2016 ABANA Blacksmith Conference

Share Button

Blog by Dan Burke, FPD

When FPD was asked last year if we would sponsor a new farrier demo tent for the ABANA conference in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2016, we didn’t hesitate to say yes. We were excited to have the opportunity to help with their goal to bring farriers into the organization’s biennial conference and share their talents and perspectives. We are glad to report the event and the inclusion of the farrier demo tent were, by all accounts, a great success. The tent was a “hotbed” (literally) of activity, with featured demonstrators Dave Farley and Tom Willoughby on hand every day to share their talents along with a number of other farrier/blacksmiths who attended and were willing to do the same. Unfortunately, Roy Bloom, who was scheduled to participate, had some major flooding hit his area in Wisconsin and was unable to attend; however, he touched base daily to hear how things were going.

We were able to bring equipment from Kentucky for the demos, along with others that provided equipment and support: Roger Freeborn from Oregon, Travis Swenson from Utah and the Big Blu air hammer company from North Carolina, represented by Andy Phillips. Of course, the ABANA organizers and set-up staff were a huge help. Special thanks to Amy Pieh and Eddie Rainey for their support and encouragement.

It’s hard to know where to start with an accounting of all the activity so I’ll mention some of those that joined in during the week and let the images we have tell the rest of the story. Tom and Dave worked on a number of projects, including bowls made from plate steel and ornamental pieces forged from Kerckhaert horseshoes. Jim and Kathleen Poor from Flatland Forge in Texas forged a pair of tongs each day, showing the attendees how important and effective good teamwork can be. Jennifer Horn from Michigan forged some flowers from stock drawn on the Big Blu. Andy Phillips forged some leaves and other pieces on the Big Blu. Austin Edens from Texas made a pair of scissors from a rasp and Shayne Carter from Utah brought some amazing Damascus knives and shared some of the steps he goes through in the knife making process.

A very special “project” that took place in the tent was an evening where attendees were invited to join in making “Poppies” to help with the Ypres 2016 project. Visit www.ypres2016.com to get the details behind this effort.

There were farriers from all over the country that joined in this first outreach by ABANA. We are looking forward to stepping up again to support the 2018 ABANA conference to be held in Virginia. Joining with many of the farriers that attended this year, we can make it an even bigger and better presentation for the ABANA attendees. Congratulations for a job well done to all of those that participated this year.

Photos from 2016 ABANA Blacksmith Conference:

Tom Willoughby came up with the design for the bowl to make it “local” to the Utah setting. He chose a horseshoe, along with the Utah state bird and flower. Read the history behind the choices Utah made with the sea gull and sego lily at http://onlinelibrary.utah.gov/research/utah_symbols/bird.html and http://onlinelibrary.utah.gov/research/utah_symbols/flower.html. The finished bowl was donated to the ABANA auction and bought by Chuck Milne, owner of Texas Farrier Supply.

Tongs by Jim and Kathleen Poor

Scissors by Austin Edens

Knives by Shayne Carter

Ypres 2016 Poppies

Fun in the Farrier Tent

More photos from the 2016 ABANA Conference

Share Button
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Queen of the Turf

Share Button

Guest blog by Rob Logsdon, FPD

Recently, I was able to visit with Todd Boston at Churchill Downs, where Todd and his assistant, Kevin Howard were shoeing Tepin, Queen of the Turf, for trainer Mark Casse and owner Robert Masterson. Tepin defeated the boys in the 2015 Breeders Cup Turf Mile and has picked up this year where she left off; winning four graded stakes races and remaining undefeated so far in 2016.

Tepin will be racing in England at the Royal Ascot in the Queen Anne Stakes. Todd feels Tepin is one of the best horses he has ever shod, and considering he has shod some famous horses, among them; American Pharoah, Big Brown, Barbaro, and Curlin – and last year’s Kentucky Oaks winner Lovely Maria, that makes Tepin pretty special.

