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Friday, January 30, 2015

Blacksmith Buddy Junior: The New Hoofcare Education Tool for Teaching, Practice, and Demonstrations

                             Sponsored Post from Blacksmith Buddy                                       
Practice makes perfect...sense, when a new student practices on a Blacksmith Buddy or Buddy Junior. Even an experienced vet or farrier can benefit from experimenting with a trimming or shoeing technique or even a crack repair using a plastic hoof before trying it on a living horse. The lightweight new Buddy Junior fits on a standard Hoof Jack and is portable for travel.

There’s a new kid in town. Kind of a little guy, but he fits right in. He hangs out with one of the most popular pillars of the hoofcare world, and the two of them work together like you wouldn’t believe. He’s a chip off the block, a new age version of his old man, The Original.

People see him in a trade show booth for the first time and crack a big grin. “That is cute,” they nodded at the American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention in Salt Lake City in December. “....And very clever!”

The Little Guy is officially known as Blacksmith Buddy Junior. He has the same features and usability as the original Blacksmith Buddy hoof-practicing tool, including the removable hoof. But instead of the solid base and arm, “Junior” fits right into a standard piece of equipment that most farriers and hoof trimmers already have on hand: their Hoof Jack stand.

With the flick of the wrist, the standard support or sling of the Hoof Jack pops out, and Buddy Junior drops in. Another flick of the wrist secures it, and the user is ready to rasp or nip or cut away.

As with most things California horseshoer Wes Champagne invents, you have to see it to believe it. And if you can get through the crowd at next week’s International Hoof Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio, you will see both Buddy and Junior in action.

A removable Blacksmith Buddy plastic hoof used for quarter
crack lacing practice at a veterinary college.
Since “Buddy Senior” was introduced in late 2012, it’s taken the education scene by storm. Even if people aren’t actually using it, it has changed the way they think about teaching people to work under horses. This is especially true in veterinary colleges, where students need to learn to work on hooves, but find that learning on an inanimate, unmoving Blacksmith Buddy is infinitely easier than on a horse that shifts and pulls and snatches and leans. The student can concentrate on learning to use the tools and position the body correctly before factoring in the horse’s movement.

Buddy Junior also lowers the investment of the popular teaching tool, and makes it much more portable; it is even packable and can go on a plane, boat, or train as long as someone on the other end has a Hoof Jack ready and waiting.

Look familiar? The Blacksmith Buddy Junior slips right onto the pole of a Hoof Jack.

With both Buddy and Junior, the plastic lifelike hoof is fully trimmable and shoeable. Hooves can be purchased in lots of a dozen or 100, and students can keep their first nailed-on shoe, or pull it off and let someone else work on the same hoof.

At a veterinary college, one of Buddy’s hooves even was inflicted with a quarter crack so that a lacing repair demonstration could be given to students, who routinely use Buddy for practice pulling shoes and performing hoof examinations.

As Buddy Junior joins the team, watch for Blacksmith Buddy to spread to a wider variety of users in schools, vet hospitals and anywhere that training or demonstrations take place. It’s hard to imagine a trade show without a trail of Buddy hooves from booth to booth.

Make plans to try your hand at working on a hoof or shoe via a Blacksmith Buddy soon. You’ll think of a dozen ways it can be used--and have fun doing it!

Learn about Wes Champagne's new Blacksmith Buddy Junior at
Follow news from Blacksmith Buddy on the company's Facebook page.

Contact Wes Champagne and Blacksmith Buddy directly: 

PO Box 660266 
Arcadia, CA 91066 USA
800.856.SHOE (7463)
Sales: Erin Baayen

Please mention that you read about Blacksmith Buddy Junior on The Hoof Blog! We appreciate Blacksmith Buddy's support...and their leadership in new ideas and support for education! Go, Buddy!

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is the news service for Hoofcare and Lameness Publishing. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a headlines-link email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to  
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Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Barbaro Effect: Changing the Face of Laminitis

A racehorse named Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby in 2006. He fractured his right hind leg in the Preakness, and suffered from laminitis during his complex recovery from surgery to repair the limb. Eight months later, he was euthanized. Laminitis was given as the reason for ending his life. (Churchill Downs Derby winner sign courtesy of Wikipedia) 

Barbaro died on January 29, 2007. Where were you, eight years ago today? More importantly, where was your awareness and knowledge of the disease of laminitis? And where are you--and your laminitis awareness and knowledge--now?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Introduction to Winter Traction: Finding the Roots of Today's Safety and Fun Under Foot in Snow and Ice

Like a scene from Black Beauty, a horse goes down in the shafts of a delivery wagon on a Boston street, sometime between 1917 and 1934. From the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

A blizzard hit the Northeast Corridor of the United States today. For the next few days, we might be hunkered down, with or without power and wifi. But no matter how bad it is, we'll be back on the highways in a few days at most.

FedEx will deliver. The airlines will fly. The supermarkets will re-stock their shelves.

But it wasn't always that way. Winter was a different story 100 years ago, when horses had to travel the streets of cities and towns in order for the mail to move, or trains to be unloaded, or even for the roads to be plowed.

First and foremost, horses had to stay on their feet. And many days, that was no easy feat.

Watch Now: "Lost Dog" Budweiser Clydesdales Super Bowl Commercial Released; Puppy Ads Under Scrutiny

I don't know about you, but I'm still snowbound. Cable service returned just in time for me to catch the new Budweiser Clydesdales Super Bowl commercial (a.k.a. "Lost Dog") on The Today Show this morning. And here it is, along with a behind-the-scenes reel, thanks to Budweiser, to share with you.

I wonder what people will think of this one. Who hasn't had a cat shut in a trailer? But should that side escape door pop open when the pickup slams on its brakes? That's trailer safety 101 and sure to elicit the biggest shudder from horse people since the hitch gelding cantering on pavement in the first ad.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Prix d'Amerique 2015: 15 of 18 Horses Will Race "Barefoot" by Pulling Shoes Before Race

72 hooves. 6 shoes. (Maybe.)

That's the ratio for Sunday's Prix d'Amerique trotting race in Vincennes, France. The purse is worth $1.15 Million (US). It's the world's richest harness race. You'd take your shoes off, too, for that kind of prize money.

This is not just another horse race. It is a 1 11/16 mid-winter downhill then uphill push to the limits for the world's hardiest Standardbreds. These are the strongest, fastest two-beat trots you'll see anywhere in the world.

But minutes before the race starts tomorrow, the shoe pullers will come out and dozens of shoes will be left behind.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Teaser: Budweiser Clydesdales "Lost Dog" Super Bowl Commercial--or at least a few seconds of it

Fans of the Budweiser Clydesdale Super Bowl commercials could celebrate a small step forward this afternoon as the St. Louis brewery released probably about nine seconds of the upcoming one-minute commercial for next weekend's actual ad.