Videos of the 2020 Rising Shoeing Stars discussing their early career tests and triumphs can be found at

Three up-and-coming farriers are being honored for early career success as American Farriers Journal’s 2020 Rising Shoeing Stars:

  • Gilad Friedman of Blacksburg, Va.
  • Mia Durham of Lake Luzerne, New York
  • Scott Bushaw of Ames, Iowa

Friedman is a graduate of Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School in Plymouth, Calif., while Bushaw and Durham are, respectively, graduates of Heartland Horseshoeing School in Lamar, Mo., and the Cornell University Farrier Program in Ithaca, N.Y.

American Farriers Journal introduced the Rising Shoeing Star Award 11 years ago. Along with leading farrier industry suppliers, this recognition program promotes the importance of further footcare education, while encouraging young shoers in their careers. Co-sponsors include Adeptus Nutrition Inc., American Farriers Journal, Dechra Veterinary Products, and Pyranha.

Friedman, who was the first-place winner, will be awarded $1,000, while runn

American Farriers Journal introduced the Rising Shoeing Star Award 11 years ago. Along with leading farrier industry suppliers, this recognition program promotes the importance of further footcare education, while encouraging young shoers in their careers. Co-sponsors include Adeptus Nutrition Inc., American Farriers Journal, Dechra Veterinary Products, and Pyranha.

Meet the Winners

Gilad Friedman
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After graduating from horseshoeing school, Friedman wanted to continue his hoof-care education through apprenticeships. He purchased a truck in California and hit the road. His first stop was Lubbuck, Texas, where he spent 4 months with Blane Chapman. His next stop was Oklahoma, where he connected with Dusty Franklin, owner and instructor of the Five Star Horseshoeing School in Minco. He also spent time with Gregory Davis, Joey Hite and Eric Gilleland. Eventually he was awarded an internship at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.

Mia A. Durham
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After graduating from horseshoeing school, Durham earned an associate degree at State University of New York Community College, Adirondack and she is currently completing her bachelor’s degree in animal science at SUNY, Cobleskill. Her shoeing business is based in Lake Luzerne, N.Y. She works predominantly on backyard and training horses. When she is not shoeing or studying, she is working part-time as a podiatrist assistant at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Saratoga.

Scott Bushaw
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While at Heartland, Bushaw was at the top of his class. After graduating, he quickly went on to earn his American Farrier’s Association Certified Journeyman Farrier designation. He ran his own shoeing business in Michigan for about a year before he took a job working alongside Doug Russo, who is the resident farrier at Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

Early Career Lessons

The transition from a horseshoeing school student to a full-time farrier can be rough, even for those who graduate at the top of their class. Rising Shoeing Star winners are honored for making outstanding career progress in their first 3 years out of horseshoeing school. Here are some tips from the 2021 Rising Shoeing Stars for achieving the success they worked hard for and how to overcome some of the challenges they encountered after graduating from shoeing school.


1. Temper Your Post-horseshoeing School Expectations


You can’t expect to get out of school and have a full book and just work every day for yourself. I think the first thing you need to do is find a good farrier you like and get along with, and just ride with them for a while. At some point, most farriers — when they are later in their career — have clients they don’t want anymore.

It’s difficult for them to drive to or they are too busy, then they start passing us those clients. When I showed up for those stops, what helped me the most was just doing a good job, every time and showing up on time.

— G.F.

2. Reach Out to the Equine Community


A couple of weeks before I graduated from Cornell, I contacted all of the local farriers and hoof-care organizations. Soon after that I also started my own business. I created a website, posted fliers at local feedstores, handed out business cards, and reached out to talk to people to let them know that I was available to take on clients. Gradually the calls started coming in.

— M.D.

3. Find Clients Through Referrals


After I proved myself to the farriers I rode with or their clients that I worked for, I started getting more work. Farriers would pass along some clients to me and clients would recommend me to their friends. People in the horse community talk all the time. Definitely working for Travis Burns and Dr. Scott Pleasant helped me.

— G.F.

4. Make the Next Appointment Before You Leave


One thing that surprised me after graduating was how much time the business aspects of horseshoeing take. You have to set aside time to do things like inventory, bookkeeping, and scheduling that stuff.

Once I’m done at a stop, I try and schedule the next visit before I leave. That way it’s just right there in the book already.

— S.B.

5. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone


One of the biggest mistakes I made was being afraid to get out of my comfort zone. As soon as I overcame that hurdle, I started being introduced to people who gave me all of these pieces that I needed. That was probably the biggest thing.

I can remember that actual moment when it clicked: it was the first competition I went to. That was when I really, truly embraced the idea that being outside of your comfort zone is where you grow.

As soon as I started feeling comfortable in anything, I recognized that I need to switch it up, and push myself out of that comfort zone.

— S.B.

6. Look at the Big Picture


It’s a long frustrating road, but you have to look at the big picture and see the long-term progress. It’s hard to do the first few years because you are driving all over the place to try and shoe two horses and you are waking up early to help guys out.

There’s no magic in this trade. You have to just work hard and keep on working hard on the stuff that you are not so good at and at some point, you’ll just make it.

You have to remember that all these big names that we know and see around, they weren’t always at that level. They had to start somewhere.

— G.F.

7. Evaluate Your Work and Accept Criticism


You need to be self-critical but also be willing to take criticism from others, too.

It never feels great to have someone tell you what’s wrong with your shoe or trim but it’s important for your growth to be able to take that feedback and improve the next cycle. The only downside to improvement is coming back in 6 weeks to work that you aren’t happy to follow behind.

— M.D.

8. Listen to Podcasts


There are a lot of great resources out there to continue learning. There is no substitute for riding along with other farriers, but when I was introduced to the world of podcasts, it blew my mind.

If I have a long drive, I’m usually listening to a podcast. I’ve thought to myself while I’m listening to some of them that I almost feel like it’s cheating. We have some of the best farriers in the world giving us all of their little bits of information and insight; they didn’t have any of that. Learning for them, I’m sure, was much more painful and drawn out, and we just have it at our fingertips. Podcasts have been beneficial.

— S.B.

9. Find a Way to Manage Difficult Days


Two things helped me on difficult days. The first is my mentors. I know I can reach out anytime and will receive help and support. Sometimes it helps just to talk to someone who understands what you’re going through.

The other thing that inspires me is when you have a horse that walks up sore and you’re able to get it walking away more comfortable.

As cliché as it sounds, it’s truly one of the most rewarding aspects of this career to make a difference for that horse.

— M.D.

Do You Know the Next Rising Shoeing Star?

American Farriers Journal now accepting nominations for the 2021 “Rising Shoeing Star” program. Any farrier who graduated from a farrier school in 2018 is eligible. A link to the nomination form can be found at AmericanFarriers.com/CareerGuide

Become a Rising Shoeing Star Sponsor

If you are interested in becoming a Rising Shoeing Star Sponsor, please contact Jeremy McGovern.