Todd fitted Tepin nicely with Kerckhaert shoes before she left for England to represent the USA. He also shaped an extra set of Kerckhaert shoes to send with Tepin for her trip. You know what they say, “A girl can never have too many shoes.”

Best of luck to the Queen of the Turf and congratulations to Todd Boston for his great craftsmanship!


Share Button
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meader’s 27th Annual Farrier’s Day

Share Button

Guest Blog by Josh Johnson of FPD

Recently, I attended Meader’s 27th annual Farrier’s Day Event; an event spread over three days and including a contest, blacksmith clinic and farrier clinic. Roy Bloom and Tom Willoughby were the AAPF sponsored clinicians for the event. On the first day of the event, the Southern New England Farrier’s Association held a shoeing competition with approximately 15 farriers participating and Roy and Tom as judges.

The following day, Roy and Tom held a blacksmith clinic in which they used a Big Blu power hammer demonstrating various techniques. They began the clinic by making one of Tom’s famous anvil vultures and then complimented the piece by making a tree. With the legendary banter and stories, the morning passed quickly. In the afternoon, everyone was able to see the completion of the tree and watch as these two extraordinarily talented men used a power hammer to make a bowl.

On the last day of the Meader event attendees enjoyed the annual clinic and special discounts on purchases. Vendors were set up in a tent near the main building and there was a steady flow of activity all day. The FPD booth saw a great deal of interest in the newLiberty hammers. The Kerckhaert DF shoe series was a very popular shoe for farriers in the area. Overall, it was an excellent turnout with positive feedback for the entire event.

A special thanks to everyone at Meader’s for all of their hard work in putting together this wonderful event and for their hospitality. Everyone always looks forward to this annual event.




Share Button
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Just Jump In and Do It!

Share Button

From American Farrier’s Association – No Foot, No Horse Newsletter, March/April 2016 Issue
Author: Josh Tompkins, CJF
Reprinted by Permission

Hi, my name is Josh Tompkins, and I live in St. Petersburg, FL. I have been shoeing horses for about four years. Last year, Convention was in Overland Park, Kansas, and it was the first time I had ever attended. When I got there, I didn’t know what to expect, but I had a great time. I enjoyed learning from the competitors and lectures. I was amazed at how many competitors there were in one room and the abundance of talent under one roof. It was very exciting when the timer went off and all 70 hammers began striking a tool at one time. I told myself that next year, I will be competing.

This year I registered for the Convention, as well as the competition. I practiced just like any other competitor and had my good friend and boss, Robbie Hunziker, look at my practice shoes. He gave me advice as to what I could do to enhance my shoes. A year had passed since the last Convention, and the competition was about to start. All 70 hammers, including mine, were about to strike. I had a goal to make the top three. I thought that would be a good goal. It was such an honor and a privilege to be able to win the 2016 Kerckhaert-Liberty Intermediate Division.

Josh Tompkins, CJF (Right) as the 2016 Kerckhaert-Liberty Intermediate Division High Point Award Winner Pictured with Allen Horton, FPD sponsor

Josh Tompkins, CJF (Right) as the 2016 Kerckhaert-Liberty Intermediate Division High Point Award Winner Pictured with Allen Horton, FPD/Kerckhaert sponsor

I think the Kerckhaert-Liberty Intermediate Division is great for the competitor not quite ready for the Open, but who would still like to compete. It gives the young, or new competitor somewhere to start, but is still difficult. Having the AFA team open judge the Kerckhaert-Liberty Intermediate Division is really good for helping us understand what we could have done to place better. I would really encourage anyone thinking about competing to just jump in and do it. At the end of the day, the only person that you should really try to beat should be yourself while learning from your mistakes.

