The growing number of farriers and veterinarians working together on equine podiatry cases has led to the creation of an organization specifically designed to improve communication and share knowledge in this area of horse rehabilitation.
On December 6, 2018, the Equine Soundness Professionals (“ESP”) professional organization was officially formed.
Farrier David Gilliam of Flower Mound, Texas has been the organizer of the new group. The mission statement of ESP is “to facilitate and encourage collaboration between the two professions to better prevent and treat lameness by 1) sharing knowledge, research, and experience; 2) providing a forum to discuss lameness cases; and 3) promoting evidence-based practices.
Gilliam, who is studying for the Equine Locomotion Research graduate diploma offered to farriers by the Royal Veterinary College, is a professional farrier with a practice providing performance shoeing and sport horse hoof rehabilitation within the hunter/jumper horse show circuit. He hopes to combine his access to the horse industry — his business operates from three seasonal bases in California, Texas and Florida — with his vision for farriers and veterinarians to work together to benefit the horse.
As a nonprofit organization incorporated in Texas, ESP has begun welcoming farriers and veterinarians who provide equine podiatry services, forming alliances and solidifying a credentialing process. Prospective members are invited to apply, and no membership dues will be charged in 2019.
“Currently, there’s no real equine podiatry credential,” Gilliam said. He explained the need for an intensive examination for both farriers and veterinarians; it will involve both a “test from a book” and a case assignment for and with a veterinarian, in a clinic setting.
ESP testing will concentrate on the candidate’s knowledge of anatomical, imaging, and biomechanical aspects of rehabilitating the horse’s foot, as well as make case decisions from diagnostic imaging media and examining case horses. Glueon therapies will be allowed, as well as all types of metal and plastic shoes.
Working with the ESP Advisory Panel, Gilliam plans to concentrate on four key areas in 2019:
- Accrediting veterinary and farriery professionals who successfully complete an intensive examination procedure to prove competence in hoof rehabilitation;
- Supporting and hosting educational programs and events that further educate professionals in the care of healthy hooves and rehabilitation of diseased or injured hooves;
- Development of a database of lameness cases successfully rehabilitated by ESP members;
- Working to keep communication open between members.
ESP is not affiliated with any other organization or systems of practice for hoof rehabilitation.
The first educational event hosted by the organization will be held in March.
The Advisory Panel for ESP consists of Gilliam and four advisors: Veterinarians Courtney Lewis of Circle
Oak Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation in California and Sammy Pittman of Innovative Equine
Podiatry in Texas; and farriers Shane Westman, resident farrier at the University of California at Davis
School of Veterinary Medicine Large Animal Hospital, and Pat Reilly, Chief of Farrier Services at Penn
Vet New Bolton Center.