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The Calgary Mail-In Exercise, now going into its sixth year, continues to grow as an educational forging event, attracting new entrants from around the globe who are eager to improve their own forging skills as well as to share in the valuable farrier tools and supplies provided by the farrier industry companies that support this effort.
And they’re growing evidence that the skills they hone in the exercise are paying off in real world shoeing.
“We’re seeing more and more validation of the exercise,” says Marshall Iles, the Calgary, Alberta farrier who chairs the event, as well as the World Championship Blacksmiths’ Competition at the Calgary Stampede. “We’re teaching some of the hand skills of the past and people are finding out they can use them in their everyday work.”
Iles says he’s heard from a number of people who have told him they’ve used shoes they first learned to make in the Mail-In Exercise in actual shoeing situations.
“That was especially true of the lateral extension bar shoe used in last year’s exercise,” says Iles. “We got one long letter in particular from a farrier who said he’d used one that really helped a horse. Some people may believe that this exercise has no basis in practical reality, but letters like this show that’s not true. There is a reason that these shoes exist. They all have a point and a purpose.”
Iles says there are other benefits to participating in the exercise as well.
“For people who are…