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TOPIC: Is the AFA relevant to the FARRIER INDUSTRY?

RE:Is the AFA relevant to the FARRIER INDUSTRY? 04 Feb 2009 13:06 #31

Everything is relative. What I am seeing in these forums is dissapointment in the "relivance of the AFA."

I see on these forums the dissapoinment of a "few". In other words, this site is supposed to be seen by thousands of people, owners and farriers alike, and in these threads you have the same 4 or 5 people complaining, and the same 4 or 5 people defending. 4 or 5 people out of the thousands that view these threads seems pretty insignificant to me.
I am dissapointed that the certification program is not perceived as relivant by every one.

Is it only the job of the officials of the AFA to make sure the certification program is perceived as relivant? Or perhaps it's the job of all the members, and especially those of us that are certified.
I am dissapointed that the market we serve does not value my certification.

Again, I believe it's all in how you market yourself and your credentials. I agree the AFA could do more to market to horseowners, but I'm not going to render the whole process as useless.
I am dissapointed that my certification is viewed with contempt by some of my "peers."

If some of your peers feel that way I would say they have yet to take the test, or properly prepare for the test. Either way I don't think it matters.
However, is it fair to blame the horse owner, the industry, and the overwealming majority of farriers for their indifference toward the AFA?

I believe it's fair to blame every member of the AFA and to also blame those that sit here complaining about it that aren't members.
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBimQu6Pxxs
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the FARRIER INDUSTRY? 04 Feb 2009 13:18 #32

tbloomer wrote:
Everything is relative. What I am seeing in these forums is dissapointment in the "relivance of the AFA."

I am dissapointed that the certification program is not perceived as relivant by every one.

I am dissapointed that the market we serve does not value my certification.

I am dissapointed that my certification is viewed with contempt by some of my "peers."

However, is it fair to blame the horse owner, the industry, and the overwealming majority of farriers for their indifference toward the AFA?

As in any trade or profession it is not the diploma, certification the piece of paper that will make or break you, it is you. It might get your foot in the door, however only you and you alone can keep it in there. There is no blame to go around around at all, not the AFA, not the horse owners or Vets. The only one that can take credit or be blamed for failure is you, me, us the farriers. Precisely one of the reasons I love being a farrier and self employed. Bring it on baby, lets get ready to rumble............... :)

Oh, by the way the AFA is communicating and they are communicating the way it was suggested they should about a year ago. By e-mail, to save money on mailing. Remember that one guys?
Which tells me they are also listening.
Phil Armitage, CF
AFA member 7480

"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it." Albert Schweitzer
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the FARRIER INDUSTRY? 04 Feb 2009 13:35 #33

  • Gary Hill
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My two cents, until someone Leads, this argument is like our congress, two sides going around in circles going no where.
Attachments:
"As I see it, winners get the money - while losers talk of "individual goals" and similar stuff." Tom Stovall
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the FARRIER INDUSTRY? 04 Feb 2009 14:44 #34

  • Tom Stovall CJF
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Martin Kenny in gray, stuff deleted

In the beginning (early 1980's) though, the AFA testing was perceived as the "standard" not simply a "test" of skills.

Perhaps this was so in your end of the sandpile, but not in mine. Here in Texas, since 1981, the parameters of the TPFA (AFA) practical tests have NEVER been perceived as shoeing standards. Instead, the perception of the early testees (Don Gustafson, Don Wieland, Jeff Engler, Jim Poor, myself and others) was that the standardized testing criteria offered the most objective means of determining a testee's ability to meet an arbitrary standard, not as something sacroscanct, a model that was offered or intended to be applied to one's everyday practice. Personally, I've never run across anyone who is AFA certified at any level who confuses the AFA's testing standards with a shoeing standard (aka, "model"), these folks appear to be concentrated in your area.

