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If you ever get the chance to attend a clinic by International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame member Mike Wildenstein, stay on your toes, listen closely and keep your eyes open. Let your attention wander for just a minute and you’ll probably miss something.
And you might want to keep in mind that Wildenstein spent a number of years teaching farriery and veterinary students at Cornell University. There won’t exactly be a quiz, but he may ask those who attend the clinics almost as many questions as they ask him.
Wildenstein, sponsored by Farrier Product Distribution, was the focal point at a well-attended clinic at Centaur Forge in Burlington, Wis., during September. The farrier, who continues to reside in upstate New York, delivered a rapid-fire discussion of various aspects of hoof care, peppered with asides that were as valuable as his carefully prepared PowerPoint slides. He also led an evaluation and trimming of a pair of horses that involved plenty of give-and-take and interaction with farriers in attendance.
One adage that Wildenstein often repeats is, “The farrier with the biggest bag of tricks, wins.” Here are some of the advice and tips that Wildenstein has stored away during his long career.
While the feet and hooves of horses are the primary concern of farriers, Wildenstein stresses that you can’t provide good hoof care by focusing on the feet alone.
“When I was starting out, I didn’t pay attention,” he admits. “I was busy making money. If you asked…