Springtime Travel in New Mexico

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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.

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Anvil Brand Clinic Provides Learning Experience for Farriers

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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.

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

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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!

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

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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!

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The Art of Form and Function

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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.”

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Breeders’ Cup Week at Keeneland

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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.

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Shoeing For Deviations of the Fetlock and Pastern of the Hind Equine Limb

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Guest blog by Michael Wildenstein, CJF, FWCF (hons)


Photo 1 – Right Hind

“Conformation of an owner’s horse can be a very sensitive subject.” (Ted S Stashak) In my experience that statement is very true and includes individual horse owners that I felt were open-minded. Study the equine conformation; learn what is normal for a breed, discipline and environment. Use that information to modify shoes to enable the horse to do the best of its ability, in comfort, with the conformation it has. The study of equine conformation and the effect of modifications to the horseshoes on the hoof and limb can be overwhelming, yet interesting. “Conformation, a major factoring soundness of the limbs, often determines the useful lifetime of a horse.” (Ted S Stashak)   It is our responsibility as hoof care providers to take the conformation into consideration when defining shoe type, weight, size and modifications made to the shoes. “Every modification to the shoe has an influence on the biomechanics of the horse.” (Denoix, 1999) Historically, we have guidelines that are used when defining modifications to shoes, such as, “The principle thought should be to set the shoe, which should always be regarded as the base of support of the hoof, farther towards the more strongly worn side.” (Lungwitz, 1884) Another guideline, “If the shoe wears hard on the in or outside of the foot, place the wide branch of the shoe on the side of greatest wear.” (William Russell, 1887) I use historical references, as well as modern studies, to help define the modifications that will be made to a shoe. Knowing the environmental conditions, including the ground conditions are also taken into consideration. Artificial surfaces will require different modifications and shoe types than a natural surface.

Observe the shoe, hoof wear and the conformation of the hoof as this will give indications of deviations or issues above. Observe the horse in movement, standing in flexion and in extension for a complete evaluation of conformation. Radiographs and filming the horse in movement and reducing the speed of the film are useful information. (Photo 1 – Right Hind)  This horse travels base narrow, the right hind is fetlock varus, pastern valgus. There is an abaxial rotational deviation at the hock. There is an axial rotational deviation from the Fetlock down. There is exaggerated rotation of the hoof as the hoof begins to break over. The hoof flares laterally.

Explanation of description:

Base Narrow = “The distance between the center lines of the feet at their placement on the ground is less than the distance between the center lines of the limbs at their origin.” (Ted S Stashak)

Fetlock Varus = the limb deviates in below the fetlock.

Pastern Valgus = the limb deviates out below the pastern.

Abaxial rotational deviation = Twists out.

Axial rotational deviation = Twists in.

Rotation of the hind hoof during break over = “The result of a rotational deviation in the hock joint.”

Denoix Flares laterally = “An outward distortion which may occur on any portion of the hoof wall.” (Millwater’s Farriery)


Photo 2 – Left Hind

When trimming, I follow the guidelines set forth by Michael Savoldi in trimming to uniform sole thickness. The width of web of the shoe is defined as twice as wide as the wall is thick. To define the wall thickness, measure from the outside of the live sole to the outside of the hoof wall. Traditionally the crease or nail line would be placed in the center of the web of the shoe. This would place the nail line over the white line. Uniform wall thickness on an average saddle horse is 3/8 inch; therefore a ¾ inch width of web shoe would be appropriate. Web width over ¾ would be considered wide web and under ¾ would be narrow web for a horse with a 3/8 inch thick hoof wall. A shoe with wide web would be used for greater protection of the solar surface of the hoof or to reduce traction. When defining thickness of the shoe, consider the weight of the horse, environment, wear, and integrity of the hoof. A thick shoe would be appropriate for a weak hoof, to increase traction for longer wear, or to increase the mechanics of modifications built into the shoe. When defining Shoe type, consider; weight of horse, conformation, condition, environment, rider ability, discipline and management.