Maybe of late that has changed,

Your statement presumes something not in evidence; hereabouts, the TPFA (AFA) practicals have always been considered mileposts on a journey, not a destination - and nobody confuses the AFA's testing standards with model-based farriery.

and if so that is great, but then the AFA has to get the word out, that this is the case, because the owners, vets, and dare I say many farriers, don't see it as a simply a test.

Relative to the certification process, why should it be incumbent on the AFA to respond to the gossip, misinformation, and outright disinformation disseminated by its detractors? Instead, I believe the AFA's first order of business should be making the horse-owning public aware of the existence of AFA certification and its value to the industry.

Especially the non AFA farriers, and by the way, we need to have the AFA perceived correctly or else it never will get out of its present quandary.


I'm not an AFA member. I perceive the organization as being somewhat elitist and overly concerned with contests and not nearly enough concerned with certification. As I see it, the AFA has devoted an inordinate amount of its resources to meaningless contests and an irrelevant "shoeing team" that serves no purpose to the industry. If there's any "quandary," it's the result of the AFA's misplaced priorities, not the public's perception of certification - most of the industry doesn't know it exists.

Historically, the AFA has failed to inform the public of certification. To make matters worse, the AFA took a giant step backwards by restricting certification to AFA members, instead of keeping it open to chapter members and opening it up to the world. If AFA certification is to be perceived as having value to the industry - not just the AFA or its membership - there's no logical reason for restricting testing to AFA members; indeed, such restriction is patently elitist and greatly detracts from the value of the credentials.

The AFA can be relevant to the masses, but it has a lot of work ahead to do that.

The AFA is unquestionably relevant to the masses due to the influence of its members on the industry; however, that relevance is often buried several layers deep in political rhetoric (aka, "BS") and is most evident in the work of those who are, or have been influenced by, present or former AFA members. That said, while the AFA is unarguably relevant to the industry to some degree, the leadership has the power to increase that relevance by many orders of magnitude if it can find the will to do so.

Personally, I have faith in Dick Fanguy: I believe he's going to do his doubledog damnedest to make the AFA more relevant to every segment of the industry.
Tom Stovall, CJF
"The only foolish question is the one left unasked."
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the FARRIER INDUSTRY? 04 Feb 2009 14:50 #35

  • Gary_Miller
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Gary Hill wrote:
My two cents, until someone Leads, this argument is like our congress, two sides going around in circles going no where.
Gary you are right on. And that leadership needs to come from the AFA BOD if the AFA wants to be relevant to the industry.
Gary Miller, PF

Ride hard, shoot straight, and always speak the truth.
Gunfighter Motto

"Our level of quality is how well our eye can see it." (Eric Russell, Oct 2008, Horseshoes.com)

"Discover what it is that makes you passionate then grab a firm...
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the FARRIER INDUSTRY? 04 Feb 2009 15:02 #36

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Tom Stovall, CJF wrote:
Personally, I have faith in Dick Fanguy: I believe he's going to do his doubledog damnedest to make the AFA more relevant to every segment of the industry.
In order for Dick to be effective he must get the BOD operating as it should. Without the BOD his hands are tied.
Gary Miller, PF

Ride hard, shoot straight, and always speak the truth.
Gunfighter Motto

"Our level of quality is how well our eye can see it." (Eric Russell, Oct 2008, Horseshoes.com)

"Discover what it is that makes you passionate then grab a firm...
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the FARRIER INDUSTRY? 04 Feb 2009 15:21 #37

On another thread someone inquired about taking the DWCF. For a US farrier the CJF is the only credential acknowledged by the WCF. Therefore if one aspires to take those tests a CJF is a prerequisite to having an application considered. http://horseshoes.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9562

So yes, it seems that the AFA is relevant to the industry, on a global perspective.

