Subjects you will study as a future Equine Podiotherapist

Distal Limb studies: Lecturer: Professor Robert Bowker - leader of Michigan University's Equine Hoof Laboratory team.  

  • Distal limb functional anatomy:
  • Advanced structural morphologies of the equine hoof & distal limb specifically:
  • Osteoporosis as it affects navicular syndrome. 
  • The sensory receptors role in hoof function & the distal limb;  
  • Growth & development of the foal hoof;
  • Radiographic examination of hoof;
  • Feral horses;
  • Locomotion & biomechanics in the domestic horse; normal & abnormal
  • Navicular syndrome rehabilitation;
  • Hoof pathologies;
  • Musculo-skeletal system - stay apparatus - dysfunctions.
  • Doppler ultrasound studies and flow through the foot-variations with surface growth of the hoof wall;
  • Adaptive capabilities of the hoof wall;
  • The frog as a neurosensory organ;
  • Sensory control of the foot: importance to the horse; effects of imbalances.
  • Bad posture/learned adapatations and rehabilitation strategies to overcome these.
  • Ground surfaces/envoronment as they affect the hoof;
  • Rumours, myths and truths about the foot.
  • Current research in general.

Practical Hoof Care & TheoryTriming strategies for professional hoof care.  Andrew Bowe brings his vast knowledge from 30 years of experience as a Master Farrier & now Equine Podiotherapist to the classroom.

  • Trimming for rehabilitation.
  • Trimming variations for specific pathological problems.
  • Trimming dysfunctional hooves - overcoming gross deformities.
  • The domestic bare hoof trimming for specific environmental conditions.
  • Rehabilitative Hoof Care Practices. 
  • Care and treatment strategies for total rehabilitation.
  • Overcoming the physiological effects of horse shoeing.
  • Hoof deformation process & reversal techniques.
  • Advanced rehabilitation for founder & navicular cases.
  • Traditional correcting shoeing - its aims and implications.
  • Dealing with laminitis cases - chronic & accute treatment.

Equine Biology:  (Distance Learning Module) Modules include: Cells and Tissue, the Skin, The Skeletal System, the Muscular System, the Nervous System, the Circulatory System, the Respiratory System, the Lymphatic System, the Digestive System, the Urinary System, the Endocrine System, the Nervous System.

Veterinary Aspects of Professional Hoof Care: A veterinarian gives an overview of the way vets and podiotherapists are able to work together on serious cases.

Assessing lameness techniques & observation skills. The role of the professional hoof care provider in relation to Veterinary Legislation - where the boundaries are. Understanding radiographs,Musculo-skeletal adaptations due to hoof issues identifying lameness & movement variations, altered biomechanics & gait adaptations from hoof dysfunction. Overview of Veterinary Chiropractic manipulations & other therapies in relation to rehabilitation.

Biomechanics & the musculo-skeletal system:  Secondary issues that arise from long term hoof issues; equine locomotion -  whats normal whats not; muscular asymmetry & issues in horses with high/low syndrome; strategies for total rehabilitation. Skeletal joint abnormalities. The role of the hoof in the  equine stay apparatus and reciprocal apparatus dysfunctions affecting the hock and stifle. Learning tactile skills & ways of protecting your own body in a demanding physically challenging career. 

Nutrition as it affects the hoof: The equine diet - why you need to feed a horse like a horse!  Basic equine nutrition needs as they relate to hoof health. 

Insulin resistance in the equine,pastures in Australia, nutrition for debilitated horses, alternative feeds. Myth busting in relation to equine feeding. Feeding the debilitated horse.

Hoof Boots for Rehabilitation and Competition: Therapeutic uses of hoof boots & fitting adaptations for asymmetrical hooves. All the current hoof boots available in Australia are discussed and students have hands on training in fitting.  

Advanced horse handling practices. Horse handling techniques specifically relating to hoof care workers. Taught by a professional natural trainer.

Occupational Issues: The many and varied occuapational and health & safety issues that you may encounter in your career as an Equine Podiotherapist. 

Practice Management:   Small Business Management. Legalities of Equine Podiotherapy, Professional Report Writing, Insurance for Professional Trimmers, Clinic practice - effective business, Building your business in the 21st Century, Public Speaking made easy so you are able to confidently talk to groups of horse owners or conduct your own workshops. 

Equine First Aid: Common injuries and ailments - how to treat and manage, vital signs - what they are and how to assess, first aid treatment of wounds, management of equine illnesses and injuries.  Handling distressed or injured horses.  

Accreditation Offered: On the successful completion of this course you will be awarded a Diploma of Equine Podiotherapy and may use the title of Equine Podiotherapist in your practice and advertising. You will also qualify for membership with the Equine Podiotherapists Association and have access to ongoing learning and networking with other Podiotherapists.  The Diploma Course is currently undergoing National Accreditation.  

What you will NOT learn! You will NOT leave the Equine Podiotherapy course with a one size fits all approach to your work.   Trimming based on that premise is set to fail and most horses with serious hoof problems fall far outside those parameters .... and these are the horses that most need your help!

But you WILL learn a paradigm based in equine orthopaedics and based on equine anatomy studies.

Course Pre-requisites: None!  But you must be over 18 years of age to participate and willing to study and undertake case histories as part of your course.

Because this career path is so very new and those who are seeking to obtain education come from a wide cross section of the community, male and female, young and old, the course developers felt that to set prerequisites based on previous education/experience was unfair and would prevent many people who are passionate about hoofcare from attending.

Career Opportunities: The sky is your limit! This training opens up a huge field of work.  In Australia at present the demand for properly trained natural hoof care specialists far exceeds the supply.  It is impossible to meet the demand for Equine Podiotherapists at this time!

In a world of shrinking careers your horizons in natural hoof care are limitless! Your skills will even take you outside this country if that is what you wish.

Master Classes/Seminars: These are held once a year and these ongoing learning opportunities are offered to those who have studied Equine Podiotherapy.  The guest lecturers are drawn from those who are working at the cutting edge of equine hoof care and research.  

How is the course delivered? The course is delivered in four bocks of practical "face to face" sessions and lectures, with distance learning modules in between.

Where? Practical Sessions are based at the campus at Mayfield Bare Hoof Centre at Yarck in Victoria. A working equine rehabilitation centre for seriously foundered  horses.  Practical trimming is also undertaken at various studs and centres in the surrounding area so the students gain experience and see a vast number of varying cases.  A good range of accommodation for students is available near the venue in Alexandra, Yarck and the surrounding area and there is "The Bunkhouse" (below) accommodation at the property which is part of Mayfield farm.  Camping is also available with shower and toilet facilities.

Fees:  The total price for the Diploma is $ 6,100 and a deposit of $500 is required. The balance is payable in four equal payments of $1,400 and payments are due three weeks prior to the commencement of each block.

What else will you need? Students need to supply their own trimming gloves & farrier aprons and it is a condition of the college insurance that students must wear an approved (Australian Standards) safety riding helmet during the handling of live horses.  Loan tools are available from the college for interstate/overseas students but if you are travelling by car please bring your own if you can.

A police check is also required, the forms will be sent to you prior to commencement of the course and a representative from our RTO will complete the check on the first day.

When? One course per year.  The first block usually commences in February. Please consider booking early (even the year before) as the course usually fills very quickly and places are limited because of the hands on nature of this training.

The bunkhouse
Students in the home paddock