with Burney Chapman Part II
Edwards - Published in the October 1989 Issue of Anvil Magazine
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You mentioned earlier that laminitis is often like polio in that
the disease comes, creates a problem, and then it leaves.
BURNEY: That is correct. For instance, a lot
of people died of polio. They just died and they buried them,
and other people survived polio. The polio maimed and crippled.
It made their hands crippled, it made it so they couldn't walk,
it made it where they couldn't hardly eat. Some of them it made
so they couldn't breathe without an iron lung. Laminitis is a
whole lot similar to that. The horse gets laminitis and we've
never distinguished between laminitis and chronic laminitis where
the fingernail tears loose, the bone rotates or prolapses through
the sole or kills the horse. We never realized that there was
we could do mechanically. For instance, the horses that are chronic
founders -- Rob and I witnessed one today. The guy had a shoe
nailed on backwards. This thing had been crippled for 15 years.
Nobody bothered to x-ray it, it periodically had an abscess problem
and got tremendously lame. Nobody bothered to take an x-ray. If
the shoe's nailed on backwards,
it's going to abscess again in another month. It had been doing
this the last 48 months probably, according to the history.
Why not fix that? Why not mechanically fix that problem with something
like a frog-support shoe, a heartbar shoe, whatever anybody wants
to call it. The mare will lead a normal and happy life and not
have all those problems. It's just like polio. The mare survived
the laminitis, she lived, and now she's suffering from pedal osteosis,
from lamella wedge. Nobody has ever given her any arch support.
She has these periodic abscesses. The farrier who works that ranch
didn't even know the AFA existed. He has been shoeing horses for
22 years. He did not know they had a Western States Farriers Association.
He's too busy for all that anyway. He was there at the owner's
expense yesterday, and he's wanting to know how much pressure
you give to the heartbar, and he doesn't know what a heartbar
shoe looks like except the one he saw on this horse. He's the
guy who put the shoe on backwards. He's telling me how many hundreds
he has fixed with a backward horseshoe.
ANVI: We're looking at some really basic questions
here. Why does the owner of a reputable breeding place use a farrier
who has such antiquated ways and ideas, doesn't know what's current
in the industry, and doesn't know who you are or what you do?
The bottom line is we have horses out there that need to be helped,
and they're not being helped. And that's a sad commentary.
BURNEY: It makes me cry because this man who
owns this horse has a real good veterinarian, but he doesn't know
anything about foot problems. This veterinarian has seen heartbar
shoes applied wrong, hoof resections done totally ridiculous,
not only by farriers but by his own profession, and those horses
are history, they are dead. They're buried in the bay out there.
ANVI: Burney, what are your thoughts about the
high heel or club foot syndrome?
BURNEY: I've always maintained that the right
front foot was the high heel in the club foot of the horse. Now
then, some of our friends south of the equator say, "No,
it's the left front foot." Over the years we've compared
notes. Now Dr. Pollit from Australia is saying that they're seeing
about the same in the right front as the left front, but most
of them are right front. Ninety percent in the United States,
regardless of the breed, are right front -- the high heel club
ANVI: What common denominator do you see in these
BURNEY: The only common denominator that I see
is nutrition. I cannot buy this grazing theory that a horse grazes
in a scissor stance because he's short-necked and he's doing this
or he's doing that. On the Four Sixes Ranch there are 325 sections,
that's 325 square miles. On the Waggoner Ranch there are 990,000
acres, on the King Ranch there are
another 900,000 acres, on the Pitchfork Ranch there are 150,000
acres. For example, they take 25 mares and they turn them out
in this 10-section pasture. These 25 mares and this one stud,
they're turned out in February and they leave the stud out February,
March, April and May. They pick the stud up and then the stud
goes back with the geldings. The geldings
taught the stud manners. These 25 mares had 20 to 24 babies. These
mares were never fed anything but grass, like a horse that's put
in the wild. The stud ate the same grass the mares did. The baby
was conceived, carried, and he or she was born in that pasture.
It might have been cold, 20 below zero, and the mare took care
of that baby. And that baby nursed that mother and he ate the
same grass his mother did, and we didn't see club feet. We still
don't to this day, in any
number. I think that Dr. Redden will agree with this -- we never
saw club feet in Thoroughbreds until the last six or seven years.