The lectures and live demos are extremely good and cover a wide variety of topics. It takes more than a lifetime to learn how to shoe horses, so any knowledge that we can learn or share is very important in this industry. The Convention is a great way to learn in many different aspects. This year, I watched a lot of live demos of shoeing horses and making shoes. I also watched Chad Chance, CJF lecture on business. It was very informative. I was unable to make the lecture Steve Sermersheim, CJF, TE, AWCF gave because I was competing, but I heard it was a tremendous presentation.

I’m thankful I had this opportunity to learn more and compete in a craft I thoroughly enjoy. Thank you for making these events possible.


Share Button
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Springtime Travel in New Mexico

Share Button

Guest blog by Rob Logsdon, FPD

Recently, I had the pleasure of traveling to New Mexico to visit some of our FPD customers. It was a beautiful time of the year for the visit and I thought I would share some of the highlights of my trip.

With Albuquerque as my starting point, I had a thoroughly enjoyable drive to San Marcos Café & Feed, which is just south of Santa Fe. It’s a rare occasion when one can find excellent food – and shop for farm, feed and farrier supplies – all at the same location. After enjoying one of the best burritos I’ve ever eaten, I had the opportunity to meet with owners Mark and Cindy Holloway. In addition, I met and talked with local farriers who were interested in Liberty nails, Bellota rasps, Kerckhaert aluminum and steel Triumph horseshoes, along with the other Kerckhaert products available at San Marcos. I want to thank Mark and Cindy for their hospitality and I look forward to my next visit – and burrito!

From Santa Fe, I headed south to Landmark Mercantile and a visit with manager Madeline Isaaks. Landmark is located in an ideal location just off of I-10 in Mesquite, New Mexico. The store has a full range of animal care, feed, tack and farrier supplies. Madeline gave me a tour of the store, where I could see a well-stocked inventory of Kerckhaert SX-7, SX-8, Aluminum Triumph and Kerckhaert Tradition and Kings Race plates. It seems there is a brisk demand for the Kerckhaert brand in this area. On my way out the door, I couldn’t resist having a scoop of the Blue Belle ice cream they serve at Landmark. When you are in the area, be sure to drop in and pay them a visit. I am betting you will find just what you need; including some really good ice cream.

As a part of my trip, I had the pleasure of visiting Sunland Park for the first time; riding through the barn area with farrier Burr Vandewart. Burr is a loyal Kerckhaert farrier, primarily using the Tradition Hind and Kings front shoes. There has been excitement and interest in the Kerckhaert Legendary XT front shoe for over a year now and I was able to introduce the farriers to the new Legendary RT hind. Farrier Elias Guzman liked the Legendary RT Hind so much that he immediately nailed a pair on! I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the people at Sunland Park and while there I was able to drive by the famous “Rosa’s Cantina” from the Marty Robbins song, “El Paso.” Sunland Park will definitely be on my list for a return visit.


It was blue skies and 72 degrees in Albuquerque on April 9 for the farrier clinic at Paul’s Veterinary Supply. The staff at Paul’s Vet did an amazing job of preparing for the clinic and providing a continental breakfast, refreshments and a fantastic lunch. Roy Bloom was the clinician and discussed tool maintenance and shoe modification. The first part of the clinic was dedicated to farrier tools and their use – and misuse. After lunch, Roy focused on shoe modification with everyone participating in a hands-on session; evaluating a beautiful Friesian horse. Using the 12 points of reference as a guide, Roy used a laser to show limb and conformation deviations. I had a nice visit with the large group of farriers who were in attendance. I want to thank the NMPHA, Andrew Varela and Chase Roybal, along with all who were in attendance, for helping Shannon and Paul organize the clinic. This was a very engaged group of farriers, who expressed a great deal of interest in the Kerckhaert Ranger shoes, Dura Plain shoes and the Liberty nails. I look forward to hosting another clinic in the “Land of Enchantment.”

My trip went all too quickly, but I enjoyed every moment of the amazing hospitality, the beautiful landscape and the support and loyalty the farriers and stores have for the Kerckhaert and FPD brands.