For me, the AFA is the only organization that has a structured system that will challenge me to improve my forging skills. I became a member, have studied the Cert. guide and have begun my CF shoe board and plan to test this year. Previously I was jaded to a certain extent, mostly by what I have read here about the AFA and dismissed the AFA. While having this discussion with someone I have great respect for he proclaimed to me " what a negative attitude". Considering this person's personal achievements and stature in the industry forced me to reevaluate my thinking. I have chosen to ignore the ceaseless inane bickering here and outside and concentrate on the values the AFA provides that will positively influence my own skills and directly aid the horses I service.
Richard Mercer.
www.oldlinestateforge.com
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the FARRIER INDUSTRY? 04 Feb 2009 15:37 #38

  • JimBondra
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the ceaseless inane bickering here

And that's the truth!
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the FARRIER INDUSTRY? 04 Feb 2009 16:15 #39

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Equifarmette1 wrote:
On another thread someone inquired about taking the DWCF. For a US farrier the CJF is the only credential acknowledged by the WCF. Therefore if one aspires to take those tests a CJF is a prerequisite to having an application considered. http://horseshoes.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9562

So yes, it seems that the AFA is relevant to the industry, on a global perspective.

For me, the AFA is the only organization that has a structured system that will challenge me to improve my forging skills. I became a member, have studied the Cert. guide and have begun my CF shoe board and plan to test this year. Previously I was jaded to a certain extent, mostly by what I have read here about the AFA and dismissed the AFA. While having this discussion with someone I have great respect for he proclaimed to me " what a negative attitude". Considering this person's personal achievements and stature in the industry forced me to reevaluate my thinking. I have chosen to ignore the ceaseless inane bickering here and outside and concentrate on the values the AFA provides that will positively influence my own skills and directly aid the horses I service.

Good for you. Stick to your guns and make it. You will learn a lot from it. If it is only for yourself improvement!
Mikel Dawson, RJF

(Denmark)
What part of "NO" don't you understand!!

Caution: Watch for hoof in mouth disease!!!
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the FARRIER INDUSTRY? 04 Feb 2009 16:36 #40

  • Gary_Miller
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Equifarmette1 wrote:
So yes, it seems that the AFA is relevant to the industry, on a global perspective.

For me, the AFA is the only organization that has a structured system that will challenge me to improve my forging skills. I became a member, have studied the Cert. guide and have begun my CF shoe board and plan to test this year. Previously I was jaded to a certain extent, mostly by what I have read here about the AFA and dismissed the AFA. While having this discussion with someone I have great respect for he proclaimed to me " what a negative attitude". Considering this person's personal achievements and stature in the industry forced me to reevaluate my thinking. I have chosen to ignore the ceaseless inane bickering here and outside and concentrate on the values the AFA provides that will positively influence my own skills and directly aid the horses I service.
Richard, I don't think anyone on the site would argue that the AFA certification test has value to the individual farrier.

However, certification is just one of the five tenets of the organization.

Education, Certification, Communication, Research, and Innovation.

While the AFA spouts Education if it was not for the AFA taking credit for what the local associations due they would fall short of this tenet. However, I do have to give them credit as there seems to be some progress moving in this direction with the U-Tube videos, and of course there is the convention and precertification clinics.

Communication seems to be getting better with the new NHNH news letter. However, the PF magazine is still not arriving on time, and information on whats happening within the committees, BOD, and EC is practically none existing.

As far as Research and Innovation well lets just say as a general member I have not heard or seen anything happening in these areas.
Gary Miller, PF

Ride hard, shoot straight, and always speak the truth.
Gunfighter Motto

"Our level of quality is how well our eye can see it." (Eric Russell, Oct 2008, Horseshoes.com)

"Discover what it is that makes you passionate then grab a firm...
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the FARRIER INDUSTRY? 04 Feb 2009 17:12 #41

Gary_Miller wrote:
Richard, I don't think anyone on the site would argue that the AFA certification test has value to the individual farrier.

How about you pass that part first and then tell me that was not an education. :rolleyes: :)
Phil Armitage, CF
AFA member 7480

"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it." Albert Schweitzer
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the FARRIER INDUSTRY? 04 Feb 2009 17:15 #42

  • Tom Stovall CJF
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Martin Kenny in gray, stuff deleted

1.As Tom stated, back then we did not have an openness that new farriers enjoy today.

