Meet Matt Humpage, Energy Equine’s In-House Farrier.
Matt Humpage, of Iron Force Farrier Services, has been an associate of Energy Equine for the last two years. Matt’s passion for podiatry, working alongside veterinarians and owners, and tackling hard-to-diagnose cases has made him an incredible asset to our team. He has recently transitioned to working as our in-house farrier, and is available to assist Energy Equine veterinarians on podiatry cases, as well as work on client horses at the clinic.
Matt is a third-generation farrier, both his grandfather and uncle were what he calls “untrained farm farriers.” As a kid, right from the beginning, he was always around them and although he became a mechanic first, (making him undeniably handy to have around!), he always wanted to be a farrier.
In 2007 he enrolled in the Shur Shod Horseshoeing School in Grovespring, Missouri and by 2011 he was working full-time as a farrier. His interest in sports medicine-focused podiatry was sparked by multiple cases where the recommendation was to keep the same set of shoes on, despite the fact the horses’ soundness was declining. These cases pushed him to begin learning more about the trade, and what farriers could do to help equine athletes that were struggling with podiatry issues. He began travelling with and learning from top podiatrists in the United States, such as Dr. Matt Wimer of Ranchland Forge and Dr. Raul Bras from Rood & Riddle, as well as Brian Barret, Certified Journeyman Farrier (CJF), and has continued to do so, since then.
Since then, Matt says that he has pushed strongly to work solely on soundness and lameness cases. He has focused on continuing education, he was originally certified through the Brotherhood of Working Farriers Certification Program and is currently in the process of completing the American Farrier’s Association (AFA) Certified Journeyman Farrier program. The AFA program is peer-reviewed and is a standardized set of rules and regulations that are recognized in both the USA, Canada and Europe. Matt explains that the AFA program focuses on anatomy, forging capabilities, horsemanship capabilities and the farrier’s ability to communicate the work they are doing on the horse to clients and other equine staff. Matt is in the process of challenging his CJF, and is committed to a continued focus on education from there.
Matt is clearly passionate about the farrier trade, overall, but says that he has a keen interest in both navicular and founder cases. Especially in situations where people have all but given up on the horse, and the vet-farrier team has been able to bring them back to where they can be functional again.
When asked to describe his role in the team approach to equine wellness, he says, “The way I look at it, vets look at what is right now where farriers look at what it can be when they are done. I feel as if I am somewhere in the middle. I look at what the veterinarians see and want to do and understand the confines of modern shoeing. I have a strong background on the mechanics of shoeing and can create the biomechanics of what the veterinarian is wanting insider the farrier world, without putting huge science projects on these horses. We have all kinds of different shoes and tools we can use, glue on shoes, conventional hand-made shoes, modified keg shoes, casted-on shoes, but everything that we do has a lot of effort and science behind it. We aren’t just reaching for an appliance, applying it and calling it done. We are working as a team with the veterinarians, looking at radiographs, and ensuring that what we are doing is moving the horse towards a better quality of life and soundness.”