NEWS AND NOTES
The membership of the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame increased by four: Doyle Blagg, John Marino, Bob Smith and Bob Walters. They were recognized during a ceremony at the International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio, on February 4, 2010.
The Class of 2010 was honored for their work on behalf of horses, horse owners and the hoof-care community.
Here is a look at the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame Class of 2010.
Doyle Blagg - Collinsville, Texas
Doyle Blagg, of Collinsville, Texas, has been shoeing horses for more than 50 years and has probably shod more American Quarter Horse Association, American Paint Horse Association and Appaloosa champions than anyone. He's also known for developing farriery techniques that have influenced other farriers.
But what seems to have impressed his peers most about Blagg is his willingness to help other farriers, as well as his commitment to sharing his knowledge with farriers, trainers and horse owners. He has appeared as a clinician around the world, but is also always ready to offer a little "tail-gate consulting" with another farrier who has stopped by his workshop or at a barn where he's working.
A self-effacing man who enjoys great popularity with his peers, Blagg urges farriers and horse owners to always keep in pursuit of more knowledge. Despite more than a half century of experience, he maintains he continues learning all the time, noting that keeping an open mind has enabled him to learn from everyone from Hall Of Fame shoers to backyard farriers who have shown him a new technique or tip.
When told about his election to the Hall, Blagg, who has suffered some health problems recently, said, "That is just about the best news I've had in a long time." He went on to express his happiness and humility regarding the honor and thanked those who have helped advance his career to where he is today.
John Marino - Peaster, Texas
Described by one former client as "the ultimate professional farrier," John Marino of Peaster, Texas has earned accolades in multiple areas of the hoof-care profession.
Marino, who started his career in New Jersey in 1956 after a stint in the Air Force, has earned recognition as a competitor, educator, manufacturer and innovator.
Marino was the founder of Across The Anvil Farrier Supply, as well as JHM Manufacturing. Some farriers may not realize it, but when they use turning cams on their anvils, they're taking advantage of a Marino invention. Marino also introduced wider-face anvils, to give farriers more working room as well as a line of anvil stands that continue to be popular.
Marino has always supported the community of horseshoers. He continues to be an active member of the Texas Professional Farriers Association, the American Farrier's Association and the Brotherhood of Working Farriers.
Marino also is known for setting a high standard in professionalism. Supporters of his Hall candidacy commended him for punctuality, courtesy, knowledge and dependability. One long-time client noted, "I was always impressed that he never spoke ill or unkindly about any of his competitors."
Several supporters also mentioned Marino's refusal to approach horses with any kind of a cookie-cutter method. "He approaches each horse as a unique creature with a unique set of problems," noted one nominator.
Bob Smith - Plymouth, Calif.
While well-known for his shoeing skills, Bob Smith is even more renowned as an educator. His Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School in Plymouth, Calif., has gained a reputation as one of the top horseshoeing schools in the United States and has turned out more than 2,000 graduates.
Smith's school is known for providing students with a solid basis in footcare and also for its emphasis on the need to understand business principles in order to succeed.
He pursues his passion for education beyond the walls of his school, putting on clinics for farrier organizations, veterinary clinics, horse owners and other equine groups. His passion and dedication comes through in all his presentations, helping to inspire, motivate and re-motivate many farriers to reach for and attain higher career goals.
Smith has done extensive footcare work with zoo animals and has also volunteered his own services as well as those of his students to help numerous therapeutic riding grounds and non-profit equine rescue groups across northern California. For these volunteer efforts, in 2009, he was the first recipient of the Summit Achievement Award in 2009, sponsored by American Farriers Journal and Delta Mustad Hoofcare Center.
"I am humbled to be included by this great group," Smith said during the awards ceremony. "There's nothing quite as rewarding as being recognized by one's peers. It talks about the trials and tribulations that we have had. I am just overwhelmed to have received this."
Bob Walters - Dimmit, Texas
Acquaintances, clients and friends know Bob Walters of Dimmit, Texas, as an exceptional man as well as an exceptional farrier. A working cowboy in the Texas Panhandle, Walters went on to become a self-taught horseshoer, using his exceptional horsemanship skills and powers of observation to develop and improve his skills.
One person who nominated Walters for the Hall offered the opinion that Walters had probably shod more horses than anyone else.
Walters was always willing to share his knowledge with other farriers, mentoring many shoers throughout the Southwest. Another person who wrote in support of his nomination said, "You can talk to just about anyone who has ever known him and you won't hear anyone say a single bad thing."
Walters, who has been in poor health, was unable to attend the induction ceremony, but in a note, expressed these sentiments.
"Let me say first that you will never know how much I appreciate being inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame. When New Mexico farrier Jim Keith called and told me of this honor, my wife had to practically scrape me off the ceiling.
"With the Lord's good help, great people to work with and lots of expert advice, I have thoroughly enjoyed my profession through the years and am deeply honored. I thank everyone for allowing me to be a very small part of this profession."