Not so here on the Texas Gulf; later, the entire state. From about 1977 to present, new farriers have had a great deal of information and hands-on help available to them, beginning with the informal get-togethers at the Ft. Bend County Fairgrounds that ultimately led to the formation of the Texas Professional Farriers Association. I know, I was there.

I will grant that the AFA was germane in turning that around, but one can not live on past accomplishments in order to survive in the present world. (look at the big 3 auto makers for proof of that)

Here in Texas, the AFA had little to do with the dissemination of information at the beginning, but its members, notably Jack Miller, Jim Ferrell, C. B. Jolly, Howard Love, Bailey Bradshaw, Larry Crawford, and other show farriers were at the forefront of the movement.

2. You assume that the relationships I spoke of were provided mainly because of the AFA. Some where, others weren't. Back then farriers would to see me coming, because they knew I would be bugging them to join the AFA. We did not develop our relationships because of the AFA. I helped to build the AFA because of the relationships I had made in my own practices.

FLASH! The membership makes the AFA, the AFA doesn't make anything!

3. "My success" had little to do with the AFA. In fact I have openly said that the AFA has hindered my personal growth to some degree. Let me explain that. Most of you have no earthly idea who Martin Kenny is, and I understand that, because I made a personal decision to remove myself from the farrier "society" back in 1996. I was frustrated with how bad my horses feet were looking, and was even thinking of changing professions. (even studied and I am now certificated in an arm of the finance world) But my love was not finance, but horses. So I took a long hard look at myself and the work I was performing, along with the results of what I was doing. I saw that the better I got at mastering the AFA standards, the worse my horses feet looked when I came back the next month. I have to agree, they looked great when I left, but when I came back; well, that was another story. (Sound familiar to any one else out there? I know it does, because many have shared that with me, and I see it every day.)

You appear to be blaming your chronic personal inability to recognize and meet the needs of the horses in your custom on the AFA. In reality, the AFA has never promoted model-based farriery.

Anyhow, I then delved into deep research, at a cost of over a half million dollars in actual outlay and income loss, over about 10 years. What I learned was alarming to me. I learned that the methodology that the AFA and others was incorrect, and actually creating many of the things you all deal with on a daily basis. Those methodologies were actually creating a need for many of the high tech stuff many of you find in your rigs today. (Sole packing stuff, hoof rebuilding stuff, special shoes, etc...)

Hot damn! Another epiphany in which somebody thinks they've found a piece of Farriery's One True Cross. Naturally, all the bad stuff in the past is somebody else's fault and the failures of your personal model couldn't possibly have been the fault of your personal shortcomings in the anatomy, physiology, and biophysics departments. Heaven forfend!

I am going out on a limb here, but the fact is, the Bare Foot crowd, actually had a point.

No they don't. The BUA is FOS. Nobody ever pulled the shoes off a horse that needed shoes to do whatever it does as best it can and improved that horse's performance - and it all boils down to performance, even when that performance is measured by the efficiency with which a horse gets from shelter, to feed, to water, and back.

The way I was (and many of you are) shoeing horses is destroying feet. Please understand that I stick up for you every time I am brought into a case. I tell each new client. "The problem is not that this farrier has done it wrong, the problem is that this farrier has done it exactly like he was taught to do it. The problem is that the he has been following is incorrect!

Balderdash! Your self-aggrandizing rhetoric aside, please be kind enough to cite chapter and verse: be specific.

You can prove this to yourself... simply look at authors of old shoeing books, (Lugwitsz, Holmes, etc.) and you will see, that they were dealing with the same issues of today. (think white line is new, It used to be called "loose wall disease" Look at how often Seedy Toe is written about back then too. They dealt with flares and crumbling walls every day just like you do today!)

No surprises here: Folks have been breeding horses for performance, not feet, since the Hittites were racing chariots.