The common denominator I see is that we're trying to feed the
mare too much. We baby the horse too much. We've forgotten that
he's kind of like the American Indian. In less than 100 years
we've taken him out of his natural environment and put him in
a boxed stall, overfed him, and underworked him.
ANVI: So you think maybe there are three ways
of looking at these club feet -- one, the grazing theory; two,
genetic factors; and three, nutrition. Do you agree with that?
BURNEY: I definitely think that foot problems
are highly hereditary, but with the club foot, it's not the foot,
it's a tendon problem.
ANVI: Let's get to the tendon problem in a minute.
The third situation would be the one where there's obviously a
food imbalance. Do you think that in the nutritional imbalance
that it's due to a mineral deficiency?
BURNEY: They researched copper deficiency on
a few farms. They analyzed the soil and analyzed the trace mineral
intake -- zinc, copper, calcium and phosporous -- but the only
common denominator I can see in all those farms is that they just
overfed -- an over-intake of nutrition, not one or two of those
ANVI: On the club foot situation, have you found
the most effective therapy to be a tendon cut?
BURNEY: If they're contracted enough. If the
horse has a real true tendon deformity, a farrier will never stretch
the tendon with a horseshoebecause the tendon is much stronger
than the bond between the fingernailand the anterior surface of
the third phalanx. You actually pry the fingernail of the hoof
wall loose from the anterior surface of the third phalanx with
an extended toe shoe. I don't know anybody who has ever really
stretched a tendon.
ANVI: What do you think about casting the leg
for a period of time and then pulling the cast off with the expectation
that the muscles would weaken enough to stretch that?
BURNEY: I think that's good if you do it when
the baby is young enough, but after he's 90 to 120 days old, you
can put a splint on him, a cast on him, you can stall rest, whatever,
but I think it's history by then, in my opinion. And I'd like
to see some real proof radiographically and photographically or
videotape or anything else where after a baby six or eight months
old, has had a cast or the leg splinted and made it to any kind
of a normal configuration.
ANVI: In dealing with foals, when there's a certain
amount of deviationin the foot and the leg, how effective do you
think the medial or lateral extension shoes are?
BURNEY: In the early stages of the baby, I think
that they are very effective, but not after the baby is 120 days
ANVI: Burney, what about the time you have spent
demonstrating and experimenting with the Glu-Strider shoes?
BURNEY: Mustad basically subsidized the clinics.
They spent thousands and thousands of dollars in educating farriers.
Mustad didn't say that we had to say that this nail or this horseshoe
was the ultimate. We went into that with an open mind. We never
told anybody that the glue-on shoe would do something that it
wouldn't do. Ethics are critically important. If you believe in
a glue-on shoe for certain reasons, then use that to its fullest
extent, but don't abuse it. If it's a heartbar shoe and if you
believe in it, use it. If you believe in an egg bar shoe, use
it, but don't abuse it. It's like a good horse, a good dog, or
a good woman. Use the hell out of them, but don't ever abuse them.
But, you know, money couldn't buy me, and I don't think it could
buy Myron McLane, to sell Hoof Bond. I don't care how much money
Hoof Bond has. I mean even half a million dollars isn't going
to make me lie about that.
ANVI: You put on a couple of Seattle Shoes on
the hind feet of a horse at the Northern California Classic. How
did you ever come to do that?
BURNEY: That was the first time I ever put a
Seattle Shoe on the back feet. Let me tell you about my introduction
to the Seattle Shoe. One day Ed Kinney brought this Seattle Shoe
to me and said, "Guess what I have!" And I asked him
if it was an ashtray or a speaker out of a radio. "Well,"
he said, "this is the Seattle Shoe. Haven't you heard about
it?" And I said, "I know where Seattle is and I know
who Seattle Slew is, but I don't know about the Seattle Shoe."
it was some kind of joke. He said, "I'm serious." And
I said, "You can't tell me you nail this darn thing on a
horse's foot. It will make him fall down, trip, and stumble."
