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Mentoring is a topic that gets a lot of play in business schools and publications. But it’s nothing new in the horseshoeing world — even if a “ride along” is a lot less formal than the programs you’ll read about in textbooks. It seems that behind every good farrier, there’s at least one mentor.
The role of the farrier mentor is rooted in the history of the craft. Traditionally, the art of working steel and iron was handed on from craftsman to craftsman, whether around the forge of a village smithy, in the corrals of a working ranch or inside an urban livery stable.
While the modern farrier is more likely to have attended a horseshoeing school in the United States, or gone through a formal apprenticeship in some other countries, mentoring still plays a vital role in the horseshoer’s education.
Even experienced farriers who run horseshoeing schools are likely to urge their graduating students to find a veteran shoer to ride along with while they learn the ropes of the business.
J.C. Maloyed, the Virginia farrier who’s the subject of this issue’s “Shoeing For A Living” has been mentored and has also served as a mentor himself. Maloyed made a point of being sure I met Steven “Frostie” Crabtree, the retired farrier who taught him the trade. Maloyed also shared the limelight (such as it is) with Travis Thompson, the younger farrier he — in turn — serves as a mentor to.
Mr. Crabtree —…