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The start of a new career path can be daunting. New horseshoeing school graduates understand this. Despite having the proper educational background, new farriers quickly learn that the education doesn’t stop once they receive their certificate of completion.
In 2008, American Farriers Journal established the “Rising Shoeing Star” program. Every year, this program highlights three recent horseshoeing school graduates who have successfully continued their career paths past graduation. This award was sponsored by Apex Tool Group/Diamond, Delta Mustad Hoofcare Center, G.E. Forge & Tool, Life Data Labs, Purcell Farrier Supply, Vettec and American Farriers Journal.
In 2012, Gwen Nardi of The Plains, Va., a 2008 graduate of the Kentucky Horseshoeing School (KHS) in Richmond, Ky., took home the top prize. Upon graduation, she became an intern at Forging Ahead in Round Hill, Va., where she focused on therapeutic horseshoeing. She followed this experience by joining the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech (VMRCVM) as a podiatry intern. In 2010, Nardi became the youngest woman to become an American Farrier’s Association (AFA) certified journeyman farrier.
Here, Nardi shares the challenges she’s faced as a new farrier, the lessons she’s learned from established equine professionals and offers advice to farriers in training.
A:My gender and age were obstacles. Some farriers and horse owners heard “19 and female” and didn’t want to give me a chance, even though I graduated at the top of my class from KHS. It…