Troy Price has March 16 circled on his calendar. That’s the day he will begin his second year of teaching farrier students at the Troy Price Horseshoeing School in Uniondale, Ind.
“I’m excited,” he says. “I have three out of the four slots filled for the first 12-week class. I have two others signed up for my second class, which will start in June.”
Price and his wife Jenny opened the school March 17, 2014, on 2 acres in rural Northeast Indiana.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for 15 years or better,” Troy says. “Then, just a couple of years ago, Jenny got on board with it.”
Chimes Jenny, “All right, let’s do it. I didn’t want to be older and think, ‘Wow, what if?’ Let’s at least give it a try.”
It wasn’t just a spur of the moment decision for Jenny, though.
“I had a lot of people telling me that Troy’s really good at explaining and teaching,” she says. “I said to myself, ‘He can do this.’ I thought I really need to be supportive and get behind him on this.”
Once Jenny hopped aboard, the real work began — attaining state accreditation.
“Indiana has a protocol that we had to follow,” she explains. “You have to have an institutional surety bond, you have to be insured and have a curriculum. They also visit the site to make sure that you have the supplies to support the students.”
After completing a stack of paperwork and disclosing financial statements, it became the only state-accredited horseshoeing school in Indiana.
“Being regulated by the state, it’s a good refund policy,” Troy says. “So, if it doesn’t work out for the student, they just pay for the time that they were here.”
The school operates from the middle of March to the Friday before Thanksgiving, offering five courses:
“We can customize the program for each individual’s need,” Troy says. “By keeping small class sizes, it allows that. On any class that’s 12 weeks or less, I really focus as much as I can on real world horseshoeing. I hound the basics repeatedly — posture, trimming, balance, forging, dealing with clients, the every day stuff. I have a 24- and a 36-week class that I can get into a lot more stuff because we have more time.”
Colt Ingram of Chesapeake, Va., graduated from the 12-week program and found the smaller class size was beneficial.
“I think you progress a lot faster here than you would at the bigger schools because there’s a lot more one-on-one time,” Ingram says. “Troy knows what he’s talking about and he’s a great teacher.”
Ingram has a bit of an advantage over other students in that his father Mark Ingram is an accomplished farrier himself.
“Once a student graduates, it’s huge to have someone to work with at home,” Troy says. “It’s an even bigger advantage to have it be your dad. To have someone to work with, give you advice and be able to go to them when you have an issue.”
With the first year of the horseshoeing school under his belt, Troy wants to help his students improve their speed and efficiency.
“I’m going to spend more time focused on keg shoe shaping and shoeing,” he says. “I might schedule more horses just to be trimmed so the students get the feeling of trimming several horses. One advantage I have is plenty of horses are available for students to work on, so I can get students under horses almost every day. It’s important that they get more real world horseshoeing under their belt.”
When students hit the classroom, Troy has tried to make it as easy as possible for them. He supplies all of the tools they need in a farrier shop and a pole barn.
“I let them use all of my tools and equipment,” he says. “I give them 100% access to my shop and everything I have the entire time they’re here. I have several different types of hammers, clinchers, different brands of tools. When it comes time for them to buy their own tools, they’ll have a better idea of what they actually like the most.”
They’ll also have a comfortable place to stay. Students who need overnight accommodations have free use of the farmhouse, which is just a few steps from both shops. The house contains a kitchen, laundry, air conditioning and soft water.
After more than 20 years as a farrier, Troy has enjoyed a highly successful career. He got his start in 1993 as a graduate of the Kentucky Horseshoeing School. Just 6 years later, he became a certified journeyman farrier.
Troy is a five-time member of the American Farriers Team and has been a Top 10 finalist on five different occasions at the World Championship Blacksmith Competition at the Calgary Stampede, winning three individual classes.
He has been an American Farrier’s Association tester for 6 years and judged at the national convention in 2010. Troy received the Clyde Stringer Award in 2011 from the Indiana Farriers Association for his willingness to share his knowledge and experience.
“I used to think shoeing horses was the greatest job on Earth, until I started teaching horseshoeing,” he says. “I’m the last one to leave the shop. Any time you like something as much as I like this, I just know from experience that it will grow.”