Applied Equine Podiatry
A truly Holistic Approach to Holistic Hoof Care
Applied Equine Podiatry or AEP is defined as:
"The conscientious study of the equine foot, always striving to expose it to proper environmental stimuli, making every effort to promote proper structure and function, as we attempt to achieve high performance"
From the book "The Chosen Road" by KC La Pierre, founder of the Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry.
What is AEP?
It is an Applied Science based upon theories developed by KC LaPierre which identify an appropriate model and applied using the HPT method following evaluation of foot and hoof health using the spectrum of usability. It is proactive in nature and therefore demands a holistic approach where the horse’s needs are best met. Photo source:
Theories: Suspension Theory of Hoof Dynamics, the Internal Arch Theory, the High Performance Trim Model and Energetics.
Model: the domestic horse (not the wild horse/hoof model which is proven to be pathological)
HPT: High Performance Trim method; a DAEP’S ‘tool’ which is applied using knowledge of AEP. (the ‘how to’ bit which is based on the ‘why’!)
Spectrum of usability: another DAEP’s ‘tool’ which is a method of proper evaluation utilizing theory of AEP which acknowledges weak structures and helps recognise what environmental stimulus is required for health.
Proactive: the opposite to reactive and aims always to promote health and welfare of the horse by preventing wherever possible loss of health and performance.
Holistic: the whole of the horse’s health is considered on a physical, psychological and even a spiritual level.
The Philosophies & Principles of AEP
1. Structure + Function = Performance
2. The horse has the innate ability to heal itself, provided that the environment is conducive to healing
3. Correct pressure is the stimulus for correct growth
4. Utilize time as a dimension in the positive treatment of the equine foot
5. DO NO HARM
(You would think that DO NO HARM would come first on the list. It is only when the previous 4 principles are understood, that DO NO HARM can be implemented.)
The background to AEP
Applied Equine Podiatry was founded by KC La Pierre RJF MEP. He had been a practicing farrier for 23 years and also an owner/trainer of record breaking harness racing horses. In response to his frustration at seeing deterioration in many shod horses across the USA (which he recognised was also common worldwide), he started to ask the most profound but simple of questions: WHY were horses foot health deteriorating over time when shod?
This led to 3 simple but profound questions:
1. Has anatomical function of the equine foot been defined in its entirety?
2. If so, has the stimulus responsible for proper function been defined?
3. If so, do current treatments of the equine foot promote proper stimulus?
The video here is from Youtube and features KC LaPierre discussing locating the hoof axis. Source:
Structure + Function = Performance
KC found that the veterinary sciences and the farriery trade had failed to answer these simple questions. The increasingly popular barefoot movement had also failed to answer these questions and made the application of their theories impractical; their model was based on the wild horse and not the domestic horse, which lives in an entirely different environment and is therefore subject to different environmental stimulus.
KC then went on to study the equine foot and defined the structures in the foot; the function of these structures, and what stimulus was required for the health of these structures.
The formula which evolved from these studies is:
STRUCTURE + FUNCTION = PERFORMANCE.
AEP Educational Courses
The Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry (IAEP) runs 5 day educational and DAEP qualification courses in AEP suitable for the conscientious horse owner, professionals, farriers and vets. There are normally 2 or 3 every year in the UK. The Institute’s founder KC La Pierre teaches the 5 day courses.
The Institute also sponsor Horse Owner Courses in AEP and these are hosted by DAEP's or supporters of AEP and run by IAEP Qualified Instructors who are also DAEP's. For details on these and to book a place on a course, please visit the Institutes website.
Code of Ethics
Alumni members of the Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry are required to sign a declaration on a Code of Ethics which they promise to abide by. An Alumni member carries the title MIAEP after their name.
Holistic Reflections Team Leader Beccy is an active Alumni member of the IAEP.
Does my horse need AEP?
Before deciding what route you choose for your horse's hoof care, ask yourself these basic questions:
1. What is the effect of adopting or using ‘x’ method or trim on my horse’s hoof and foot structures?
2. AND therefore what is the effect on the functionality of those structures?
3. AND therefore, what is the effect on the performance of the foot and hoof as a result???
If you want to learn more about how we can help you and your horse, contact us. we're here to help!