College Adds Farrier Services to Benefit Equine Patients, Students

Feb 1, 2017 / General News / Practitioner Updates / Veterinary Clinical Medicine

[farrier service at Illinois]

The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine recently announced that it is in the process of acquiring both Middlefork Forge, a farrier practice formerly located in Collison, Ill., and the Midwest Horseshoeing School, located in Divernon, Ill.

“Advanced therapeutic shoeing will complement the exceptional medical and surgical lameness services already available to equine patients at the college’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital,” said Dr. Scott Austin, who heads the Equine Medicine and Surgery Section at the hospital.

“In addition, the Midwest Horseshoeing School, which shoes thousands of well horses each year, will provide fourth-year veterinary students with opportunities to deliver routine horse health care, when requested by horse owners,” he said. “Performing wellness examinations gives students valuable experience to complement their involvement with providing specialized care for our hospital’s ill and injured equine patients.”

Middlefork Forge at IllinoisTM

  • Quality hoof care throughout the Midwest
  • All aspects of equine hoof care
  • Four AFA-certified farriers
  • Lead farrier Steve Sermersheim, CJF TE, AWCF
  • Part of the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital

To make an appointment with the farrier service, please call 217-300-5508.

Four Farriers Join College Staff

The farrier practice will begin shoeing horses as part of the College of Veterinary Medicine on February 17. Its name will be changed to Middlefork Forge at IllinoisTM. Farrier services will be offered at the college’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana on Fridays, and they will see horses primarily at farms/stables throughout west-central Indiana and east-central Illinois on other days.

Steve Sermersheim, who formerly owned Middlefork Forge, will be joining the faculty of the College of Veterinary Medicine. Diego Almeida, who formerly co-owned the school with Sermersheim, will continue to manage instruction for the school, but as a program coordinator within the college’s Office of Public Engagement. Two apprentices formerly with Middlefork Forge, Ian Zollars and Jessica Byrne, both AFA-certified farriers, will also be hired by the college.

[Midwest Farrier School at Illinois]

The Midwest Horseshoeing School will become a program of the College of Veterinary Medicine, but will continue at its current location in Divernon, Ill.

Education for Horse Owners and Farriers

The Midwest Horseshoeing School attracts students from across the U.S. and abroad. Courses range from two- and four-week classes aimed at horse owners who wish to learn to trim their own animal’s hooves and apply factory-made shoes to a 20-week course for farriers preparing for certification by the American Farrier’s Association (AFA). Instruction will continue in Divernon, Ill., for the foreseeable future. Around 5,600 horses are shod each year at the school.
“Our rigorous educational program for farriers will gain exposure and prestige through affiliation with the University of Illinois,” said Almeida. “We are currently enrolling students in courses that will begin on February 27.”

[Sermersheim and Almeida]

Steve Sermersheim, at left, and Diego Almeida have extensive credentials as farriers and educators.

Leaders in the Farrier World

Sermersheim brings to the college a demonstrated commitment to excellence and education. He is a Certified Journeyman Farrier with a Therapeutic Endorsement from the AFA as well as an Associate of Great Britain’s Worshipful Company of Farriers. He has twice been named AFA’s Clinician of the Year, has served eight times as an official farrier at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, and has been a supervisor for the official farriers at the World Equestrian Games.

Almeida is a Certified Journeyman Farrier and is internationally active in farrier certifications. He has been recognized with the International Hoof Care Summit’s Rising Star Award in 2014 and the AFA’s J. Scott Simpson Outstanding Educator Award in 2015 and 2016.

Health Solutions for Horse Owners

These farriers add a new dimension to the horse health team at Illinois. The equine faculty includes four veterinarians with board certification in large animal internal medicine—Drs. Scott Austin, Jonathan Foreman, Kara Lascola, and Pamela Wilkins—and three who are boarded in equine surgery—Drs. Santiago Gutierrez Nibeyro, Annette McCoy, and Matthew Stewart. Additional certifications are held by Dr. Gutierrez in sports medicine and rehabilitation, by Dr. Wilkins in veterinary emergency and critical care, and by Dr. Lascola in veterinary acupuncture.

In November 2016, the Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital became one of only a handful of U.S. veterinary hospitals to have a 3-Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) system capable of imaging horses’ heads, necks, and lower extremities. Other advanced technology for equine patients at the hospital includes high-speed treadmill examinations, shock wave therapy, minimally invasive arthroscopy and laparoscopy, and a lameness locator system.


About the College of Veterinary Medicine

The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 30 veterinary schools or colleges in the United States. College faculty make discoveries that improve animal, human, and environmental health, ranging from novel treatments for dogs and people with cancer to studies of the impact of environmental toxins on human development and identification of a fungal disease threatening wild snake populations. Illinois is also known for its innovative veterinary curriculum, which integrates hands-on clinical exposure throughout the four-year doctoral program. Its full-service Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana provides specialty, emergency, and wellness care to all domestic and many exotic species, seeing about 24,000 patients a year. In Chicago, the college operates a dog and cat primary care service called Medical District Veterinary Clinic at Illinois, as well as a specialty practice called Veterinary Behavior at Illinois. Its Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, which has a satellite office in suburban Chicago, handles more than 60,000 specimens per year.