Monday, May 29, 2006

Take Care Captain CJF!

While I was in KY, I had the pleasure of visiting with one of my greatest friends ever. Steve Spencer was there, serving as an AFA Tester. Service is nothing new to Steve; over the years, he's done an awesome job of serving the AFA (he's the reason AFA members have life insurance policies as part of their membership) , the IFA, the Indiana Horse Council, and numerous other organizations.

One of those other organizations is the Army Reserve, and they've slated Steve to ship out for Iraq in early July. Godspeed Steve. I've always admired the way you hold your head up, but for Christ's sake, keep your damned head down for the next year!

photo credit: iHorseshoe

Friday, May 26, 2006

Get Well Steve!

I was expecting to see Steve Sermersheim at the certification in KY this weekend, but--alas, alak, forsake, and forsooth--he's not going to make it; instead, he's going under the knife today for a hernia repair. So, give him a call or drop him an email ( and wish him a speedy recovery.

I'm scheduled to do a hands-on clinic at Steve's shop on the weekend of June 24th, but it looks as if I'll be going that way sooner to help do some horses for him. I'm sure he'll appreciate the help if anyone else wants to make a run over to Colison, IL to shoe for a day.

photo credit: King Lamadora

Monday, May 22, 2006

Apprenticeship Wanted...

The pic shows me working with Dusty Jager at the River City Roundup in Omaha. I saw on the AFA site that Dusty was looking for an apprenticeship, and I wanted to put a plug in for him. He's a great guy; he worked hard at the Omaha clinic and gobbled up information. This year, I saw him again at the AFA Convention, and he was running from one venue to another, working hard not to miss anything. He's a good guy--eager and ready to learn--and if you're looking for an apprentice, I'm sure he'll make you a good one! All of his contact information is on the AFA site.

photo credit: MidWest Farriers' Association

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Petty Politics...

Can't we all just get along?! We always seem to find something to fuss about that keeps the AFA's focus from centering upon the five basic tenets of the association: education, communication, innovation, research, and certification. If we put our efforts into those five foundational elements, we would be one strong, powerful, and influential voice within the equine industry.

Henry Kissinger once said he had formulated a rule "that the intensity of academic politics and the bitterness of it is in inverse proportion to the importance of the subject being discussed." Simply replace "academic" with "farrier" and you get the jist; we get our little farrier panties in a wad over the insignificant stuff and lose sight of the big picture.

photo credit: iHorseshoe

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Peer Pressure

Yep, that's Danny Ward and Bruce Daniels watching me make an auction item for the Delta Relief Fund at this year's MintVale Forge clinic. I don't care if you're a farrier, a teacher, or a stripper; one of the hardest things to do in any vocation or avocation is to perform in front of your peers. After you do 100 or so clinics and certifications, it gets easier and less stressful, but it still keeps you honest. The important thing is to step up and do it and not let it freeze you out, put you off, and keep you from growing. So... just do it Mr. French. You're one of the top farriers in southern IN, and whether you pass or fail your certification on the first go isn't going to change that.

photo credit: iHorseshoe

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Duh... Natural Balance Resets

As many of you know, I'm not a big fan of the NB shoe. It is, however, the best thing that ever happened for bad horseshoers. It helps them "back" the foot up and control flares that many of them wouldn't know what to do with if they were using traditional shoes. BUT, today, I saw a new reason to be irritated with it.... I looked at a horse that was wearing a pair of NB aluminum shoes that had just been reset. About an inch of the toe had been worn off the shoes during the initial shoeing cycle, so the web at the toe was worn to about the same width as the branches. Nevertheless, the farrier had set the shoe by using the inside of the toe web as his reference point, which put the point of breakover damned near at the apex of the frog. Good God! if you're going to use the inside of the web to determine shoe placement, don't reset these shoes.

Shout Outs for IN and IL farriers...

Ryan Clark is Indiana's newest AFA CJF! Congratulations Ryan. Steve Semersheim's well on his way; he's passed his journeyman horse and only has a barshoe to go before he's got the CJF designation he deserves. Rob Spellman, Tim Byrne, Jr., Havilah Elia, and Kevin Wyatt are all out of the starting blocks as well; each of them has completed at least one portion of the CF exams!!!

Buster Conklin

You can get all the details from Fran's blog (the link is on the sidebar), but the bottom line is that Buster Conklin, one helluva farrier and an icon within the farrier industry, is in the hospital and not doing well. You can send cards and/or letters to:

Marshall "Buster" Conklin
989 Ridge Road
Horseheads, NY 14845