There are nearly 7-million horses in the United States, according to the American Horse Council. Each one of these horses is literally one hoof away from success or failure, contentment or pain, life or death, and farriers are positioned to determine the difference.
Perhaps more than anyone else (except the horses themselves), farriers know that healthy hooves are critical to horses’ well-being; hooves make the horse. That certainty is what brought a record-breaking crown of 1,800 to the 34th Annual Convention of the American Farrier's Association (AFA) last month in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The re-energized AFA has set education as the primary goal of its members and its service to the equine community at large. Their new website, www.NoFootNoHorse.org is being developed and poised to become one of the equine industry’s best resources for prevention and treatment of hoof problems.
With an anvil under one arm and a textbook under the other, farriers came to the AFA Convention from around the world to increase their knowledge of equine anatomy, shoeing for specific disciplines, nutrition, balance and posture, shoeing for particular anatomical anomalies, biomechanics, form-to-function, diseases, and much more.
The farriers competed for titles in the 2005 National Forging and Horseshoeing Competition and hammered their way to spots on this year’s American Farriers Team, which will represent the U.S. in international forging and horseshoeing competitions in Canada and England later this year.
Newly-elected officers of the AFA were also introduced, and include Bob Earle, CJF of Chino Valley, AZ (re-elected Vice President) and Walt Taylor, CF of Albuquerque, NM (re-elected Secretary). Craig Trnka, CJF of Edgewood, NM will remain as President, and David Edens, CJF of Graham, TX as Treasurer.
The AFA is headquartered in the National Horse Center at the Kentucky Horse Park. For more information on the AFA, their certification program, guides to proper hoof care, how to find (or become) a farrier, or details of the 2005 Convention, visit www.AmericanFarriers.org or call (859) 233-7411.