Share Button
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Anvil Brand Clinic Provides Learning Experience for Farriers

Share Button

Guest blog by Allen Horton, FPD

Recently, I attended the annual winter clinic hosted by Anvil Brand in Lexington, Illinois. This year’s clinicians were Terry Stever and Tom Willoughby. Both of these men have extraordinary talent gained through years of experience – and knowledge they’ve learned through observation and careful selection of mentors.

Friday’s clinic featured Terry Stever from Sulphur, Oklahoma. Terry has shod horses for many years and is known in the Quarter Horse show world as a true professional. He puts his heart into everything he does and did an excellent job of explaining what he looks for and what he plans to achieve when shoeing horses. Going into detail about his methods for shoeing, he explained every step of his routine and gave explanations for why he does things in the manner he does. He shod a horse with Kerckhaert Triumph aluminum front shoes and applied a leather rim pad to the shoes. Terry cuts his pads on a band saw and is able to “nest” the shoes on the pad in a manner which allows him to cut two rim pads out of one leather pad. He was generous in sharing the tricks of the trade he has learned over the years with the farriers in attendance. The crowd payed close attention to Terry’s presentation and many of them stayed around during breaks to ask questions. Friday night Steve and Stuart Hoselton of Anvil Brand treated everyone who wanted to go to an all you can eat Walleye dinner at a local restaurant. Thanks guys, the food and drink were great and the company of farriers was wonderful!

Farrier Terry Stever shares details about his shoeing methods

Farrier Terry Stever shares details about his shoeing methods

Saturday’s clinic featured Farrier and blacksmith Tom Willoughby of Crowne Point, Indiana. Tom kept the crowd entertained while demonstrating his process for braiding stainless wire to make a piece which can be turned into a bracelet, belt buckle, or other item one may choose. He also made a rare “shop rattler” with some striking help from Matt Lybeck and Josh Ramsey. Tom has been very busy with his blacksmithing lately and has gained international attention for his creations. While he is a very talented blacksmith, he may have missed his calling as a stand-up comic. His stories kept everyone entertained and we all learned something from his demonstration.

I always find so much educational value in clinics and I’m sure the farriers do, as well. We all appreciate the work and effort that goes into hosting these events and I want to thank Anvil Brand again for a great clinic.

Share Button
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Friendly Faces and New Classes Offer Excitement at the 2016 AFA Convention

Share Button

The first day of the American Farriers Association (AFA) Tradeshow gave us an opportunity to reconnect with the farriers from the U.S., Canada, and overseas that we had met in the past years. We were also able to meet new attendees — including Mike Bagley from Ohio and Russell Bloodworth from Alabama, who you may remember as the recipients of the free registrations from AFA and FPD during FPD’s recent Facebook drawing. We also met Melinda Harvison from Mississippi and Jason Usry from Virginia who received the same offer from AFA and the Diamond Farrier Company. Everyone was excited about the activities during the convention, including the annual competition, demos, and lectures by AFA. This surely won’t be their last convention!

Day two of the convention, which included the featured live shoeing class with the top 20 competitors from the forging classes, went successfully. An interesting part of the class was being able to witness the two father and son combos — Craig and Bodie Trnka and Chris and Cody Gregory — participating at this level. It was also exciting to see Victor Frisco, 2014’s Kerckhaert-Liberty intermediate division winner, make top 20 for the second year in a row.

And, as always, we were amazed with the artistic talent that many of the farriers in the industry have in addition to their skill in the farrier trade. We brought a beautiful handmade piece by Tadao Onishi — a Japanese farrier that makes the trek to the AFA Tradeshow each year. We purchased this piece at the AFA Auction in Reno.

Stay tuned for an update as we head into the final day, which will end with the auction and awards ceremony this evening!

Share Button
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When it’s cold in the East, everyone heads to Florida

Share Button

Guest blog by Rob Logsdon, FPD

In the winter, if you are looking for many of the top thoroughbred horses and trainers, you are most likely to find them in Florida so that’s where I headed recently.