So if we still have the same problems (which are not an issue to me any more), and we are shoeing like they did back then (which I do not) then something is terribly wrong.

With all due respect, the problems most farriers have are associated with husbandry and/or performance and are primarily exacerbated by breeders who are breeding for better performance, not better feet. DNA and husbandry can be a female dog to overcome.

I owe a debt to the Bare Foot crowd, as they helped to open my eyes and see that I needed to learn how to use shoes in a manner that helped the foot, instead of destroying it.

Bully for you! Now that the bare foot crowd has been instrumental in your epiphany, please be kind enough to let the rest of us in on your secret.

The point being made here is this.... The AFA had and has its good points, (I am still member #178) but the fact that it has never promoted honest research by its members, makes the AFA's true intrinsic value questionable.

The late Burney Chapman was both a TPFA and an AFA member. I can't think of any individual in recent history who contributed more to farriery's body of knowledge than he did: Can you?

In the midst of my heavy research days, I requested if there was any AFA money to assist in underwriting equipment. My request was never even answered. So I moved on and took care of 100% of the $$$ myself. At the same time, the AFA has funneled a relatively small amount of $$ to research done at the academia level. So it would seem to me that the relevance of research for the AFA is not directly with the farriers, but with academia.


Why should the AFA underwrite your research? Or, mine? Or, anyone's?

To sum it up, I personally feel that the AFA kept me from learning faster than I did, as "Big Brother" was telling me (through unproven standards) that all I had to do was follow the pattern and all would be fine.


Your attempt at scapegoating aside, the AFA didn't "tell" you anything, it didn't mandate a model - you evidently attempted to use the AFA's testing standard as a model for your personal farriery instead of applying whatever knowledge of anatomy and physics you have to each individual.

It was only after I shed those ideals that I grew like crazy.


Someone less charitable than myself might point out that it took you a helluva long time to find out that every horse is an individual - what works for one won't always work for another - and now you're trying to blame your personal failure to do so on the AFA instead of yourself.

So I stand by my earlier statement... along with a clarification. I do not feel the AFA is relevant to the working farrier of 2009. (to the working farrier of 2009.... being the clarification here.)

I still do a few trims and consultations and I'm not a pimple on a working farrier's butt. On the other hand, the AFA - and its certification process - is unarguably relevant to myself and every farrier in the country, primarily due to the dissemination of information through the AFA's present and former membership.
Tom Stovall, CJF
"The only foolish question is the one left unasked."
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the FARRIER INDUSTRY? 04 Feb 2009 17:33 #43

  • HoustonFarrier
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Martin Kenny wrote:
The way I was (and many of you are) shoeing horses is destroying feet.

Well, I usually pull these out for barefooters who tell me I am destroying my horses feet. I've been shoeing/trimming this guy for 10 years.....he runs around like he's a yearling still......what exactly am I doing wrong ??:)



Steve
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. - Henry Ford (1863-1947)
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the FARRIER INDUSTRY? 04 Feb 2009 18:08 #44

  • Gary_Miller
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Phil Armitage wrote:
How about you pass that part first and then tell me that was not an education. :rolleyes: :)
Phil we have had this discussion before but apparently you missed it. The path to certification does not provide an education (except studying for the written) once your past the point of being taught to make a shoe. The practice along the path to certification is only one of perfecting (as Tom B pointed out) ones carpentry skills. (I love that analogy)
Gary Miller, PF

Ride hard, shoot straight, and always speak the truth.
Gunfighter Motto

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"Discover what it is that makes you passionate then grab a firm...
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the FARRIER INDUSTRY? 04 Feb 2009 19:20 #45

  • Martin Kenny
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My responses to Tom Stovall’s comments with MK and TS indicating who is quoted.

MK…..As Tom Bloomer stated, back then we did not have an openness that new farriers enjoy today.
TS… Not so here on the Texas Gulf….
MK…Mr. Stovall, All I can tell you is that your area was very fortunate.

