Although many might think turning a shoe is a simple task, actually watching a farrier make a horseshoe reveals that it is quite a feat. It is a process that combines technical skill and artistic ability.
Kris Kremp is an individual who recognizes what it takes for a farrier to forge a good shoe, according to The Western Producer. Kremp, who has been interested in blacksmithing his whole life, is the organizer for the Wildrose Blacksmithing Championships. The fourth annual event took place Feb. 10, 2018, in the Ag Arena in Barrhead, Alberta.
Kremp, who graduated from and later taught the 2-year blacksmithing course at Olds College in Olds, Alberta, says he organized the event to “help promote excellence in the farrier industry.”
“We’re a non-regulated trade and I did this to try to improve the quality of life and performance for the horses all over North America and to try to raise the standard of our trade, and provide an opportunity for continuing education for the farrier,” Kremp says.
His hard work has paid off. Farriers who attend the event find it to be an informative and fun environment for refining their skills, whether they’re new to it or have been coming since its beginning.
Sara Vanderpol, an Elora, Ontario, farrier and a former member of the Canadian Farrier Team, attended the event for the first time this year.
“I just love it,” Vanderpol says.
Greg Toronchuk of Onoway and Jason Wrubleski of Cooking Lake similarly appreciate Kremp’s efforts. Both farriers have attended the Wildrose Blacksmithing Championships since its first year and agree that the yearly event always provides opportunities for them to refine their forging skills.
“If I didn’t learn, I wouldn’t come,” says Wrubleski, who has been a farrier for 18 years.
Kremp considered this year’s event to be a success. Last year, 30 farriers competed. He reported that this year roughly 280 shoes were forged by the 40 attendees.
“The horses all stood really good … the competitors all did a really great job. Our judge, Randy Brassard, was just fantastic. He was very thorough.”
The increase in participation for this year’s Championship has Kremp already planning for 2019.