Friday, July 16, 2010

What's an Equine Podiatrist: Part II

We've talked about about the Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry in Part I. I researched the primary degree-granting institute in the U.S. (Institute for Applied Equine Podiatry).

DAEP Student/graduate satisfaction
I haven't read about graduates who are unhappy or dissatisfied with their education. The staunchest defenders of the Institute are its graduates. 

Skills of the graduates 
My personal experience is limited to N=1 so I'm a little light on data points, plus I'm not really qualified to judge. I can say that the two horses under the DAEP's care seem to do well, and one is fitted with the hoof wrap advertised on the Web site. They don't provide good traction but seemed to serve their purpose (transitioning the horse from shod to barefoot. The DAEP is enthusiastic and loves his job. That can't be bad.

Opinions of the experts
There wasn't much on Google aside from the Institute's Web site and forum postings -- primarily farrier forums and COTH. Opinions of the skills of Institute-trained DAEPs are diverse. Farriers (at least the ones participating on forums) are pretty disdainful, but then there is always this crazy conflict about shoeing versus barefoot.  On other forums, it's more of a mixed bag.  I don't think it's possible to conclude that the Institute is a total scam, but it's reputation is not unassailable either.

What's the bottom line on Equine Podiatrists?
I'll give a big thumbs up to Steve O'Grady ;-), but what about the Institute?  Frankly my biggest gripe is the fake PhD described in Part I. This lapse in judgement/honesty speaks to the character of the founder, who is also the primary instructor, administrator, marketer, and developer of the trimming system -- everything, soup to nuts. It taints the whole program IMHO.

When it comes to hiring a DAEP, I would approach it just the way I would buying a horse. Don't look at the breed, look at the individual.
  • Ask the DAEP to describe the approach he/she uses.  
  • Look at examples of his/her work. If you cannot assess the DAEP's skills, get someone to help or get references. Ask around!
  • What's the DAEP's background and experience?
  • What's the DAEP's attitude? Look for signs that the DAEP is promoting a system at the expense of your horse.

HAVE you used a DAEP? What was your experience?


  1. Sounds to me that all this is like judging any professional you hire to work on your horse. And having a degree or certificate of some sort is never a guarantee that the holder knows what he/she is doing.

    My farrier is open to the barefoot option and my Chance is barefoot. But we tried it with Tucker and it was a disaster. Some horses just seem to need shoes.

  2. "Equine Podiatry" does not sound like barefoot hoof care to me. Are they competing techniques?

    I quickly perused the site and was disappointed to find that the author (the doctor?) does not really describe his trimming techniques or photos. I have to admit that I lost interest in the site pretty quickly, so maybe I just missed something. There is a lot of science vocabulary, but it seems placed to impress more than demystify. As a science person, this raises a red flag. I also noticed that the graphic next to the "perfect hoof club" link does not look like a well-balanced hoof. And where is the all important wall bevel?

    If you want down-to-Earth information with x-rays and photos to boot, please have a look at Pete Ramey's website. I have copied the "Articles" link below. This is what I enjoy and find useful in a barefoot hoof care website:

  3. I knew the Founder of IAEP long ago. He is a dynamic teacher, very good at providing hoof care, and most of the students also learn valuable skills that serve the horses well.

    That being said.........

    Like you said in Part 1-- any method that claims They Are The Answer! is suspect. I won't even go into the fake PhD. *rolls eyes*

    Overall the quality of work provided for your horse will be good. Just don't buy into the whole schmere and you'll be OK. Better yet, your horse will benefit from good care.

  4. I use an EPAUK (a UK association) and find the trimmers to be extremely knowledgeable and competent. A large number of them also deal with horses with pathologies very successfully. Their diploma course is excellent and has far more content than is on the farrier's course! They are working very closely with LANTRA and BEVA to get barefoot trimming recognised in the UK.

    Unfortunately you can't make an educated decision from posts on forums (especially farrier based forums) as there is still a lot of resistance to barefoot from some quarters.

    My mare has been barefoot for nearly 6 years and is sound on all surfaces including stony paths. We have a herd of 6 and they're all barefoot and do everything from hacking, dressage to jumping on grass (not huge but reasonable height).

  5. I have looked into both DAEP and EPAUK courses. As far as i can tell, and i may be wrong with my understanding, but the DAEP only runs a 5 day course, that the participant has to sit and resit 5 times; in other words they do the same 5 day course 5 times (!?!?), then claim they do 25 days training. The "leader" is a guru-type figure with a fake phd he purchased from an online "university". The EPAUK course is run by people who trained with this guru then went their seperate ways and started a new organisation to encompass other aspects of hoofcare, like nutrition and environment. The whole course is taught by independent experts of the field and takes 2 years to complete.

    In short i would let an EPA UK trimmer near my horse. A DAEP can go for a long walk.

  6. And what does "degreed" mean anyway?


Hi Guys, Your comments are valued and appreciated -- until recently I never rejected a post. Please note that I reserve the right to reject an anonymous post.