Conference Brings Veterinarians and Farriers Together to Battle Laminitis

Veterinarians and farriers understand the diagnosis of laminitis is devastating for the horse owner. Despite the progress the equine industry has made in trying to uncover the causes and best practices in addressing and managing laminitis, so much remains unknown.

To further this understanding and unite the two professions on the front lines of helping horses recover from laminitis, Equine Soundness Professionals (ESP) has launched the Laminitis and Podiatry Conference. The inaugural event will be held October 11-12 at the Kennett Square Country Club in Kennett Square, Pa.

ESP founder and farrier David Gilliam was inspired to create this event after recognizing how the teamwork with veterinarians in his own practice has benefited the horses suffering from laminitis and other lamenesses.

“As veterinarians and farriers, it is crucial for us to come together to learn the latest research and successful theories and techniques for laminitis prevention and treatment,” says Gilliam. “We assembled a roster featuring many of the top minds in research and practical approaches in treating laminitis. Some of the material we’ll share at the conference has yet to be published. Furthermore, we recognize the value of networking and will use these 2 days to provide a platform for both professions to build better relationships with their colleagues. The goal of this conference is to leave with fresh perspectives and help our equine friends at home.”

The speaker lineup includes:

Dr. Christopher Pollitt (BVCs, PhD) from the University of Queensland, Australia

  • “Milestones of Laminitis Research”
  • “The Foot Mechanism Revisited”
  • “Reverse Engineering: Building the Hoof from the Cell Up”
  • “Chronic Laminitis: The Enemy Beneath”

​ Dr. Andrew Van Eps (BVCs, Phd, DACVIM) of the University of Pennsylvania

  • “Lamellar Microdialysis: Myth Busting Blood Flow Theories in Laminitis”
  • “The Power of Distal Limb Cooling”

​ Dr. Raul Bras (DVM, CJF) of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, in Lexington, Ky.

  • “Practical Podiatry Approaches for the Laminitic Horse, Part 1”
  • “Practical Podiatry Approaches for the Laminitic Horse, Part 2”

​ Dr. Amy Rucker (DVM) of Midwest Equine in Columbia, Mo.

  • “A Tribute to My Laminitis Heroes: My Approach to Laminitis Treatments Based on Advancements in Research, Part 1”
  • “A Tribute to My Laminitis Heroes: My Approach to Laminitis Treatments Based on Advancements, in Research- Part 2”

Pat Reilly, Chief of Farrier Services at New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania

  • "Mechanical Considerations for the Laminitic Foot"

Dr. Courtney Lewis (DVM) of Petaluma Equine in Petaluma, Calif.

  • “Veterinarian and Farrier Case Presentations and Panel Discussions”

Daisy Bicking (APF-I) of the Daisy Haven School of Integrated Hoofcare in Parkesburg, Pa.

  • “The Farrier’s Role in Laminitis Rehabilitation”

The conference also will feature a dinner honoring Dr. Donald Walsh, a pioneer in the field of laminitis research, who recently retired as head of the Animal Health Foundation. Dr. Walsh is the first recipient of the ESP Champion Award.

The industry leaders sponsoring this inaugural event include Boehringer Ingelheim, Dechra, Groom’s Hand, Gulf Coast Equine Hospital, MacKinnon Products, Soft Ride, Sound Horse Technologies, and Well-Shod.

Equine Soundness Professionals (ESP) is a professional organization made up of veterinarians and farriers whose practices focus on podiatry and lameness. The mission of this organization is to facilitate and encourage collaboration between the two professions to better prevent and treat lameness by sharing knowledge, research, and experience; providing a forum to discuss lameness cases; and promoting evidence-based practices.

For further information about this event, remaining sponsorship opportunities or media inquiries, contact Dave Gilliam at (214) 907-3380 or email The conference website is




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