MK…I will grant that the AFA was germane in turning that around, but one can not live on past accomplishments in order to survive in the present world. (look at the big 3 auto makers for proof of that)
TS… Here in Texas, the AFA had little to do with the dissemination of information at the beginning
MK…Once again, you were very fortunate.

MK… "My success" had little to do with the AFA. In fact I have openly said that the AFA has hindered my personal growth to some degree. Let me explain that. Most of you have no earthly idea who Martin Kenny is, and I understand that, because I made a personal decision to remove myself from the farrier "society" back in 1996. I was frustrated with how bad my horses feet were looking, and was even thinking of changing professions. (even studied and I am now certificated in an arm of the finance world) But my love was not finance, but horses. So I took a long hard look at myself and the work I was performing, along with the results of what I was doing. I saw that the better I got at mastering the AFA standards, the worse my horses feet looked when I came back the next month. I have to agree, they looked great when I left, but when I came back; well, that was another story. (Sound familiar to any one else out there? I know it does, because many have shared that with me, and I see it every day.)
TS…In reality, the AFA has never promoted -based Farriery.

MK…You may be right in theory, but the fact that they put out pamphlets that showed how to “Judge Farrier Competitions” with out saying that it was ONLY a guide for competition shoeing; gives the impression that this was the “model” by which farriers were to shoot for. There were also other brochures over the ages that the AFA put out for the horse owning public, that directed the “model” to be the same. Then the Vet community started to see this printed matter and used it as guides to hold our feet to the fire as to how the job should be done. God forbid, we fit with less “expansion” than was printed in those guides, or we had nails behind where the guides suggested. Then if the heel length did not match the drawings, then we were “shoeing too short”. Forget the foot was distorted, it still had to be shod as though it wasn’t. Now maybe in Texas, you don’t have those problems, but back then (and I admit it is somewhat better now) you either made it look like the drawings, or they found someone who would. Sure it took me a long time to move beyond that, but it wasn’t because I had “chronic personal in ability” to recognize and figure out how to meet the needs, No it was a chronic need to feed and house my family. To stand on one’s principles is one thing, but to starve doing so, when the horse was still being shod in exactly the manner you refused to do, is entirely another.

MK… In fact even just last week I was told that a Vet told a client, “Well, he has his theories on how to shoe and I have mine. We just disagree, and never will agree.” Now the horse they were looking at had no performance issues, the vet was there for an allergy problem. But the owner simply asked if he was familiar with my work. So you see, a young farrier will have a lot of trouble moving forward when that stuff happens. Lets face it, that kind of response can be intimidating to a young farrier. It used to bother me a lot, but at my old age, I just laugh it off. Tom, you have to remember that when you were young, that stuff had to bother you too. So if the AFA is to become relevant to the farrier of 2009, they have to find a way to promote individual thinking and squelch that type of response from the vet community.

MK… I will give you one more example of the problems we face every day. I had a vet that was only in practice for 6 years, diagnose a horse with a torn Cruciate ligament and would have to be put down. I arrived later that day to be told that we were not going to shoe that horse, fir obvious reason. I asked to see him, and found a bad abscess in his heel. Horse was sound 2 days later. So needless to say the owner was furious with the vet. Well a month later the vet would not even acknowledge that he had made a mistake. Fast forward a year, Same vet was asked what he thought of my work, and he said. “I would have to say, that his feet look consistently the best of all the feet I see.” The Vet was asked if he recommended me to clients. His response was, “I never will.” The owner was shocked and asked why. His response was “Because when I tell him I want him to shoe a specific way, he fights me on it.” ………My point here is this, it seems (many times anyhow) that the vet community is perceived as the authority and not the AFA… thus where is the relevance? And that my friend is the question!
If you feel shoeing horses is best served by how well you can work in the forge, you are missing the point!

It is how well you shoe a horse, so he performs at his best advantage, IN SPITE of his personal issues. Forge work is simply a tool that MAY be...
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