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TOPIC: Improvement Clinics held for all organizations

RE:Improvement Clinics held for all organizations 24 Mar 2009 19:32 #46

Rick Burten wrote:
I'd like to explore this aspect.

What makes one a 'farrier educator? How does one achieve this 'position'? Are there any 'checks and balances' on this system? How does one differentiate between a formal and an informal educator?

The AFA currently has somewhere in the range of 2100 members(farriers). The current membership numbers being given to new members is > 10,000. The membership of the AFA chapters consists of both AFA members and non-members. What percentage of either group would you estimate to be educators? What about those who are either no longer members of the AFA or an AFA affiliated chapter, or both?

Is a 'mentor' considered a farrier educator?

Considering that there is estimated to be more than 30,000 farriers in the United States, is it not possible/reasonable to say that there are probably more non-AFA farrier educators than there are AFA farrier educators? If not, why not?

Unfortunately there are no checks and balances in the system!

The formal educators would be in the farrier schools, per se.

The informal educators would be the guy who gets so busy that he hires a helper and teaches him enough of the trade to get by, and gives him some old work; then new guy gets busy within a few years...he needs a helper, and he after teaches him enough of the trade to get by ect, ect.......and thats part of the problem lies in "Well I didn't need to go to farrier school and give them $7,500+ for 12 weeks...and then give $150 a year to the AFA to become a member and get certified; FOR WHAT!
I don't need to get certified; "my customers like my WORK!!!, and I'm making good money!!

A mentor is one who is an accomplished farrier for many, many years, and takes on someone "privately", and teaches continuously for years (5 - 20+) the whole entire trade, and always encourages them to be totally educated in all aspects of farriery.

In order to have more AFA educators, the AFA must be willing to open their doors to "reprocity" of other organizations.

Take care..............Linda Marie:)
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RE:Improvement Clinics held for all organizations 24 Mar 2009 21:36 #47

  • Tom Stovall CJF
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Rick Burten in gray, stuff deleted

What makes one a 'farrier educator?

A "farrier educator" is anyone from whom a farrier can learn/steal anything connected to farriery.

How does one achieve this 'position'?


By failing to live in a vacuum.

Are there any 'checks and balances' on this system?


Heaven forfend!

How does one differentiate between a formal and an informal educator?

Formal educators are not obliged to buy the first round unless it's their turn.

The AFA currently has somewhere in the range of 2100 members(farriers). The current membership numbers being given to new members is > 10,000.


Seems like 7,900 folks would be hard to misplace.

The membership of the AFA chapters consists of both AFA members and non-members. What percentage of either group would you estimate to be educators?

Personally, I consider anyone I watch shoe a horse to be an educator because I'm going to learn/steal something or other.

What about those who are either no longer members of the AFA or an AFA affiliated chapter, or both?

I think that once you lose your foreskin, you're a lifer.

Is a 'mentor' considered a farrier educator?

Absolutely! The influence of a mentor on a student implies education. It's even better if the mentor actually know what he's doing.

Considering that there is estimated to be more than 30,000 farriers in the United States, is it not possible/reasonable to say that there are probably more non-AFA farrier educators than there are AFA farrier educators?

Since its inception, I think the AFA has, perhaps unintentionally, offered an extremely pervasive education to US farriers through its members, chapter members, former members, hangers-on, assorted ne'er-do-wells, groupies, and anyone who has ever learned anything about farriery as a result of something done by members of the aforementioned groups. The ripple effect is hard to quantify and it's not always a tsunami.

If not, why not?

The AFA's influence on farriery in the US is akin to an asymptomatic, incurable, social disease that affects everyone engaging in unprotected farriery. I firmly believe every one of us has been educated by the AFA in some way and to some degree, however circuitous the route or unintentional the acquisition of the knowledge. :)
Tom Stovall, CJF
"The only foolish question is the one left unasked."
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RE:Improvement Clinics held for all organizations 25 Mar 2009 02:24 #48

  • Rick Burten
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Tom Stovall, CJF wrote:
Seems like 7,900 folks would be hard to misplace.
Well, some have died and the rest are, for whatever reason(s) no longer members of the AFA, though some may still be members of state associations that are coincidently, AFA chapters.
Personally, I consider anyone I watch shoe a horse to be an educator because I'm going to learn/steal something or other.
While I don't disagree, it begs the question then of the relevance[to some] of the AFA certification process. A process for which I, personally, have high regard and in which I have successfully participated from both sides of the table.
What about those who are either no longer members of the AFA or an AFA affiliated chapter, or both?

