Hoof Nerds co-operate for the good of the Horse

Early Bird Tickets End at Midnight Tonight!

This week as organisers of The Functional Hoof Conference, we received an email upbraiding us for having a range of speakers at the event, some of whom the critic did not agree with.

This is what he told us about our planned ‘Table With All The Trimmings’ – a visual comparison of -  and discussion about - the various trimming styles of three respected farriers and three trimmers.  (On display at the conference, will be cadaver legs trimmed by the six participants – all with different trimming styles.)

“Shame on you,” he wrote. “You've created a competition that will prove nothing that promotes a healthy hoof.
You might find over and under trimming, or whose is pretty and whose isn't, but without time for healing and evidence of not creating and/or alleviating pain, you've done nothing but create more confusion.
One again, shame on you.”

This was timely because the tone and intent was diametrically opposed to the very essence of what we are trying to achieve at our event. We WANT people who hail from different learnings and backgrounds to come and talk about what they do, and why.  We don’t want to work in a vacuum. We don’t think that anybody has all the answers.  We want to learn from others. We want others to learn from others. We think other practitioners ––  be they farriers, trimmers, vets or bodyworkers - have valuable knowledge to be considered, shared, spread, for the benefit of the horse.


We (Zoe Messina & Rebecca Jacaranda Scott) come from backgrounds in barefoot trimming. But one of the most gratifying occurrences as organisers (besides being able to entice eminent international hoof researchers to Daylesford) has been the response from the farriers. Michael Saunders – who is dual qualified in the UK and Australia, and will be representing Australia at the World Blacksmithing Championships in Calgary this week, and  Dr Luke Wells-Smith who is a farrier turned vet and works with the Scone Equine Podiatry and Lameness Centre, have gone out of their way to assist.  Both have trimmed cadaver legs for our event. Dr Wells-Smith says he particularly wants to hear Dr Debra Taylor speak. One of her subjects is correlating physical examinations of the foot with the state of internal structures such as the digital cushion and the lateral cartilages. This is precisely the type of learning, sharing and exchange opportunity we envisaged when we put our hands up to organise a second Functional Hoof Conference. 

We don’t feel any shame. Rather the opposite. We are so stoked at the prospect of having so many people who are all focused on horses’ hooves, that we can’t wait.

- Rebecca Scott & Zoe Messina