He said, "No, it really will work." I said, "Well,
I'll try anything once. Send me a set of them." And so Ed
Kinney sent me a pair of those things. Those shoes had been in
my office about two days, and there was a group of farriers at
my place, including Jim Poor. I said, "Jim, we're going to
put these shoes on." And Jim says, "What? We're not
going to do this." And so I said, "Yeah, we're going
to have fun." This was right after the dude sitting on the
milk carton was on the front of the American Farriers Journal.We
put the Seattle shoe on my kid's roping horse. All of us are there
with the Seattle Shoe, sitting on a milk carton with our hats
turned sideways. We've used these shoes on a stallion . . . with
fused pasterns. It seems to work like an added joint and helped
the horse. My son is bareback on his horse with the Seattle shoes
on the front and he goes clippety-clop off down the road. And
I mean it was really a big deal. People came from miles around
to see these weird shoes. That was two years ago. We kept records
for Ed, and my kid rode the
horse so many miles everyday. Then we sent the shoes back and
then they sent more shoes. We've used these shoes on a stallion
that belongs to Texas Tech University with fused pasterns. It
seems to work like an added joint and helped
the horse. Another horse we put the Seattle Shoes on is a 19-year-old
pleasure horse with some front leg problems and some pedal osteitis.
It really helped him.
ANVI: Burney, let's propose a hypothetical case.
The situation is that the horse got into the grain the night before,
and you and a veterinarian are on the scene the next morning.
What are you going to do?
BURNEY: The horse is colicky, he's a little bit
sore, he's reluctant to move, and he's standing a little tense
out in front. The first thing the veterinarian is going to do
is administer whatever medication he feels the horse needs. He
checks the feet, he takes the pulse, he does a lot of things.
He may give him mineral oil, Bute, or whatever.We don't think
the horse has any rotation, any edema, no sinking, no anything
else, but we'll take x-rays anyway.
ANVI: First of all, the vet gives him Bute (an
anti-inflammatory) to make sure the horse is relaxed. Is it because
you want to get rid of that pain syndrome that complicates matters?
BURNEY: Yes, we want to get rid of the pain,
but the first day the veterinarian will take an x-ray, a lateral
at least. We don't know whether this thing is going to get worse
or if it's going to get better.He has laminitis, everybody agrees
with that. He has a pounding digital pulse, he's glued to the
ground. After reviewing the x-rays, we determine that there is
no pathological change inside the hoof capsule. The bone is perfect
and there is no change in the hoof wall in relation
to the bone. After we take the radiograph, we normally put a heartbar
shoe on that same morning, with maybe a millimeter of support,
ANVI: Are you in favor of a heartbar/egg bar
or just a heartbar?
BURNEY: That depends upon the foot conformation.
In an upright situation,like most Quarter Horses, you're basically
going to have a heartbar that's going to be open, maybe a half-inch
at the heel. You leave plenty of room at the heel with a heartbar.
ANVI: So, in this case you decided that the heartbar
shoe is probably as much a therapeutic device as a preventative
device for rotation. What do you and the veterinarian see as typical
symptoms and what do you decide as far as blood panels and/or
x-rays are concerned?
BURNEY: The horse is reluctant to move because
everytime it moves it hurts like heck. Every book that you ever
picked up describing laminitis has a horse standing there with
a characteristic laminitic stance -- front feet way out in front
of him and camped under behind, correct? The day that you get
to Old Dobbin eating the grain, he may not have the characteristic
camped-out in front, underslung feet. He just may be reluctant
to move, but he has a pounding pulse and he has a heart rate that's
higher than normal. Respiration may be elevated, he may or may
not have a temperature. He may have 102.5
temperature, which seems to be a kickoff point for severe founder
or severe laminitis, we don't know why, but those are just some
statistics we've gathered together. The veterinarian takes the
temperature. He calls back and says, "It's 102.3 or 102.5,
nothing to be worried about." But that is something to worry
about, that particular temperature range. If the farrier is not
there, you say "Leave the shoe on, take the shoe off, but
put some frog support on him." Dr. Redden has a Lily pad
you can tape on. Or you can take outdoor carpet, cut it out to
fit the frog and stack it up so that you have about 3/8 of an
inch of frog support below the bearing surface of the wall, and
tape it to the frog until the farrier can get there. We put heartbars
on them that day if we can get to them, or the next day. Take
x-rays -- we seem to have good luck with that.
ANVI: Do you draw blood and take a panel at the
BURNEY: If we think the horse is real sick and
he has 102.5 fever then we try to run a blood chemistry on him
which is called an SMA-20. In the past it has been my experience
that the veterinarian went out, saw the horse, and he called it
a foundered horse. He gave it Bute and things went along pretty
good for 15 or 20 days and then the horse blew up. When he blew
up, they said it refoundered; it didn't refounder.That's when
it did founder, that's when everything turned loose, when
the abscess started. And then they tend to say, "It's not
bad enough to put frog support on or a heartbar shoe." Well,
why not put it on? It's certainly bad enough when it gets to laying
down to put on a heartbar shoe or frog support. Why don't you
put it on before then to try to keep it from happening?