I think that once you lose your foreskin, you're a lifer.
If that were the case, then the membership count would be much higher, no?
Absolutely! The influence of a mentor on a student implies education. It's even better if the mentor actually know what he's doing.
And so we come to the crux of the matter. And, based on this, it would seem that Mr. Ferrara's POV has legitimacy.
Since its inception, I think the AFA has, perhaps unintentionally, offered an extremely pervasive education to US farriers through its members, chapter members, former members, hangers-on, assorted ne'er-do-wells, groupies, and anyone who has ever learned anything about farriery as a result of something done by members of the aforementioned groups. The ripple effect is hard to quantify and it's not always a tsunami.
Or even much of a ripple........Which is not to say that I don't agree in principle with the basis of your observation.
The AFA's influence on farriery in the US is akin to an asymptomatic, incurable, social disease that affects everyone engaging in unprotected farriery. I firmly believe every one of us has been educated by the AFA in some way and to some degree, however circuitous the route or unintentional the acquisition of the knowledge. :)
If one is to believe the comments/complaints of so many, be they farriers, trimmers, owners, whatever, then there seems to be a disconnect between your observations and theirs. And, if their observations/conclusions are even a little bit accurate, then what does that say about the AFA's influence on farriery in the United States?
Rick Burten PF

In the immortal words of Ron White: "But let me tell you something, folks: You can't fix S-tupid. There's not a pill you can take; there's not a class you can go to. S-tupid is forever."
."


Je pense donc je suis
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RE:Improvement Clinics held for all organizations 26 Mar 2009 00:06 #49

  • Mike Ferrara
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ladyblacksmith wrote:
Tom is right about the AFA's test to evaluate certain standards for shoeing every horse against an arbitrary standard. Unfortunately, most don't give a damn, and they fear of being discovered that they aren't that good a farrier. They don't want anyone scurtinizing their work; even if means that they can improve on it. It's the ..."well this is the way we have always have done it'.

Do you have any evidence to support that opinion?
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RE:Improvement Clinics held for all organizations 26 Mar 2009 00:37 #50

  • Mike Ferrara
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Originally Posted by Mike Ferrara
The majority of "bad work" that I've seen was done by folks who don't seem to care.



Jake Whitman wrote:
I have seen more of the 30 years experience , guys that do the same job that they learned the first year, and followed it with that experience, 29 more times.

I don't doubt that there are some of those but I doubt I'd come across much of their work on a regular basis. I have seen questionable work done by farriers who I know for a fact can do much better if they choose to. Trying to crank out too many horses (being in a hurry) or just plain laziness seem to be at the heart of it.
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RE:Improvement Clinics held for all organizations 26 Mar 2009 00:58 #51

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Tom Stovall, CJF wrote:
Mike Ferrara in gray

What does the specific discipline have to do with it?


Insularity, lack of general experience.

I still don't see where you were going with that. What do you consider "general experience" and is there any reason to think that someone who shoes ASB's (you mentioned them) doesn't have it?
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RE:Improvement Clinics held for all organizations 26 Mar 2009 01:18 #52

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Rick Burten in gray, my old stuff in brown, stuff deleted

Personally, I consider anyone I watch shoe a horse to be an educator because I'm going to learn/steal something or other.

While I don't disagree, it begs the question then of the relevance[to some] of the AFA certification process. A process for which I, personally, have high regard and in which I have successfully participated from both sides of the table.

Some folks chose to test themselves because they know it'll make 'em a better hand; others don't. Any test that guarantees to make somebody a better farrier is relevant or grits ain't groceries.

I think that once you lose your foreskin, you're a lifer

If that were the case, then the membership count would be much higher, no?

Being a lifer is a matter of a lost foreskin and doesn't always involve paying dues. :)

The influence of a mentor on a student implies education. It's even better if the mentor actually know what he's doing

And so we come to the crux of the matter. And, based on this, it would seem that Mr. Ferrara's POV has legitimacy.


