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COLLEGE STATION, TX -A certain specialization
that is often overlooked or unknown by many people today is that of
a farrier. A farrier's job is to provide shoes for horses, and to
work on their hoof problems. The Texas A&M College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences does a lot of work on
lame horses, and a big part of treatment for horses' hooves often
requires therapeutic shoeing, and a specialist who knows what to
"For years, Texas A&M has had a farrier contract on an "as
needed" basis" said Dr. Kent Carter, Professor of Equine Lameness
and Chief of Medicine at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary
Medicine Large Animal Hospital. "The problem with this type of
contract is that we don't always know when we are going to need a
farrier and that makes us unable to provide full service to our
One year ago the faculty decided to do more towards pursuing a
full time farrier to provide a better resource for our clients as
well as a better teaching and learning environment for professional
"We set out on a national search for a full-time farrier and
received a tremendous response" said Carter. "There were 30 or 40
applicants who were narrowed down to 12, and finally we interviewed
5 of them. Jason Wilson-Maki had the most outstanding
For Wilson-Maki, there had always been the future goal of
working at a vet hospital. But finding the farrier job opportunity
at the CVM came about by accident.
"My family and I were originally just looking at relocating to a
warmer climate" said Wilson-Maki.
A native of Ohio and a 1997 graduate of the Heartland
Horseshoeing School, Jason was qualified for the job because of his
previous experience and teaching. He also has a double
certification in the American Farrier's Association and the
Farrier's Guild. He showed great enthusiasm about horses and
teaching during his interview and began work at the Texas A&M
College of Veterinary Medicine during October of 2008.
Wilson-Maki feels that one of the greatest benefits of working
as a farrier at a vet hospital, as opposed to being self-employed,
is that working with so many veterinarians eliminates the
guesswork, and is of greater benefit to the horses.
"Having a diagnosis and a prescription reduces the amount of
trial and error required to improve an animal's performance or
soundness" said Wilson-Maki. "Moreover, the direct communication
between the clinicians and myself benefits the animal by reducing
the risk of a miscommunication. If I have any technical or
application concerns, these issues can be discussed. This
facilitates an individualized, comprehensive treatment for the
animal which accomplishes the goals of the attending clinician and
stays in step with the fundamental principles of sound farriery.
This team approach is a great joy for me."
Since such a huge part of an equine veterinarian's career has to
do with providing the physical skills needed to handle problematic
hooves, Wilson-Maki's expertise has taken the veterinary medical
students' education to the next level.
"It has been such an enjoyable experience interacting with the
vet students" said Wilson-Maki, "it is great to be able to see the
light go on in their heads when applying certain aspects that they
have been taught, but have not been able to apply until now. The
students are constantly challenging me with questions that I must
sometimes pause to think about the answer! Working at the CVM has
truly been the best experience of my life."
From enhancing veterinary medical education to providing value
added service for clients, the farrier service at the veterinary
medical teaching hospital has given the clinicians at the CVM
another tool for helping their patients.
"Having a full-time farrier on staff has been extremely
beneficial" said Carter. "We are able to provide a more consistent
and thorough job for clients, as well as a better learning
experience for students pursuing their veterinary degrees."
For more information on the Texas A&M College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at vetmed.tamu.edu.
Angela G. Clendenin
Director, Communications & Public Relations
Ofc - (979) 862-2675
Cell - (979) 739-5718
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843
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