ANVI: In the case that you worked on this morning
I noticed that you had a heartbar shoe on that horse but you also
had a protection plate, or hospital plate. And you also were instructing
the people in the use of certain chemicals in the process. The
first thing you did was pick up the foot and unscrew the hospital
plate, take out the gauze packing, and then scrape away the proliferation
of necrotic tissue.
BURNEY: What we had was a prolapse of the solar
corium. This would be approximately five days old from that solar
corium when the old horny sole just fell out of the foot. It was
loose the 15th of last month, according to the radiographs. We
took radiographs before. You do all of this radiographically so
that you know where you are because the veterinarian, the owner,
or the farrier can't tell what is going on inside of that hoof
capsule. So we took x-rays 30 days ago, 15 days ago, and then
again this morning.Yesterday when we worked on this horse, he
had a prolapse of the solar corium. The old sole had fallen out
and part of the solar corium had protruded through the horny sole.
Here it is sticking down about 1/2 inch. If you put any pressure
on that, it's very painful to the horse, and he's going to lay
down. He can't stand on it. Or if you put too much pressure on
it right in that area, you're really going to compromise the blood
supply to the circumflex vein and artery. So what we do is try
to reduce this swelling of the solar corium, and the reason for
the hospital plate is so that nothing will push against that area
and cause pain. The vet keeps the horse on medication to guard
against infection and dirt. The bedding can't push the bandage
up against that area and cause pain. That's why the hospital plate
ANVI: I noticed that the horse traveled real
well afterwards. One thing I was curious about, though, is the
caustic powder. Could you explain the process that you went through.
BURNEY: Copper sulphate powder is the basic ingredient
in all caustic powders. You have some that are more wicked or
stronger. You can use 100% copper sulphate, and it's very caustic.
I mean it will really burn, especially if it's moist. But this
is probably 60% copper sulphate that we used this morning. We're
trying to reduce the swelling or the exuberant granulation tissue,
to reduce that to where it gets back down below the epithelial
cell line of the normal solar corium because with proud flesh
or exuberant granulation tissue anywhere in the body, the epithelial
cell will grow up against the exuberent tissues, but the skin
won't grow over that so you have to cut that off. The same in
the bottom of a horse's foot. If it has protruded
below that epithelial cell development line with the horny sole,
the horny sole will never cover it again. So you have to reduce
ANVI: That's why you use the copper sulphate.
BURNEY: We could have cauterized it with a hot
cautery, we could have frozen it back with a liquid nitrogen,
or we could have used a surgical device, which is a blade that
cuts and cauterizes behind it because all that tissue is very
vascular and bleeds very prolifically.If you can reduce it without
a lot of hemorrhage, you're better off because you have an owner
standing there. Just get it reduced in the least painful way that
you can without letting a lot of hemorrhage or blood out because
people panic at the sight of blood.
ANVI: In the particular case that we witnessed
today, you had already doctored the horse the day before and so
we brought the horse up and took the hospital plate off and you
scraped away . . .
BURNEY: What we would call the scab, like peeling
the scab off of a wound. What you have done is cauterized it so
a part of that tissue is dead.
ANVI: And this tissue that you're talking about
is actually an extension of the solar corium.
BURNEY: Solar corium comes from the third phalanx,
it's grown off the third phalanx, but the bone itself did not
protrude through the sole. Radiographically P3 is basically where
it's going to be and is supposed to be under normal conditions.
But due to the swelling and the horny sole all of a sudden being
opened, then that swollen solar corium protrudes through that.
Then it can become exuberant like proud flesh. We cauterized it
yesterday with a caustic powder and it formed a scab,
and we peeled the scab off today, that made it a millimeter or
half a millimeter less sticking through so we reduced it one millimeter
by scraping the scab off. Then we put more caustic powder on it
and tomorrow morning or this evening, when we take it off, hopefully
it reduces it another half to one millimeter until we get it back
down flush -- like a normal horse's foot. It will be smooth or
basically concave, not convex like it was today.
