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Equine Research


In 1988, the American Farrier’s Association™ established a research foundation to seek out and financially support research projects that contribute to the scientific body of knowledge about the foot, lameness, and locomotion. Through annual grants and the generous individual support of members and the horse-owning public, the AFA continues to fund new research.

At the end of 2016, the committee – under the direction of Doug Russo, CJF, AWCF of Iowa State University, and farrier Katie Panos, BS, CJF, started to build a new program in which a farrier is paired with an academic mentor to carry out a small research program through a grant awarded from the research fund.

The first grant to an AFA member was awarded to Travis Burns, CJF,EE,TE,FWCF in 2018. He is using the funds to research crack repair options for performance horses.

Supporting researchers is just one more way the AFA is giving farriers in the industry an opportunity to be a care giving organization. Please consider the AFA Equine Research Foundation when you are offering condolences to a client or friend. Your support is helping farriers help others.

To learn more about Equine Research and to participate in the grants program please contact committee chairman, Doug Russo, CJF, AWCF


A New research initiative

Doug Russo, CJF, AWCF of Iowa State University has been the chair of the research committee since 2016 and teamed up with farrier Katie Panos, BS, CJF who has been involved in biologic research for the past 9 years at institutions like Michigan State University and Boston Children’s Hospital, to awaken our dormant research program.  The American Farriers Association has had a research fund for 20 years but it has been difficult to get anything off the ground without the combined experience of Russo and Panos.  Starting in December 2016, the two actively made plans for a grant system that allows farriers to produce research that is sophisticated enough to be read in veterinary and research circles and makes an impact on our everyday shoeing. There are also plans in the works to get clinics going in research topics such as reading scientific literature, data collection and study design, and grants.  Since then three grants have been awarded.


The main focus of the committee is to be able to use the money that the AFA has been collecting for research for 20 years.  It was important to both that farriers were an active part of the research studies generated.  To do this, they plan to have a two-tier application system in which a farrier submits an idea for a study.  The research committee will screen submissions and choose projects to match up with a researcher, veterinarian or experienced farrier mentor that can help them design a study to submit for a grant award, and help them through the process of data collection if they are awarded money. One or two projects will be awarded money each year by a separate grant review committee made up of veterinarians and researchers.  At the end of the grant timeline, farrier-mentor teams will submit their work for presentation at either a veterinary conference or to submit to a scientific journal.  They will also be required to write up a separate article that any farrier can read and understand to be published in a farrier forum, such as the AFA Newsletter, 'No Foot, No Horse', or presented at a farrier conference such as the AFA Convention.   Farriers will be encouraged to help their mentor build on any continuing research that their study started. They hope to have this large project up and running by late 2020.  The response from the veterinarians and researchers that the committee has approached have been overwhelmingly positive and supportive. 


The secondary focus is educating farriers in the scientific method and in physiology.  The goal of these clinics is to help future applicants to the research grants but to also help farriers converse with veterinarians and researchers better.  They also hope to get farriers reading scientific articles that help them with their everyday practice, especially when it comes to therapeutic work.  This focus is to make this process less intimidating to farriers.  The study doesn’t have to be big, fancy, and carried out in a laboratory to be effective and lead to great information that furthers the industry.  The small-scale studies are very important at this stage in the equine hoof topic and small and simple can be sophisticated.   


The committee knows that this is a very large endeavor and they would like to add to the team.  If you are interested in helping with the research committee or applying for a grant, please contact the committee at 603-660-8126 or