A Kerckhaert DF Grand Prix which has a greater width of web laterally was used to allow for the modifications needed. The horse is large and heavy boned, capable of carrying the weight of the shoe The width of web was further increased laterally by extending the crease and setting the lateral heel down toward the inside width of web.   The thickest part of the lateral heel of the shoe is under the viable hoof wall. The medial branch width is decreased by grinding. The shoe is perimeter fit to the hoof at uniform wall thickness. Pins are used for traction on the concrete the horse traverses on the way to the arena. It is important to minimize the traction on horses that have rotational deviations within the tarsus – or hock. In attempting to reduce the twisting we would inadvertently create greater stress to the hock. (Photo 2 – Left Hind) The left hind limb is not the same. The abaxial rotational deviation at the hock and the fetlock varus are the same. There is less pastern valgus and no axial rotation from the fetlock down. The medial toe has a tendency to flare. The lateral heel of the hoof is collapsing. Often the lateral heels on horses with this conformation will be painful. This hoof, in extension, travels further under the body and often beyond the midline. The modifications to the shoe on the left hind need to be consistent with the differences in conformation. Because of the differences in hoof conformation we know the stresses to this hoof are not the same as those to the right hind. The medial toe flare is addressed in trimming to uniform wall thickness. Because this hoof extends closer to the midline than the contra lateral limb (right hind) the width of web on the lateral heel needs to be greater than that of the shoe on the right hind. To address the compromised heel, the shoe is set down to the outside of the heel of the shoe. The shoe is fit to the perimeter of     the hoof with the thickest part of the lateral heel of the shoe under the viable hoof wall. This lateral heel is fit full. In movement on soft ground the increased width of web will widen the stance. By setting down the outside of the lateral heel we are reducing the impact on the heel during the landing phase. This shoe is historically called a side bone shoe. This conformation increases the chance of formation of side bone. To shoe the horse for the conformation we are being proactive in changing the stresses to the hoof and limb. The medial branch is reduced in width with the grinder. The heel checks are cleaned up by forging and grinder.

The conf   ormation of every limb and every      horse must be evaluated before defining the shoes and modifications to be prescribed. I described the guidelines that were used to shoe this individual horse. The variables from one horse to another are great and many factors have to be given consideration. The changes are conservative and adjusted on a regular schedule. I encourage you to closely study the conformation of the horses that you provide hoof care and use the information to help you help the horse.


Historical references are from The National Museum of Horseshoeing, Sulpher, Oklahoma





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Life Data Labs Inc. Hosts AAPF Clinic

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Guest blog by Rob Logsdon

IMG_1429Recently, Josh Johnson and I attended the AAPF/CAPF Hoofcare Essentials Clinic hosted at the Life Data Labs facility and research lab. The founder of Life Data Labs, Dr. Frank Gravlee and his son, Dr. Scott Gravlee, gave a very informative presentation covering the history and development of their Life Data products. Life Data Labs, Inc. is a dedicated manufacturer committed to providing premium quality animal nutrition and health products.

From their Cherokee, Alabama headquarters, they conduct research, manufacture products, and provide product support to their customers. Both father and son have dedicated their lives to equine nutrition; making the health of the horse their number one priority

The clinicians for the AAPF sponsored event were Curtis Burns, Dave Farley, Tim Cable, Shane Westman and Cathy Lesperance; providing educational lectures for all who attended. In addition, AAPF members Roy Bloom, Brent Brown, Dave Dawson, James Gilchrist, Steve Prescott, Jeff Ridley and Adam Wynbrandt were available to field questions from the audience. Numerous vendors were in attendance. We found there was a great deal of interest from the farriers in the Kerckhaert Ranger Lite Rim and Ranger Lite shoes, as well as the Liberty nails. We offer a big “Thank You” to the Life Data team. The food, facility – and hospitality – were outstanding, and we look forward to future events at Life Data.