As advertised, it's even better when a mentor actually knows what he's doing. If Ben Gump knows which way to turn a nail, he can teach Elmer Doofus how to shoe a horse - but Ben can't teach anyone more than what he knows.

Since its inception, I think the AFA has, perhaps unintentionally, offered an extremely pervasive education to US farriers through its members, chapter members, former members, hangers-on, assorted ne'er-do-wells, groupies, and anyone who has ever learned anything about farriery as a result of something done by members of the aforementioned groups. The ripple effect is hard to quantify and it's not always a tsunami.


Or even much of a ripple........Which is not to say that I don't agree in principle with the basis of your observation.

I'd shod quite a few QH and APHA stakes winners before I even knew there was an AFA, but when I left the backside, folks like Jack Miller and Gunnar Gatski were my personal tsunami. I consider myself among the most blessed of men for having been influenced by these and other gentlemen who were influenced in some way, to some degree, by the AFA.

The AFA's influence on farriery in the US is akin to an asymptomatic, incurable, social disease that affects everyone engaging in unprotected farriery. I firmly believe every one of us has been educated by the AFA in some way and to some degree, however circuitous the route or unintentional the acquisition of the knowledge.

If one is to believe the comments/complaints of so many, be they farriers, trimmers, owners, whatever, then there seems to be a disconnect between your observations and theirs.

I've never been one to allow the nattering of folks whom I consider to be fools to influence my thinking.

And, if their observations/conclusions are even a little bit accurate, then what does that say about the AFA's influence on farriery in the United States?

For me, it says the AFA's influence of farriery in this country remains greater than that of any other farriery organization, despite political infighting and a vocal minority of deadweights for whom whining has become an art form. :)
Tom Stovall, CJF
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RE:Improvement Clinics held for all organizations 26 Mar 2009 01:33 #53

  • Tom Stovall CJF
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Mike Ferrara in gray, my old stuff in brown

Insularity, lack of general experience.

I still don't see where you were going with that.

Think about it, maybe it'll come: Did you miss the term, "insularity"? :)
Tom Stovall, CJF
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RE:Improvement Clinics held for all organizations 26 Mar 2009 11:19 #54

  • Mike Ferrara
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Tom Stovall, CJF wrote:
Mike Ferrara in gray, my old stuff in brown

Insularity, lack of general experience.

I still don't see where you were going with that.

Think about it, maybe it'll come: Did you miss the term, "insularity"? :)

No, I didn't miss the term "insularity". Apparently you're suggesting that someone who shoes ASB show horses can't, doesn't or hasn't shod for other disciplines? Off hand, I can't think of many farriers I know who are quite that specialized.

My experience has been that the ability to service one or more specialties gives a farrier a market advantage over every other person in the world who can nail on a shoe and gets them in the doors where there's good paying work. Claiming that you can nail on a keg shoe better than anyone else doesn't seem to do it...even if it's a hand made shoe that looks so good that it could have been made by a machine or you have a certification that certifies that you know which way to turn a nail.

You might say that demonstrating the ability to give a horse what it needs to do it's job the best it can is what does it. An ASB show horse is one example of a horse that has a job. Most of the horse business...farriers, owners, trainers, vets and all, don't care about AFA certification because it doesn't imply any such thing.

Of course there are an awful lot of horses that don't really have much of a job to do and it doesn't take much to provide them with what they need. Certification or not, it just isn't worth much on the open market because just about anybody can do it.
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RE:Improvement Clinics held for all organizations 26 Mar 2009 12:59 #55

  • Tom Stovall CJF
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Mike Ferrara in gray

No, I didn't miss the term "insularity". Apparently you're suggesting that someone who shoes ASB show horses can't, doesn't or hasn't shod for other disciplines? Off hand, I can't think of many farriers I know who are quite that specialized.

In my experience, folks tend to specialize in various disciplines. Folks shoeing long footed horses tend to shoe mostly long footed horses, those plating runners tend to shoe mostly runners, those shoeing reiners, mostly reiners, etc. Does your vast experience vary?

My experience has been that the ability to service one or more specialties gives a farrier a market advantage over every other person in the world who can nail on a shoe and gets them in the doors where there's good paying work.

The ability to service several specialties does not imply the ability to service any of them well - or even adequately. In some areas of the country, it can mean a farrier is the only one available or the best pick of a poor lot.

