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I’ve just returned from the American Farrier’s Association Annual Convention, held in Reno, Nev. This year had a great turnout of several hundred footcare practitioners.
If there was one message I took from the gathering, it was that qualified farriers who are committed to self-improvement must take ownership of the trade. More than one speaker stated this and I heard it echoed by many of the attendees I spoke with during the convention. This concept isn’t new to the farrier industry, but it seemed to ring with renewed vigor in Reno.
How has the absence of complete ownership manifested itself in footcare? In recent years, as discussed by Mitch Taylor at the convention, it shows through the prominence of the modern barefoot movement. The Kentucky Horseshoeing School director targeted those staunch disciples who hold romanticized, yet flawed, concepts that no horse should ever wear shoes.
Most farriers have been dismissive of this movement. After all, the battle cry of “no horseshoes, no way” has existed longer than all us have been alive. But the current incarnation of the barefoot movement has been particularly successful because of the Internet.
The Internet allows anyone with access the opportunity to promote themselves as “experts.” Information can be collected and disseminated without context, so it can benefit whatever need the web author intends. And it is all available 24-7-365 for the horse-owning public.
Taylor finds some of the blame for this barefoot movement rests with a minority of farriers, whose lack…