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2015 Equine Podiatry Conference

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Guest blogger: Ed Szymanski

The 2015 Equine Podiatry Conference was hosted by the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center and organized by Dudley Hurst. Rob Logsdon and I had the pleasure of participating, along with approximately 80 farriers and veterinarians. The clinicians for the event were Bob Pethick, APF CJF (sponsored by FPD) and Dr. Greg Staller.

Attendees watch the shoeing demonstration.

Attendees watch the shoeing demonstration.

Broken down into two segments, the conference offered lectures in the morning and a live demonstration in the afternoon. Bob’s presentation, “Hoof Capsule Management for Limb Deviations” covered sheared heels, quarter cracks, mismatched feet and a look at the hind end. Dr. Staller’s presentation was, “Important Lameness Problems that Require Veterinarian/Farrier Collaboration.” Both presentations were well received by all in attendance. During the afternoon live shoeing, Bob and Dr. Staller collaborated on solutions for a horse with a club foot and almost no sole depth. Bob put modified Kerckhaert SX-8 shoes on the hinds and Kerckhaert Classic Rollers on the fronts.

We continue to receive a lot of interest and enthusiasm for the new Ranger series by Kerckhaert, particularly the newest shoe in the series, the Ranger Lite Rim. As always, farriers shared positive feedback about the Kerckhaert brand, in general, and the Liberty nails, which are rapidly growing in popularity among professional farriers.

At the end of the day, I would say this conference was extremely beneficial for furthering farrier/veterinarian relationships and providing a first-class educational venue and Rob and I were happy to participate.

I’d like to share a note that we received from Jeremy Rigsby, a Tennessee farrier who attended this conference:

“I just want to tell you all how deeply appreciative I am for your support of the 2nd Annual Podiatry Conference at The University of Tennessee. Giving back to the farrier community like that shows not only your passion for our profession, but also why you are an industry leader. Thank you so much!”

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Derby Week 2015

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by Guest blogger Rob Logsdon

I spent Derby week in the barn area at Churchill Downs every morning, observing the many farriers that were there to shoe Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby horses. This is one of the most enjoyable weeks for me and I always look forward to the time spent with these talented farriers.

Ray Amato, Sr., Rob Logsdon of FPD and Ray Amato, Jr.

Ray Amato, Sr., Rob Logsdon of FPD and Ray Amato, Jr.

Throughout the week, I was able to meet with Todd Boston, Steve Norman, Jim Bayes, Caughey Romero, Frankie Guarneri, Jimmy Costello and Ray Amato, Sr. and Ray Amato, Jr. The speed and efficiency these professional farriers display in their work is impressive. Not only is the Derby an opportunity for the best 3-year old Thoroughbreds to perform at the most popular horse race, it also brings together the best trainers and farriers. Observing these farriers shoeing these magnificent animals is truly a pleasure.

Amato Farriers

Ray Amato, Sr. and Ray Amato, Jr.

This year was especially notable because Ray Amato, Sr. and Ray Amato, Jr. came to Louisville to shoe horses for trainer Todd Pletcher; the leading North American trainer, by money earned, for five consecutive years. The Amato men have been shoeing for Pletcher for over 19 years.

The Amato men have been shoeing horses in the U.S. for three generations. Ray, Sr.’s father came to America from Italy and settled in Queens, New York. He first shod carriage horses in the City, but as the popularity of the automobile grew, and the need for passenger/cargo horses waned, he made the transition to shoeing race horses at Aqueduct racetrack and Belmont Park. Ray, Sr. learned from his father and began apprenticing and shoeing on the racetrack over 60 years ago. In the mid 1970’s, Ray, Jr. joined his father in shoeing horses on the racetrack. The Amato’s are true icons in the racing industry, and everyone agrees – they are a pleasure to be around. It was a privilege to spend time with them; watching them work together during Derby week.

This is the first leg of the exciting Triple Crown. Next up – the Preakness!

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