What is Applied Equine Podiatry?
‘Applied Equine Podiatry (AEP) is the conscious study of the equine foot, always striving to expose it to proper stimuli, making every effort to promote proper structure and function as we attempt to achieve high performance’
K C La Pierre RJF, PhD
DAEP’s are not Farriers. We are highly trained hoof care professionals who will advise you on how to care for your horse’s feet in order to achieve high performance without the need for shoes.
AEP is not about just trimming the horse’s foot; it encompasses much more than that. In AEP we are taught that the correct stimulus from the surrounding environment and owner commitment are the main deciding factors in achieving high shoe-less performance. AEP is about finding practical ways to give your horse the best foot possible. Our work is based on the premise that developing correct structure in the foot will allow it to function properly and thus increase performance.
When treating a horse, we evaluate the whole picture by educating the owner on the correct environment, diet, and exercise required to achieve a healthy foot with correct structure in order to perform to today’s high demands of domestication.
The trim is only applied as necessary and may not be performed at each visit or once a healthy foot has been achieved, as given the correct environment most horses will naturally self trim. During the trim the foot will be correctly balanced thus allowing maximum function and support of each structure. Every foot is balanced individually. The HPT method is not a radical or extreme trim nor is it based on the feral horse.
Correct stimulus is one of the main keys to success. This has been misunderstood by many of today’s hoof care professionals who believe that pressure is bad – they couldn’t be more wrong!
We are not anti shoes. Going shoe-less takes time and commitment from the owner. If this cannot be provided then it may be in the horse’s best interest to remain shod.
Unfortunately shoes do not allow for the correct stimulus to be received from the environment and will therefore over time hinder correct growth and weaken the structures of the foot as a whole leading to many of the common problems seen today such as hoof wall cracks, under-run heels, contracted frogs, and consistently losing shoes to name but a few.
Think of a shoe as a plaster cast – very good at providing support to a limb and protecting it, but muscle atrophy and degeneration of structures will occur eventually over time.
We never say never, as some horses may have feet that have been so badly damaged that a shoe may be the only way to alleviate pain or provide temporary support to unstable structures.
All DAEP’s will welcome your Vet or Farrier to be present during any consultation. It is important that we work closely with other professional’s to ensure that your horse ‘s health and well-being is our number one priority at all times.
DAEPs undergo rigorous practical and theoretical training in order to gain their qualification. Only active ‘Alumni’ are listed on the IAEP website.
By becoming active Alumni we must undertake minimum CPD (additional training) each year to uphold our membership and to keep up to date with current practice just like other registered professionals.
We are required to undertake a minimum of 40hrs CPD per year to continue our active alumni status. This is 5hrs more than required of your Veterinary Surgeon!
Our ongoing training combined with the constant research at the IAEP makes DAEP’s one of the most knowledgeable equine foot specialists available to the horse owner today.
All DAEP’s must follow the code of ethics at all times:
Never should living tissue be invaded.
Always work toward returning proper function to the foot, but not at the expense of the comfort of the horse.
Time is a dimension and a valuable tool that should be used to full advantage.
Inducing trauma to increase circulation should never be entertained.
Removal of hoof material should be kept to a minimum and limited to placing the foot’s working systems safely back into equilibrium.