The Epona Story
John and I never intended to go into the horse business. It just happened as a providential accident 30 years ago when I purchased my first horse after finishing college. Although Smirnoff successfully passed his veterinarian pre-purchase exam, he started to have chronic lameness issues practically from the beginning.
Smirnoff’s lameness problem was odd since it was not really random. It showed up almost always into the third week of shoeing. His behavior was also strange. Smirnoff has always been a very reasonable stallion but going into the third week of shoeing, he become very sensitive to the girth and would start bucking under saddle. Smirnoff seemed to be chronically sore in his right pectoral muscle. It also seemed to me that his right front hoof seemed to get more twisted towards the lateral side after this period of time.
His right accessory ligament to the deep digital flexor tendon started to show signs of stress (swelling) into week 3 of shoeing. All this was very puzzling and frustrating to me.
After two years of running the gambit through different shoeing methods and different veterinarian opinions, I found myself running out of solutions to helping my horse and keeping him sound and in regular work. The alternative was keeping my horse as a pasture ornament and this was not a satisfactory option. Smirnoff was checked and doubled checked and no one could find anything seriously wrong. Most experts recommended that I should sell the horse and get a new one.
I felt that it was my responsibility to help this horse and I took it upon myself to learn as much as I could about the hoof. I started my quest for answers by attending farrier conventions and lectures on the hoof. I went to the library and researched articles on the hoof and equine biomechanics. I bought books on any topics that were related or could help with understanding the hoof - books on evolution, biomaterials, biomechanics, cell biology, etc. Any type of learning process is marred by trial and error. It is unavoidable. I did try a lot of ideas, made some mistakes, but finally evolved my own theory on trimming and shoeing.
Today we find ourselves being asked to speak around the country at prestiges universities and equine community events and clinics. Our home and ranch in Paso Robles hosts 12 horses that have been shod for 13 years in our facility. We open our doors to hold an annual clinic at the ranch and we are thrilled to see new faces blend in with what has now become the EponaShoe network... or as we like to describe ourselves as the Enlightened Horsemen.
It has been a great journey and we look forward to connecting with you if you are interested in our products, shoes, clinics or information. Please feel free to contact us.
To get an idea of what Monique and John enjoy thinking and talking about, you might be interested to watch these lectures. Each year we each give a guest lecture in the Equine Biomechanics class taught at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California. Monique gives a general overview of the horse and the hoof, and John presents several topics in biomechanics.