Claiming that you can nail on a keg shoe better than anyone else doesn't seem to do it...even if it's a hand made shoe that looks so good that it could have been made by a machine or you have a certification that certifies that you know which way to turn a nail.

If a owner is searching for a farrier, AFA certification is a very good way of separating the wheat from the chaff.

You might say that demonstrating the ability to give a horse what it needs to do it's job the best it can is what does it.

Quite so! However, if a farrier is AFA certified, owners are not forced to allow a prospective farrier to demonstrate his competency on their horses.

An ASB show horse is one example of a horse that has a job.

ASB show horses are a minuscule, extremely specialized, form of farriery with many techniques that are only casually related to short footed farriey.

Most of the horse business...farriers, owners, trainers, vets and all, don't care about AFA certification because it doesn't imply any such thing.


In reality, the overwhelming majority of the horse business consists of horses in back yards and public stables and owners who are unaware the AFA even exists. When these folks look for a farrier, they are at the mercy of the feed store bulletin board and similar repositories of ignorance. The AFA could do the industry a great service by making these folks aware that AFA certification gives them a choice between someone who has demonstrated the abilty to shoe a horse to a standard and somone who has either failed the AFA tests or has chosen, for whatever reason, not to volunteer for AFA certification - but I'm not holding my breath. :)

Of course there are an awful lot of horses that don't really have much of a job to do and it doesn't take much to provide them with what they need.

A horse's needs does not imply a job. Sometimes their needs consist of getting from food to shelter to water with a minimum of pain and it takes a damn good hand to get it done.

Certification or not, it just isn't worth much on the open market because just about anybody can do it.

AFA certification is not about value on the open market because the AFA has chosen to devote its resources to meaningless contests and a shoeing team while keeping certification a secret from the horse owning public. Until folks are made aware of the great value that AFA certification has to the public, the only real value of AFA testing will be to the farrier community itself. Since no farrier who has undergone the study and practice necessary to pass the tests has done so without becoming a better farrier in the process, the value of AFA certifaction to that segment of the industry is indisputable!
Tom Stovall, CJF
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RE:Improvement Clinics held for all organizations 26 Mar 2009 13:29 #56

Mike Ferrara wrote:
Do you have any evidence to support that opinion?

YES, but he has since past away.
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RE:Improvement Clinics held for all organizations 26 Mar 2009 14:46 #57

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ladyblacksmith ]
Tom is right about the AFA's test to evaluate certain standards for shoeing every horse against an arbitrary standard. Unfortunately, most don't give a damn, and they fear of being discovered that they aren't that good a farrier. They don't want anyone scurtinizing their work wrote:

I asked... Do you have any evidence to support that opinion?
ladyblacksmith;151747 wrote:
YES, but he has since past away.

Why would you assume that because one hasn't gone to the AFA to have their work scrutinized that it hasn't been scrutinized by anybody or that the farrier hasn't worked at improving their work?

No doubt there are some that don't give a damn but what grounds have you for saying that most don't? Here at horseshoes.com, at various clinics and in dealing with the various farriers that I come in contact with on a regular basis, I get a completely different impression.
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RE:Improvement Clinics held for all organizations 26 Mar 2009 16:06 #58

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Tom Stovall, CJF wrote:
Mike Ferrara in gray

No, I didn't miss the term "insularity". Apparently you're suggesting that someone who shoes ASB show horses can't, doesn't or hasn't shod for other disciplines? Off hand, I can't think of many farriers I know who are quite that specialized.

In my experience, folks tend to specialize in various disciplines. Folks shoeing long footed horses tend to shoe mostly long footed horses, those plating runners tend to shoe mostly runners, those shoeing reiners, mostly reiners, etc. Does your vast experience vary?

Yes, my experience varies. Speaking for myself, while the ability to shoe a foot waver was key in getting most of my accounts, shod up show horses don't represent anywhere near the majority of the horses on my book.

My experience has been that the ability to service one or more specialties gives a farrier a market advantage over every other person in the world who can nail on a shoe and gets them in the doors where there's good paying work.

The ability to service several specialties does not imply the ability to service any of them well - or even adequately. In some areas of the country, it can mean a farrier is the only one available or the best pick of a poor lot.

