Dr. Bowker Workshop – April 2008

Dr. Bowker is a researcher and professor at the Michigan State University, USA

Dr. Bowker explaining fibrocartilage in the hoof

Those involved in barefoot hoof care in New Zealand enjoyed the time hearing about his recent studies and how they relate to the rehabilitation of serious hoof conditions. Robert Bowker has been able to spend the last decade and a half studying the function of the equine foot. Much of his research has been on the microscopic level, and through the dissection and study of cadaver hooves, working his way from inside the hoof to the outside.

Participants at the Bowker Seminar in April, 2008

Dr. Bowker feels that the rear of the hoof is possibly the most important area for determining the health of the hoof and is exactly where three of his most well-known studies have focused on:

  • The first was his hemodynamic flow theory, which proposes that blood flow through the network of tiny capillaries in the heel region plays a vital role in dissipating energy in the hoof.
  • Second was his discovery of proprioceptor sensory cells in the heel region, which may transmit information to a horse’s central nervous system and allow him to feel his way across the ground.
  • And third was his study presenting the differences he’s discovered between a “good” foot and a “bad” foot.