I began in Wellington, where I was able to attend the AAPF sponsored clinic at Visby Products, one of our FPD dealers. The clinicians were AAPF members Mike Heyward, Shane Westman, Curtis Burns, James Gilchrist and Dave Farley. Farriers in attendance were particularly interested in the Kerckhaert Comfort and DF Quarter Motion horseshoes. I enjoyed talking with farriers between the clinician presentations.

While in the Wellington area, I had an opportunity to visit John Favicchia who was shoeing at a private stable. John is a big user of Kerckhaert and FPD products and it is always a pleasure to watch him at work. His evaluation of each horse and limb – and the ability to modify and apply what works best for the individual horse is very impressive. Among the inventory on John’s truck, you can find a range of Kerckhaert DF, SX-8 and Meister horseshoes.

At the Lindy Standardbred Stable in Wellington, I was able to catch up with Tim Cable where he was busy shoeing Standardbreds using, I am happy to report, various Kerckhaert shoes. Tim comes from a long line of farriers; his grandfather, father, uncle and cousin are all farriers. While primarily focused on Standardbreds, Thoroughbreds and Hunter Jumpers in his business, Tim has clients that span a variety of disciplines. Tim uses a wide range of Kerckhaert shoes, including Kerckhaert Full Swedges, Half Swedges, TDR’s, SX-7 and Kerckhaert aluminum race plates. You can find Tim frequently modifying his shoes for the individual horse, using his forge or Baldor Grinder with 10” Expander Wheel.

I found TJ Jones of Palm Beach Forge and Donnie Mills working together at the Show Grounds in Wellington. While TJ has been in the Wellington area for many years, Donnie relocated from Kentucky just a couple of years ago. I always enjoy visiting with these guys when I am in Florida. They are strong supporters of the Kerckhaert brand, specifically DF shoes.

Well known and respected farrier Dave Farley and his associate Cole Rutan were working at a private stable in Wellington where I had an opportunity to spend time with them – and farriers Matt Savage and Gary Gatts, who were riding with Dave for the day. Dave is a great mentor for many farriers, and his professionalism and talent make him a pleasure to be around. We were all impressed with the efficiency, organization and continuity of Dave and Cole’s work.

Payson Park Thoroughbred Training Center in Indiantown, Florida has been a winter destination location for many of the top Thoroughbred horses and trainers for years. There, I met Jim “Jimbo” Bayes and his son, JT Bayes while they were shoeing horses for Hall of Fame trainer, Claude “Shug” McGaughey, III. Jimbo worked with his father, Jim, Sr. who shod horses for the famous Ogden Phipps stable for many years before Jimbo took over. With the Kerckhaert Tradition Hind and Legendary XT Front as their shoe of choice, it was an honor to observe Jimbo and JT shoeing some of the top Thoroughbreds.

It was a beautiful Florida morning when I arrived at Tampa Bay Downs. Tampa is a great location for horsemen and farriers to work during the winter. I always look forward to the sights and sounds of the barn area of the race track in the morning. On this particular visit, I was able to ride along with Matt Kueffner while he shod horses, using various Kerckhaert race plates. On this particular visit, I also met farriers Chad Janssen, Ricky Tucker, Hutch Holsapple and John Jerdee. There was a buzz in the barn area about the upcoming Saturday big race card, where it turned out Todd Pletcher trained horse, Destin, won the Sam F. Davis Stakes.

As my Florida trip wound down, I was able to attend the Palm Beach Farrier Supply clinic. Well attended by farriers, everyone enjoyed fantastic food, good weather and a great clinic led by clinician Luke Proulx. Luke started the day with a PowerPoint presentation and followed up the second half with a shoe modification. Using several Kerckhaert DF shoes, he demonstrated various modifications for traction and lateral support. The Kerckhaert Aluminum Comfort, DF Quarter Motion and Liberty nails were favorites of many who attended.

