International Hoof-Care Summit Succeeds With Innovative Format
More than 500 farriers, equine veterinarians and other hoof-care professionals filled the lecture halls and meeting rooms of the first annual International Hoof-Care Summit, held Feb. 4 through 7 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The success of the Summit marks a milestone in the equine hoof-care industry because of the event's unusual format.
The Summit broke the traditional structure of hoof-care conferences by eliminating hands-on horseshoeing demonstrations, contests and organizational meetings in favor of a heavy emphasis on education. The large crowd from 40 states and eight foreign countries traded equine foot-care information during more than 47 hours of sessions in large and small groups during the intense four days.
Also breaking convention, the Summit trimmed the trade show portion of the event to six hours over two days, but scheduled those hours when they did not compete for attention with the program's educational sessions. The staff of the 76 trade show exhibits were able to attend the educational sessions, giving the manufacturing representatives a chance to gain insights into hoofcare concerns that they said could lead to new product designs.
"Some people thought the format of the Summit was a gamble," said Frank Lessiter, editor and publisher of American Farriers Journal, the trade publication that hosted the event. "We were confident, though, because a lot of people from all segments of the hoof-care industry had been asking us to arrange something like this. We even surveyed our readers to find out which issues they wanted to focus on. Judging by the attendance and the feedback we've received, the Summit is the kind of event the hoof-care industry really wants."
The Summit drew praise from every portion of the crowd.
Stephen O'Grady, DVM, MRCVS, a prominent equine veterinarian who lead several sessions at the Summit, said, "In the beginning, I thought this meeting could be the wave of the future. But after being through it, I see that it is the wave of the future."
Farrier Eric Wilt said, "It was really a fascinating 4 days... It was pure information, not infomercials to promote products."
Noting that the theme of the Summit was "Shoeing Knowledge Is Power," Lessiter said the event had lived up to its billing by spreading state-of-the-art information among farriers, vets and hoof-care equipment suppliers. "We will do it again next year because this kind of sharing is good for everyone involved and well worth the effort," he said.
The 2005 International Hoof-Care Summit is scheduled for Jan. 26-29 in Cincinnati. For more information about the Summit or to suggest ideas or speakers, contact American Farriers Journal at 800/645-8455 (U.S. only) or 262/782-4480, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.