Farrier, Lameness Specialist
For the past 14 years, I have worked as a farrier in northern Colorado, working with horses ranging from backyard pets to high performance horses across disciplines. In 2007 I received my Lameness Specialist Certification from the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization (ELPO) and have had great success in turning around lame horses and helping them become sound. I have been the president of the ELPO since 2012, running clinics and certification programs for other hoof care professionals.
Shortly after receiving my Lameness Specialist Certification, I was asked to assess a lame zebra at the Denver Zoo, opening the door for me to work with a variety of captive exotic hoofstock. I have been Denver Zoo's farrier ever since.
In 2013, I was contacted by Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (CMZ) in Colorado Springs, CO to assess a moose with a cracked hoof. After one trimming, the crack in the hoof had improved significantly and I was asked to evaluate the Zoo's giraffe herd. This resulted in the establishment of a voluntary hoof work training program for CMZ's giraffe, and I have been trimming the giraffes' hooves once a month ever since. The work being done at CMZ has demonstrated the need for developing a hoof trimming protocol for giraffe so that information can be shared with other zoo professionals and institutions to better the husbandry care provided. Because the animals in zoos have such an important job as ambassadors for conservation, I feel it is our responsibility to continue to monitor, question, educate, and improve upon our practices when it comes to the animals' wellbeing in captivity. The opportunity to study the form and function of wild giraffe feet will provide valuable insight into how we maintain our captive herds.