After educating farriers for nearly a quarter of a century in the Pacific Northwest, Mission Farrier School (MFS) is expanding to Oklahoma.

MFS Oklahoma will begin its class Sept. 16, 2019, at its new facilities in Duncan. The class will be limited to eight students and offer both a basic farrier class and an advanced practicing farrier class. MFS Oklahoma and MFS Washington will alternate class start dates, according to a press release, and there will likely be one to two classes per year at each school.

Mark Plumlee, CJF, RJF, CFP, CLS, will share teaching duties with Shasta Budvarson, CF, CFP, CLS, but Budvarson will take on a bigger role as time progresses.

“It’s time to start turning farrier education over to the younger generation,” Plumlee says. “We are blessed to be in a position to help Shasta get the Oklahoma program up and running at her own facility.”

Plumlee and his wife Karen opened Mission Farrier School in 1996 in Washington state after Mark realized the way farriers interpret horses’ needs could be improved from “the way we’ve always done it.” Since then, MFS — a state-licensed, private vocational program — has been “teaching a more up-to-date and complete approach to farrier science.”

Budvarson graduated from MFS Washington in 2013 and spent most of the next 2 years as Plumlee’s assistant.

“Shasta has a passion for learning and for helping others learn,” Plumlee says. “She is good on the anvil and she continues to pursue all educational opportunities. She is in a unique position to be able to teach that knowledge to others.”

Both schools are grounded in blending conventional work with developing research and alternative shoeing methods, primarily through the six building blocks: applying relevant hoof science, understanding anatomy and biomechanics, rethinking “the way we’ve always done it,” learning meaningful horsemanship, practicing traditional craftsmanship and communicating with clients, veterinarians and fellow farriers. This approach has paved the way for a more complete approach to hoof health and a modern farrier science education, Plumlee says.

“Mission Farrier School has been a magnet for special needs horses, often from veterinary referrals,” he says. “It is from working on these challenged feet that students become more aware of what normal, healthy foot function should look like.”