October. I also have passed my Preliminary exams with conditions and submitted my first grant, an NIH-based NRSA for trainees. I was able to finally solidify some protocols that are working on a more consistent basis.
In the farrier world I have attended Mark Caldwell’s clinic hosted by Dave and the HTRC, MSU’s Arabian center, half of a certification, and the annual MHA contest and clinic. I have continued to learn more and have had some new interesting cases. I have made mistakes and learned how to fix them. I have tried my best to help Dave prepare for his associates exam, but it wasn’t quite enough.
In the horse world I found out Foxi had an old SI injury that limited her to very light riding no more than twice a week. Following that I free leased her to someone very interested in using her good breeding as a broodmare. Foxi later punctured her knee on an unknown object and was euthanized. Surgery was expensive and risky and recovery would have been awful for her. I found a filly to take on trial, and while she mentally was what I wanted, she also had an old injury that I didn’t feel comfortable with. Yesterday I bought Jack, a 5 year old Arab gelding started on ground work with little to no under saddle work. No history of injury.
So crucial events in grad school. Committee meeting went okay. I felt like I was a bit of a mess as some things didn’t go to plan, but Kurt and the rest of my committee seemed overall very happy with my knowledge preparation and experiments. I got some feed back and modified my proposal accordingly for the NRSA grant I submitted in early December. I used that NRSA submission as my thesis proposal and presented those ideas publicly a few weeks ago followed by a closed questioning session with my committee. I did great on my presentation, okay in the written, and okay in the closed questioning. This week I’m working on researching some questions that the committee would like me to know more about and making changes to my written submission. When that is done by Feb 11, I can finally focus on science since I finally have finished classwork, well the real class work anyway. My final proposal aims to elucidate whether Notch signaling in a specific lineage state affects the outcome of osteoblast differentiation using cell and mouse models.
Crucial events in farrier land definitely include the Mark Caldwell clinic. Holy cow, we Americans have a lot to learn about farrier education. Mark has an amazing handle on anatomy and the consequence of loading to the anatomy. Combine that knowledge with years of farriery experience and the amount of information you get from this guy is hard to handle in a few days. In the UK farrier schools are two year programs that are regulated by the government through the worshipful company of farriers. It is illegal over the pond to nail a shoe on a horse without your degree. Following this education is an expected at least two year apprenticeship that is hard to find and very coveted. Once you’ve completed those levels of education you can strike out on your own. There are two more levels of certification though, the associates exam and the fellowship exam. Dave is trying for the associates, which is a farrier’s masters degree. In contrast the US is completely unregulated and school programs vary between 2 weeks- 2 years in length. Apprenticeships are not uncommon but not expected of us either. Mark will tell anyone that the UK system is far from perfect, but it clearly has been better thought out than our system. In addition to learning about some cultural differences we were able to do dissections and watch a horse with a painted on skeleton and key muscles lounge to get an idea of how gaits and strides change position of these structures.
My goal was to get my CF, or certified farrier certification this fall, but with the above grad school events, and Dave’s test, this was just too much. I went to the first day at Henry’s farm this year and got to see the judging of the forge work under the eye of Pat Burton. It was great to see what the expectation of the testers are and what mistakes people probably make. Now that I’ve seen both days I’m ready to tackle it in 2016. Dave’s test was a fail again, but we now know what he has to do to get there. He wrote better, but just not enough in the written, passed the oral examination, and just fell short on the forging and live shoeing, while his shoe board itself passed. Here’s to a sucessful 2016 for the both of us.
The contest was judged this year by Dusty Franklin, proprietor of five star horseshoeing school, one of the best in the country. It was great to see Dusty’s take on trimming and shoeing. Seeing him and Mark talk in the same season was cool, a lot of their theories overlapped with distinct differences. Mark lives is a wet temperate climate, while Dusty lives in a drier, warmer climate. I suspect what they agree on hold in every climate while their differences have to do with the environments they work in the most.
To elaborate on Foxi, I had her in training at Stapleton and Ellie did a fantastic job with her but she was still telling us something was wrong when I brought her back to Reining Around Ranch. I brought her to Hamilton Ridge where I had lots of resources to once and for all figure out why she was off. Michelle Allen was able to determine that it was most likely an old sacro-illiac joint injury that would not be able to hold up in dressage. The accident was right before thanksgiving.
The filly was from Moore’s kill pen, her owner pulls a few out of the pen at a time and rehomes them. I took her on free lease based trial. She came to MI with banged up hind legs and a fear of anything touching her hind legs. There’s a worrisome bump on her hock though and even though she’s sound now, I can’t have another Foxi. She will go back to her owner for sale as a pleasure or trail horse with no fear of hind end handling and a bit of halter training. I found Jack last weekend, he’s sound, no history of injury or lameness, great conformation and feet. Unstarted under saddle but ready to go with training in the next month or so. Exactly what I wanted…except he’s a red head! I can get over that.
And that’s Spartan Shoeing news. I’ll try to be better this year with updates, especially on clinics. Dave will be hosting a owner’s lower limb dissection clinic next month hopefully. so clients let me know if you’re interested.