As you can see, I had a busy couple of weeks in Florida and really appreciated the hospitality and the opportunity to see some great farriers in action. The sunshine wasn’t bad, either!

Share Button
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Art of Form and Function

Share Button

During the year, I spend a great deal of time traveling over North America and Canada. In my travels, I am struck by how often I come in contact with farriers who are not only skilled at their work, but have amazing artistic talents, as well.

While recently we have been talking about the popularity of crafting with horseshoes (see Facebook posts), there are farriers who elevate this use of horseshoes to a whole new level. One such person is Tom Willoughby. Tom is a respected farrier and musician from Crown Point, Indiana, who is fast becoming known in the art world as a master craftsman. Simply put, his art is amazing!

“Fancy” The Great Blue Heron by Tom Willoughby

"Resting" Wood Sculpture by Tom Willoughby

“Resting” Wood Sculpture by Tom Willoughby

Tom is talented and versatile in his choice of medium. He works with both iron and wood and the detail that goes into his art is remarkable. I have included information about Tom that can be found on his website: www.willoughbyforge.com.

You can also find samples of Tom’s artwork on our new Instagram page at instagram.com/fpdinc. We will be showcasing both art work and the craft of farriery on this page.

I hope you take a moment to enjoy the artistic side of our industry – maybe you will be inspired to create your own masterpieces using the materials you use every day in your work as a farrier. Please be sure to share your photos by posting to Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #craftingwithkerckhaert. Or email your photos to fpd@farrierproducts.com.

I hope you join in the conversation.

Getting to Know Tom Willoughby
(Reprinted with permission from his website: www.willoughbyforge.com)

TomWIlloughbyTom started shoeing horses full-time in 1981, after attending Midwest Horseshoeing School. While attending horseshoeing school, he was intrigued with forging, not only horseshoes but anything else he could dream up to build. He learned the intricacies and characteristics of steel and how it moves. Although he has been working with steel for over half his life, he has been an artist his whole life. Tom can make words come to life in a song. He also turns blocks of wood into intricate and beautiful works of art. He spends countless hours working at and perfecting each talent.

Tom officially established Willoughby Forge five years ago; although he has had a workshop for years. He built a shop to house the coal forge, plethora of tools, several anvils, the Big Blue air hammer, and a large worktable. Magic happens in this work studio as hand drawn ideas come to life in either steel or wood, or a combination of the two mediums.

Tom has become a clinician for creative forging classes, traveling throughout the country or giving classes at Willoughby Forge. His relaxed manner, amicable disposition and propensity for unique forgings make for very interesting and educational clinics.

His motto is, “It’s only steel. They make it every day, so don’t be afraid to hit it.”

Share Button
Posted in On the Road, People, Scenic byways | Leave a comment

Breeders’ Cup Week at Keeneland

Share Button
Breeders Cup

Breeders’ Cup

Guest Blog by Rob Logsdon

Spending time the last week of October at the beautiful Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, KY is one of the highlights of my year. I visited a number of farriers during the week and shared coffee and donuts with them each morning at the FPD/Kerckhaert table.   The Breeders’ Cup week was a great week for Kerckhaert race plates, with the Legendary XT Fronts worn by three Breeders’ Cup winners. A total of 7 races were won by horses wearing Kerckhaert race plates on all fours. Other races featured horses winning with Kerckhaert Hind race plates.

Congratulations to farriers Steve Norman, Todd Boston, Joe Campbell, James Bickett and Jim Jimenez, who all shod Breeders’ Cup winners using Kerckaert Kings, Tradition and Legendary shoes.

The winner of our raffle for a Baldor 1/4 HP Buffer was Jim Bayes. Congratulations, Jim!

As always, Keeneland did a great job in handling the events for the week which culminated in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and Breeders’ Cup Classic on Friday and Saturday, and the Horse sales held on the following Monday.

Share Button
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment