Pictured Above: Tim and Craig Lindauer, a father-and-son farrier team, attend the International Hoof-Care Summit together. Continuing education is among the prerequisites for Tim to eventually take over Craig’s Chardon, Ohio, farrier business.
The Definition Of A Summit
1. top, apex, 2. the highest point of a hill or mountain, 3. peak. — Webster Dictionary
Many of us make this journey each year to the peak, the top and the highest point of the footcare industry, where we are educated by the best minds in the hoof-care profession.
- Be educated by the best hoof-care experts in the world by attending the International Hoof-Care Summit.
- Footcare price increases will be justified and profits will rise by investing in continuing education.
- Make friends from around the world whom you can call for advice when dealing with tough footcare situations.
The International Hoof-Care Summit is also where we have the chance to educate others over 4 days by being part of roundtables, meeting in hallways or just telling footcare stories in the late evening hours.
The Summit is where we learn about new products in the marketplace and are introduced to farriers, veterinarians, researchers, trainers and owners from all over the world.
There is so much to see — and what a view it is!
14 Years And Counting
I’ve made the journey to the International Hoof-Care Summit for the past 14 years and will attend the 15th one in January with as much anticipation as I had during my very first year. Truth be told, attending the past 4 years has been even more meaningful because I’ve made these Summit trips with my son Tim, who was first my apprentice and now is my partner.
A wise man once said, “To teach is to learn twice.” Dave Farley of Coschton, Ohio, and Wellington, Fla., said that to me when I introduced him to my son 2 years ago at Yoder Blacksmith Supply in Fredericksburg, Ohio. (Actually the wise man was a French writer named Joseph Joubert — not that Dave isn’t wise.) Joking aside, I’ve learned so much from teaching my son.
Dave emphasized that we should never stop learning. His advice was that if you always strive for more knowledge, your career as a farrier will be a satisfying one.
To that end, I made a deal with my son to encourage him to become a farrier. The plan I came up with was that if he would apprentice with me for 3 years and attend at least two continuing education conferences a year, he could take over my business.
I shared my belief that the International Hoof-Care Summit is the foremost continuing education offering available anywhere in the world. We’ve also both become members of the American Association of Professional Farriers because they emphasize the merits of continuing your footcare education.
Get More Involved
The very first year I went to the Summit, I went alone and didn’t know more than a handful of attendees. Even though I’d been shoeing for 17 years, I was overwhelmed by the farriers, veterinarians, horse owners and educators who attended from all over the world. I suddenly felt inadequate — bringing back memories of my first day spent as a youngster at a new school.
That first year, I sat in the back of the rooms, took notes and spoke little to other attendees. When the sessions were over, I wandered around downtown Cincinnati or went back to my hotel room and waited for the next session to begin.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot of first-time Summit attendees doing the same thing over the years.
I felt more comfortable in the trade show area in those early years, since the vendors were enthusiastic to talk and showcase their products. In the process. I’d end up in a discussion with someone interested in the same products that I was.
The next thing I knew, we had moved on from, “Where are you from? How long you been shoeing? Do you know so and so?” The resulting discussions continued later in the day at the Hoof-Care Roundtables or in the hotel bar after the sessions had ended.
Strive for more knowledge to make your farrier career more satisfying …
I recall one year sitting at a table with Jack Miller, Chuck Milne and a few other long-time farriers who told stories that only “old timers” would be able to share. These stories live on with people who have taken the time to listen and pass them along to other farriers.
If you attend the Summit and only have interactions with farriers who have “stories” and who are interested in your stories, that alone is worth the trip all by itself.
I left the Summit that first year feeling glad that I went. And I knew I would go again the following year.
More Learning, More Friendships
In each of the following years, I sat closer and closer to the front of the classrooms, spoke more to attendees and continued the friendships built up in previous years. I’d see the same five or six farriers from my home area, yet wondered why other farriers I knew weren’t at the Summit.
It’s easy to say, “I am too busy to go,” “It costs too much” or “I don’t think I need to learn this or that.”
Yes, it can be a sacrifice of time and money, but attending the Summit is well worth the time and cost. After all, you don’t lose business by going to the Summit, even if you have to work a little harder before to catch up. The money spent on the Summit will come back to you many times over.
Should Other Farriers Attend The International Hoof-Care Summit?
Yes, say 98.7%
of past attendees
— Survey of 2018 International Hoof-Care Summit attendees
Even so, some farriers wonder why they need to attend when they’ve been earning a good living for 20 to 30 years. Yet a new perspective gained from the Summit can show them an entirely different way to tackle a tough footcare problem.
Truthfully, there have been years when I’ve debated whether to attend. After all, there are often sessions that are similar to those presented in previous years, along with other topics that don’t apply specifically to my hoof-care work.
As January drew nearer, the desire would hit me to see Summit attendees I’d missed talking with over the past year and the chance to learn something new about equine footcare. Sometimes what you hear from Summit speakers and in hallway conversations simply affirms that you’ve been doing things correctly all along.
Every year, I leave the Summit with new knowledge, an educational nugget or a new product that can increase my bottom line. If it comes down to a farrier who chooses not to increase his or her knowledge and expertise, or one who participates in continuing education, the latter will be chosen most of the time by a client.
Price increases will be justified, and profits will rise with continuing education.
No matter who you are, where you are from, how many years you’ve been working as a farrier or your area of expertise, making the trip to the Summit is an absolute must. Don’t stop attending after 1-2 years. Continue to attend to learn, grow and make new acquaintances.
I’m now able to contact farriers and vendors around the world when I need help or information. I would have never had that kind of help if I only attended a few Summits.
I’d recommend that you make the trip to Cincinnati in late January and enjoy the fabulous learning and view from the International Hoof-Care Summit. Be sure to introduce yourself to Tim and me, since we’d love to learn from your footcare experiences.