April 9, 2012

The International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame was started in 1993. This year’s seven new members have all left their mark on the shoeing industry through hard work, dedication and a passion for equine footcare. A common thread in their careers is their willingness to share knowledge and help others in the industry improve the overall state of hoof care and soundness. Current members of the Hall served as the slate of electors for this year’s nominees.

The late Clark Beckstead, who passed away March 14, 2011, was a highly respected farrier in the Santa Barbara, Calif., community. He received many nominations praising his work, a true testament to his lasting impact.
Beckstead attended Oklahoma Farriers College in the early ’70s on an impulse — an impulse that turned into an over 30-year career.
Beckstead’s wife, Karen, and son, Justin, are overjoyed to see Clark’s career honored in such a prestigious way. Justin says that the most rewarding part of his father’s career was the many young and ambitious farriers he had the opportunity to share his knowledge with. The greatest satisfaction at the end of each day for his father was when those he mentored would describe to him the many things they had learned that day.
On behalf of his father, Justin says, “This honor is the crowning achievement on the career of a man that did not seek out accolades or notoriety, yet I know … he would be beaming with pride.
“I also know that he would have heartfelt congratulations to the other inductees and a sincere appreciation and humility to be amongst the elite in this trade.
“As his son, it gives me great pride to know that his legacy will continue on. In the words of one of his favorite country music artists, Vince Gill, ‘Go rest high on that mountain, son, your work on Earth is done.’”

James Findler of White Rock, British Columbia, has been shoeing horses for over 30 years.
The idea of becoming a blacksmith originated from his grandfather. A short time later, in the fall of 1982, Findler enrolled in the Kwantlen College farrier program.
In no time, his life was completely consumed with shoe making and learning all there was to know about the horse and hoof. He is grateful for his great mentor and instructor from the start, Hank McEwan (another International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame member).
Findler’s achievements have also been some of his most memorable experiences. In 1993, he won the Top Ten Horseshoeing at the World Championships in Calgary, Alberta. He also became Forging Champion at the Calgary Stampede in 1996, as well as having the Best Shod Foot at the 2005 Calgary finals.
Having traveled and competed on the Canadian Farriers Team and judged the World Team Championships in Stoneleigh, England, in 1996 and the World Championships in Calgary in 2002, it’s no surprise to those that nominated him that he is now a Hall Of Fame member. But to Findler, it is “definitely one great surprise.”
“I would like to thank all my great mentors, including Hank McEwan, Bob Marshall and Dave Duckett,” he says. “I am thankful for all my horseshoeing friends around the world.”

Rob Sigafoos of Kennett Square, Pa., has had an extensive career, with nearly 25 years as Chief of Farrier Services at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center until 2006.
He grew up in Northern Virginia and went to high school in Washington, D.C. His interest in horseshoeing developed while working for a local polo club. “I was fascinated by the lameness problems these horses were experiencing,” he says.
At first he considered veterinary school, but at that time the veterinary profession wasn’t able to offer horses much in terms of progressive remedies. Farriery, he felt, was the most direct road to innovative therapeutic intervention.
Looking back, Sigafoos says the most rewarding part of his career has been learning from some of the most talented and knowledgeable farriers and veterinarians in their professions.
“My father … strongly believed that the best measure of a teacher is when his student goes on to surpass the teacher in their contributions.” In that light, Sigafoos considers himself a good teacher and was one of the pioneers in working with glue-on shoes.
Humbled by his Hall Of Fame induction, Sigafoos says, “At first I was sure that I had been confused with someone who really deserved this honor. But when you grow up with such a mouthful of a last name, you rarely get confused with anyone.
“Seeing others who have also been inducted, I realize what an honor this is to be included in such a group.”