AFA certification doesn't imply that ability to service any specialty well either.

Claiming that you can nail on a keg shoe better than anyone else doesn't seem to do it...even if it's a hand made shoe that looks so good that it could have been made by a machine or you have a certification that certifies that you know which way to turn a nail.

If a owner is searching for a farrier, AFA certification is a very good way of separating the wheat from the chaff.

Well, it may be a good way to avoid getting the worst anyway.

You might say that demonstrating the ability to give a horse what it needs to do it's job the best it can is what does it.

Quite so! However, if a farrier is AFA certified, owners are not forced to allow a prospective farrier to demonstrate his competency on their horses.

Where in the AFA test does the farrier demonstrate his ability to give the horse what it needs?

An ASB show horse is one example of a horse that has a job.

ASB show horses are a minuscule, extremely specialized, form of farriery with many techniques that are only casually related to short footed farriey.

Casually? It's sure a good excersize for the farrier who thinks he/she is pretty good at basics like fitting and nailing. LOL

Most of the horse business...farriers, owners, trainers, vets and all, don't care about AFA certification because it doesn't imply any such thing.


In reality, the overwhelming majority of the horse business consists of horses in back yards and public stables and owners who are unaware the AFA even exists. When these folks look for a farrier, they are at the mercy of the feed store bulletin board and similar repositories of ignorance. The AFA could do the industry a great service by making these folks aware that AFA certification gives them a choice between someone who has demonstrated the abilty to shoe a horse to a standard and somone who has either failed the AFA tests or has chosen, for whatever reason, not to volunteer for AFA certification - but I'm not holding my breath. :)

You keep saying this but I don't see it in evidence. The feed store boards probably aren't the place to find the best farrier but they're damn sure the place to find the worst clients.



Of course there are an awful lot of horses that don't really have much of a job to do and it doesn't take much to provide them with what they need.

A horse's needs does not imply a job. Sometimes their needs consist of getting from food to shelter to water with a minimum of pain and it takes a damn good hand to get it done.

You don't really believe that do you?

Certification or not, it just isn't worth much on the open market because just about anybody can do it.

AFA certification is not about value on the open market because the AFA has chosen to devote its resources to meaningless contests and a shoeing team while keeping certification a secret from the horse owning public.

AFA certification isn't a secret. However, In the 30 years or so that it's been in existence, it has failed to distinguish itself and a reliable indicator that the client and horse are going to get what they need.

Until folks are made aware of the great value that AFA certification has to the public, the only real value of AFA testing will be to the farrier community itself. Since no farrier who has undergone the study and practice necessary to pass the tests has done so without becoming a better farrier in the process, the value of AFA certifaction to that segment of the industry is indisputable!

It is disputable. Study and practice do not require the AFA but better in what way? In a way that would actually make a difference to horse owners, the horse or a farriers business? Heck, a good portion of the test is dependant on things that almost nobody does in their real work unless they are practicing for certification or a contest. [sarcasm] yes, there are several times a day when a farrier needs to make four plain stamped even weight shoes and get them on in two hours![/sarcasm]

You apparently don't think much of contests but without them, the AFA would be even less relevant than it is. The AFA needs the contests.
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RE:Improvement Clinics held for all organizations 26 Mar 2009 17:02 #59

Mike Ferrara wrote:
I asked... Do you have any evidence to support that opinion?



Why would you assume that because one hasn't gone to the AFA to have their work scrutinized that it hasn't been scrutinized by anybody or that the farrier hasn't worked at improving their work?

No doubt there are some that don't give a damn but what grounds have you for saying that most don't? Here at horseshoes.com, at various clinics and in dealing with the various farriers that I come in contact with on a regular basis, I get a completely different impression.

Most of the horseshoer's I know, don't care, won't be tested by AFA or anyone else for that matter!
People here at Horseshoes and at the clinics around the country are in the minority; not the majority of shoer's.
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RE:Improvement Clinics held for all organizations 26 Mar 2009 19:01 #60

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ladyblacksmith wrote:
Most of the horseshoer's I know, don't care, won't be tested by AFA or anyone else for that matter!
Is it they don't care or they just don't see the need?
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Kunena Birthday Module

  • clearhillsfarrier birthday is today
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