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The 2008 inductees for the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame and the International Equine Veterinarians Hall of Fame is a varied and eclectic group of six individuals. The common background for all of them, however, is that they have each played an important role in elevating the practice and principles of equine hoof care and medical treatment.
Honored during ceremonies at the 2008 International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio, were farriers Dave Birdsall, Michael DeLeonardo, Dave Farley and Chris Gregory, and equine veterinarians Kent Carter and Jay Merriam.
“Generosity of spirit coupled with an abiding commitment to the highest standards of professionalism were the underpinnings of this year’s award ceremonies,” says Frank Lessiter, editor of American Farriers Journal, which sponsors the Summit. Acknowledging the tireless work and sense of purpose each recipient demonstrated, he went on to add, “The Hall of Fame plaques are just a small token of the thanks for the new members’ legacies to the hoof-care community.”
How does a farrier for over 40 years with 22 of them spent as the official shoer at the prestigious Hampton Classic get started? For Dave Birdsall it was simple. “I was fascinated from the first time I first met the local blacksmith/horseshoer in the Adirondacks where we spent part of our summers,” he recalls. “I was 13 and I couldn’t stay away even when I could have been fishing or swimming.”
He loved the stories and he loved learning. He also loved the odd jobs…