ANVI: At that point do you use betadine or sugardine?
BURNEY: I would recommend using sugardine then,
which some people call a quack remedy but it's not. It's used
extensively in human medicine.I've written a paper on sugardine
and it's documented in human medicine in scientific journals.
It's just a mixture of plain, white granulated table sugar and
a good quality betadine solution or betadine scrub.
It won't blister or anything. We have raw tissue and we want something
that's very compatible to infantile tissue. With some antibiotics,
bacteria won't live in them, but they are also anti-healing. In
other words, infantile tissue won't heal very fast with it. The
sugar is hydroscopic; it draws fluids to it. There are very few
bacteria that can live in the pH medium of sugar, and also the
sugar is very compatible with infantile tissue, which is raw flesh.
The betadine is just kind of a mild, carrying agent to keep the
sugar in place. That's why we use sugardine. We used to use something
like 7% or 10-20% iodine.
ANVI: Twenty percent! That would eat the bottle!
BURNEY: Oh, yes, it does. It will eat the lid
off of the bottle, but we did use that years ago. And some of
those horses made it. We didn't realize it, but it killed some
of them. We'd say, "Boy, we dried that up right quick,"
but we dried it up on the outside, and every wound has to heal
from the inside to the outside.
ANVI: So 7% would kill it on the outside only.
BURNEY: Then you end up with all of these abscess
problems. You just kept having abscesses because you seared it
over on the outside.
ANVI: Burney, what do you think about the international
relationship of farriers around the world?
BURNEY: I think it's the greatest thing that
has happened in many years. The English/European influence on
America is wonderful, but I think that the American influence
on Europe and England is also wonderful. The world has gotten
smaller with the exchange of knowledge from England and Europe
-- France, Germany and so forth, and say Texas,
California, New York -- it has brought about progress in many
areas between many cultures.
ANVI: Yes, but is it really happening?
BURNEY: Certainly it's happening. How many years
has it been since the first American Farriers contest that you
went to at a convention?
ANVI: Well, Frank Pickell and I went to Denver
BURNEY: How many coal forges were in Denver?
ANVI: Actually there weren't that many competitors,
but the majority were coal forges -- they smoked us out!
BURNEY: Let's just talk about knowledge, progress,
and tradition. Ten years ago, let's go back to Albuquerque in
1979, 80 percent of the people there had a coal forge. When was
the convention in Valley Forge? It was after Albuquerque. It was
colder than a witch's tit. It was dry outside and they had this
thing in a big old coliseum. The smoke was so thick that if you
were more than two feet high, you were going to get asphyxiated,
so you crawled around on your knees. And gas forges -- well, you
couldn't do anything with a gas forge. Now you go somewhere where
there used to be 80 percent coal forges
and now there are 80 percent gas forges. We have a few diehards
who still have coal forges. The neatest form of energy, other
than nuclear energy, is natural gas. When I was a kid, living
on a ranch in west Texas in the middle of an oil field, we flared
natural gas. The whole world was lit up with fire every night
and all day. We flared the natural gas because we had no market.
It's the cleanest-burning fossil fuel known to man. We had butane
branding-iron fires that replaced wood fires. You could get a
piece of metal red hot. I had a butane branding-iron kind of a
forge, and I could melt any piece of steel, but it was made out
of firebrick. We made it at the engineering department at Texas
Tech. But it wouldn't stay together in the back of a truck because
firebrick would fall apart, so I just finally "canned it."
But coal is history. I think every farrier ought to know how to
build handmade shoes, but I think it's antiquated if you're going
to make a living at it. Davy Duckett doesn't make all his shoes
by hand. You can buy all kinds of shoes. We have Diamond shoes,
St. Croix shoes, Breckenridge shoes,
Kerckhaert shoes, Dallmer shoes, Japanese shoes, and many more.
If it's 110 degrees, a farrier is stupid to take a 1/4-inch piece
of bar stock, 3/8 of an inch wide and turn a horseshoe by hand
and try to shoe the Four Sixes ranch horses because you'll never
get the first one shod before it's time to shoe the last one.
