You can read all of the “From The Desk Of AFJ” blogs that were featured in the article “10 Hot Topics From AFJ’s Blog” in the November issue of American Farriers Journal by clicking on the links below, followed by instructions on how to get your free subscription to our weekly electronic newsletter.

10. End Of An Era At The Calgary Stampede

It was certainly a surprise when we heard the Calgary Stampede was dropping the World Championship Blacksmiths’ Competition after 35 years. Not only was this decision a surprise to the farrier community, but it also was a shock to the blacksmith competition organizers who had not suspected the elimination of this valuable learning experience.

9. Consequences Of The Worker Mentality In Hoof Care

In the December issue 2013 of American Farriers Journal, I wrote about a conversation I had with Steve Kraus at the International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot. I won’t give away too much detail from the magazine story, but the head of farrier services at Cornell University’s veterinary clinic explained how he sees too many cases of poor horseshoeing come into his shop.

8. Microsoft Puts The Squeeze On Equine Footcare Software Developers

Faced with continually increasing costs from one of the major computer operating system providers, the folks at Ontrack Equine in Lake Elmo, Minn., have decided to pull back on further development and maintenance of its system.

7. Want To Become A Farrier? Start Elsewhere

Every now and then I receive a phone call from someone interested in becoming a farrier. They always want to know what shoeing school I’d recommend. I talk to them for a few minutes to find out their history, especially work experience. Toward the end of the conversation, I never recommend a particular shoeing school. I offer different advice, which may serve as a good reminder for established farriers.

6. Duckett’s Dot Still Hot

As has been the case for a number of years, there’s still considerable interest and controversy among farriers when it comes to the theories behind Duckett’s Dot. But there’s no doubt the concept has played a key role in the evaluation of the horse’s hoof.

5. You Think A Professional Is Expensive?

I like quotes. I’ve committed quite a few to memory because reciting them in a group setting makes me sound much smarter than I actually am. That doesn’t mean these quotes lack truth.

I’ve always liked this one: "If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur."

4. Farriers Need To Be Concerned With Taking Radiographs

If you happen to be a farrier with your own X-ray machine, make sure you’re legally using it in your footcare work. Otherwise, you may be violating your state’s veterinary practice laws when it comes to what you do with the information gleaned from radiographs.

3. Who Defines Animal Cruelty?

Earlier this week, Associate Editor Jeff Cota wrote a story about the proposed New York City carriage horse ban. This article previews a magazine piece on the subject that is written by New York farrier Jerry Trapani.

2. Forget About Hoof Color!

After California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, members of the general media jumped on the idea that the horse’s white hooves might be a detriment to his racing career. For many decades, some folks in the equine industry have maintained unpigmented hooves are more prone to cracking, tender footedness and weakness.

1. Do Shoeing Schools Need To Adapt?

I am concerned about the high percentage of young farriers who do not continue in the profession after a year. For the most part, the evidence is anecdotal, as there aren’t firm studies on it.

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