The Alaska State Farriers Association (ASFA) held its annual summer clinic at the Bluegrass Equestrian Center in Wasilla, Alaska, from August 4-5. The clinic lead by clinician Chris Gregory, CJF, FWCF, drew 10 attendees.
The first day of the 2-day clinic featured a review of anatomy and gait faults, tools and basic trimming, as well as a discussion of what constitutes a good shoeing job. Heidi Larabee, president of the ASFA, said that many of the farriers in attendance at the clinic were fresh out of school and looking to begin working in the farrier industry. She says they also had a fair number of veteran farriers looking to brush up on their skills and knowledge.
It addition to the reviews on the first day, two horses were brought in for the group to do some basic work on and some horsemanship skills were addressed.
The second day of the clinic focused on therapeutic shoeing techniques and how to trim and shoe for proper balance. A horse with some navicular changes was brought in and Gregory walked the group through how to address the horse’s problems.
Larabee says that one of the special things about a small-sized clinic like this one is the individualized attention and interactions that farriers are able to have with the clinician. She says that Gregory made sure everyone understood the things he was saying and why he was doing certain things with the horse. “He was giving us individualized attention that we just couldn’t get anywhere else,” she says. “Chris offered individualized tips and advice to each participant. He was able to get a feel for the attendees and offer specific advice that pertained to them and the Alaskan environment we work in.”
The ASFA holds the annual summer clinics to give Alaskan farriers the opportunity to continue their education. Larabee says, “It’s not feasible for Alaskan farriers to buy a plane ticket and travel to the states for a one-day clinic, but it’s still necessary that we find quality people to bring to Alaska so we can expose our farriers to quality education and better our small community.”
That being said, many of the clinic’s attendees still had to travel far to attend the clinic. Larabee says one attendee had to travel 400 miles to the clinic. This, she says, illustrates farriers’ commitment to their industry and to continuing education.
The ASFA also regularly holds a winter forging competition.