Outback encounter questions all we know about horse shoes
IT WAS the last day of mustering at Mt Surprise Station in July 1983.
Sitting contently on the back on of his little Arab stock horse, waiting for a mob of cattle to come over the creek, Bill Diemling saw something that changed his life forever.
"Right to this day it is as clear in my mind as if it was yesterday.
"The picture I get, the feeling I get, it seemed to me it was almost a sign from heaven."
Down in the dirt before him, Mr Diemling noticed some horse footprints that caught his attention.
"It was something completely unlike anything I had ever seen before."
As a farrier who'd worked with horses all around the world, Mr Diemling thought he'd seen it all.
But these hoofprints - an impression left by wild brumbies - were unique.
"Everything I had seen up until that point had been from a domesticated background but those footprints were natural," he said.
"They were more spherical in shape, which was completely strange to me."
Intrigued, Mr Diemling took a plaster cast of the prints back to the United Kingdom where he lived, and began extensive research which led him to develop a revolutionary style of horse shoe based on the natural hooves of wild brumbies.
The shoe he came up with not only allows for the horse's hoof to grow naturally around the shoe, it also corrects the pathological problems Mr Diemling said modern-day rim shoes created.
"A domesticated foot has all the pathologies we can think of," he said.
"There have been thousands and thousands of pages on hoof problems and from my personal experience 95 per cent of all lameness is caused by incorrect shoeing."
Unlike a conventional rim shoe the "Cytek" shoe is positioned under the pedal bone of the hoof, bringing the horse's breakover point further back.
"Rim shoes put extreme pressure on the sensitive tissue of the hoof wall, which then affects blood supply," Mr Diemling said.
"What this does is distribute the weight evenly and stimulate blood supply to the rest of the limb."
Ellangowan stud owner Peta Bradley said within a few days of putting Cytek shoes on her near-lame mare, the horse had become so sturdy on its feet she rose to the top of the pecking-order.
"I cannot fault the shoes," she said.
"The transformation and confidence I saw in this horse was amazing."
But Ms Bradley wasn't the only one impressed.
Two years ago, Mr Diemling was approached by an Arabic entrepreneur with a penchant for endurance race horses, who offered to buy the Cytek shoe company and invest millions into rolling it out around the world.
The successful deal is about to bring Mr Diemling back to Australia for the first time in 20 years to teach Queensland farriers the unique method in a five-day workshop in Allora.
"For now we are just concentrating on small areas now of farriers and training them up so they can support each other," Mr Diemling said.
"What I would like to do is have local farriers come out, go out and try it and see what results they get and then we can gradually start educating farriers all around Australia."
But Mr Diemling said convincing farriers to change tack could be a difficult task.
"The hardest part of the whole job for me was to realise everything I had been taught as a farrier was fundamentally flawed," he said.
"It wasn't until I put it together and started using it and seeing results I had never never seen before that it became a passion and I knew I had to keep it going."
Mr Diemling said he was looking forward to coming back to the part of the world where his journey all began, to educate five farriers in Allora.
"It is almost like being back home," he said.
"It's a country that gave me the knowledge that I needed to be able to improve the lot of the horse.
"I have Australia everything to thank for and the good fellas I met up on the station."
But for Mr Diemling, it all comes back to the well being of the animals he's always loved.
"What a way to end my working life. To put something into the market that actually does something good for the life of horses, that to me just is so satisfying."
Mr Diemling will be in Allora in early April to teach the Cytek method at Highborne Farm.