Werkman Spring Games, from a veterinarian’s perspective

If you’re reading this article, chances are you spend the majority of your time thinking about horses’ feet. There are so many aspects to finding success as an equine professional: customer service and business sense are paramount and often greatly under-appreciated; finding the balance between theory and practical; learning anatomy and landmarks to help us distinguish pathology vs. physiology, and how we can help. 

Although we all leave school ready to take on the world, reality usually sets in pretty quickly. Continuing education is key to moving forward. Recently, four of our members represented Canada at the Werkman spring games: our OFA President Paul Miller CF, Mike Smith CJF, Olivier Dufresne CJF, and Andrea Dubé DVM 

For those unfamiliar, this is the Catalina Wine Mixer of horseshoeing. The best of the best from around the world come together to better their craft. This multi day clinic is also one the world’s largest horseshoeing competitions. Hosted by Werkman Horseshoes in Netherlands, it’s not only a clinic – it’s a party and social event like no other.

Andrea Dubé DVM of McKee Pownall presented multiple lectures, including an anatomical overlay on a live horse.  She found that the painted horse lecture, presented in collaboration with Mitch Taylor, exceeded her expectations, and that Mitch’s anatomical knowledge humbled her.

Though it might come across as odd for a veterinarian from Ontario to bother to attend a farrier contest across the world, Andrea found it was eye opening to not only see people taking their craft to the next level, but also how these shoes are made, and what can be created from simple bar stock. 

Andrea takes pride in pushing herself out of her comfort zone to learn new ideas and different takes, and the spring games offered just that. One of her biggest take-aways was seeing things from a different vantage point. Not only are the lectures incredibly informative, the questions and discussion afterword can be truly eye opening for everyone.  Something as simple as the horse anatomy demonstration can leave you walking away questioning how lameness high up in the horse can translate to the feet.  When speaking with Johnathon Nunn, he noted postural differences with pathologies such as SI pain that lead to changes in the foot. Once the pain was addressed, eg SI injection, he noted the posture went back to normal and the feet improved.

Andrea left us with one quote that applies to everyone in any industry. “Don’t stay in your cocoon. Go to these events. Even if you’re the only person from your part of the world at that event, when you return home you will be the only one at home with that knowledge and skill set. That’s what will put you ahead”

Keep learning, growing and supporting this great community. 

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