I don't care how fast you are. It's stupid because once that shoe
goes on the bottom of that horse's foot, if it fits, it fits --
if you haven't short-shod or overshod him. We have machines that
build 1,000 shoes better than one man can build 1,000 shoes exactly
alike. And no horse's foot is exactly alike, but the pattern is
basically the same. You need to know how to modify. But I don't
know of anybody who still makes all handmade shoes. Diamond presented
the Working Farrier Demonstration to show the versatility of the
keg shoe, and the F.I.A. did a shoe size comparison of 38 different
ANVI: Burney, let me touch on one other subject,
and I know this is going to be covered very well at the 1990 convention
in Lubbock, Texas. I want you to tell me about the ava shunts
in the horse's foot.
BURNEY: You're talking about the arteriovenous
anastomosis. What I could tell you about the arteriovenous anastomosis
I want to leave to a truly wonderful man I really respect who
taught me about the ava's -- Dr. Chris Pollit. But I'll tell you
a little bit to "whet your appetite," and I'll leave
the rest to Dr. Chris Pollit to explain when he speaks at the
convention. Did you ever wonder why a duck's foot did not freeze
solid when he was walking or swimming in ice water? Did you ever
wonder why your
fingers get colder than the rest of your body? How about a rabbit's
ear -- why doesn't it freeze off in the wintertime? Because of
the arteriovenous anastomosis. But anyhow, the ava shunts -- all
mammals have them in their extremities; in their ears, fingers,
toes. Horses have them in their feet, ducks have them in their
feet; that's Mother Nature's mechanism to control the blood supply.
It works like a radiator thermostat in a car. When the water in
the engine gets so hot, the thermostat opens and lets cool water
in from the radiator and hot water circuits that back to the radiator.
There is a study that was done in Egypt but nobody knew why it
happened.They use a horse in Egypt like he's a beast of burden.
They took 25 or 30 beasts of burden, burros and horses. Nothing
wrong with them, they just nerved them so they didn't have any
feeling in the front
feet. And it seems to me in the study that about 35-40 percent
of the feet just came off in a month. They just sloughed their
feet because they nerved them high so there was no nerve feeling
in the foot at all. We're not talking about freezing weather,
we're talking about hot weather in Egypt. So, by that study it
was determined these ava shunts had to have a nerve supply or
they wouldn't work correctly. How many times in your career, Rob,
have you heard somebody say, "Well, we nerved the horse and
his foot came off." Have you ever heard that?
ANVI: Unfortunately I advocated that at one point,
and the vet did it, and the foot came off. So, yes, I'm guilty.
BURNEY: Probably a lot of us have done that,
nobody's pointing a inger, but what we're saying about the blood
supply to the extremities is that it has to have a nerve to control
the avas, or what we call the arteriovenous anastomosis. "Anastomosis"
means come together. Two rivers, one river comes and runs into
another river. Those two rivers anastomose. "Arterio"
means artery; venous means veins, so arterio-venous anastomosis
means that the artery as a vein basically kind of comes together
and then kind of goes apart again. That's where the terminology
comes from. I would rather that somebody who has really done a
lot more study than I have speak on this problem, and that's Dr.
Pollit who's coming to Lubbock in 1990. If you want to see something
new and something that's basically simple and scientific (he has
some slides that will "blow the simplest person's mind and
also the greatest scientific minds"), you ought to come and
listen to him.
ANVI: So you think his dissertation is going
to reveal a lot of things we've been thinking about but we haven't
really been able to document up to this point.
BURNEY: I think that Dr. Leach in Canada and
also Dr. Hood from Texas A & M have done a lot on this subject,
but they don't talk aboutit very much -- only about Dr. Hood's
studies. Dr. Leach lectures to some farriers, and I think he has
done some really remarkable work. If we get Dr. Pollit, Dr. Hood,
Dr. Leach together, along with some innovative farriers and some
other veterinarians, I think we'll go forward.
ANVI: Burney, you and I talked earlier today
about the fact that farriers and veterinarians are trying to work
together on therapeutic cases. Do you think this is mandatory
to get the horse back into a
BURNEY: In my opinion, yes. Dr. Bill Moyers and
Dr. Ric Redden are very knowledgeable in farriery science and
veterinary medicine. They are the ultimate. On the other hand,
we have a few farriers who are knowledgeable also. In the medium
between the real knowledgeable vet-erinarian and the farrier we
have the intermediate farrier and the
intermediate veterinarian. Here's a hypothetical example: Let's
take a veterinarian who's in Northwestern Kansas, and he has a
practice that's partly cattle, mainly dogs and cats, small animals
-- say 50-75 percent small animals. In the wintertime he basically
has a cattle practice, maybe 25 percent; then he has maybe a 25
percent "equine practice." Now this guy doesn't
even own an x-ray machine that's portable. He doesn't even own
an x-ray machine in his small animal clinic. If somebody's dog
gets run over by a John Deere tractor, the farmer just shoots
the dog. He doesn't bring him in to fix the broken leg.
