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Whether at a convention, certification or contest, you can usually see Andy Darden with his red truck. His set up is simple: sitting in a lawn chair with his tailgate down displaying an incredible selection of beautiful, quality tools. I met him a few years ago at the first Forge of July in Shelbyville, Ky. He took the time to explain his tool making process, offered advice and shared the wisdom he’s earned over decades as a farrier and toolmaker to all who stopped by his truck. I’ve enjoyed many of these conversations over the years and keep in touch with Darden. With COVID-19 limiting travel, I haven’t seen Darden because of the cancellation of events, so we chatted online.
Katie Gaudet: How did you become a farrier?
Andy Darden: My wife’s family had horses. I first became interested in becoming a farrier after we married. About 50 years ago, I spent 30 days in North Carolina learning from Leonard Crotts, who shod trotters. From there, I mostly shod Quarter Horses, but I would shoe whatever horses I came across. I also worked in the Sheet Metal Workers Union for 54 years.
KG: What farrier career highlight stands out for you?
AD: It’s hard to say, but back when I was shoeing Quarter Horses, I worked for Bill Coffman. He had a few halter horses that…