This veterinarian doesn't know who Bill Moyer, George Platt, Ric
Redden,Burney Chapman, Myron McLane, or Richard Sheehan are. You
arrive in Northwestern Kansas, you're the farrier, and you say,
"Where are the x-rays?" And the answer is "Why
I ain't x-rayed a horse's foot since I got out of college, and
I don't own an x-ray machine." "Doc, what are we going
to do about this horse?" "Well, I don't know, but I'll
put a shoe on him backwards, that's what I learned." I said,
that's what you already have on him and we're in trouble."
Dr. Redden wouldn't do that. Dr. Redden carries his x-ray machine,
but, hypothetically, if Burney Chapman came up there with his
own portable x-ray machine, this guy who called me doesn't care.
The vet is glad to see somebody with an x-ray machine. I take
the pictures and tell the veterinarian to read the radiograph
and he says, "Well, you know, that toe bone looks like it's
falling out of the bottom of the foot." That's just really
what happens. The people that you and I are associated with and
the veterinary profession that goes to these meetings, they really
don't get associated with those kind of people too much. I don't
either, but they're out there.
ANVI: The thing is that we pawn them off on our
protegees, our apprentices, and so it perpetuates the situation.
We should cut it off right at that point and say, "Look,
folks, either you cater to the horse's best benefit as we see
it or we are not going to continue to service you."
BURNEY: I'll tell you what's going to happen
next. Someone will say, "These good kind of horses don't
end up in Northwestern Kansas." Well, let me give you a story;
the names will be changed to protect the innocent. We're going
to talk about a great Quarter Horse mare that ended upat a small
Western town horse show. And at this show the horse came
up desperately lame -- laying down, dying lame. The vet came out
with his horseshoer. They nailed four horseshoes on this horse
backwards, and the horse laid down and wouldn't stand up. After
60 days, the phone rings, and it's a friend of mine. He called
and he needed some help. He was in over his head. He asked if
we could come and help. So I talked with the people who owned
the horse, and they said, "Please come, money is no object."
So I go up there. I fly all day, and I get into this little Western
country town. I get there with my friend. The weather is bad,
dead of winter, and it's in the mountains. The veterinarian is
there and says, "I know more about laminitis and I know more
about this and I know more about that," and I said, "Well,
sir, maybe you just haven't been back to school lately."
And he says, "Well, I went to school under the guy who wrote
the book on this." And I said, "Who was it?" And
he told me. This went on for about two hours of arguing, and the
horse is laying down there dying. And so I said, "Why don't
you call this veterinarian that you went to school with that you
learned all this from." So he says he will. I'm tired, I
go to the motel and go to bed. When we came back the next morning,
they had the coffee on, they had doughnuts, milk, anything we
wanted, and asked if we needed anything else.
We went out to the stall. The mare was laying there and we started
working on her feet. The vet had x-rays, new ones. His farrier
was sitting over in the corner and everybody was quiet. My friend
and I were working on the mare. The farrier's wife is taking pictures.
The farrier says, "Boy, a bad case, a bad case -- all four
feet." And you just reach in there and grab a handful of
. . . out of its feet. I mean this is recorded on film! And so
this vet's farrier says, "May I help you?" And I said,
"Sure, could you hold this leg?" Then everybody kind
of walked off and left and he said, "Gee, this is kind of
interesting." And I said, "Well, God darn, what happened?
Last night you and your vet were vehemently against this."
And he said,
"Well, we called Dr. so-and-so and he told us to 'Sit down,
shut up, and we might learn something.'" The mare grew four
new feet, gained weight and went home, even though she was never
again 100% sound.
ANVI: Well, Burney, this lesson about learning
from one another is certainly a proper note to end this interview.
Thank you -- not only for this exchange, but for all you have
given to fellow farriers, veterinarians, owners, and especially
to the horse.Interview
with Burney Chapman Part II
by Rob Edwards
Published in the October 1989 Issue of Anvil Magazine