Shoeing Career Built On Curiosity and Caring About Horses

A look at Cornell farrier Mike Wildenstein

Michael Wildenstein has reached heights reserved for only an elite few. He’s one of just four farriers worldwide — and the only American — to earn honors in passing the test that made him a Fellow in the Worshipful Company Of Farriers of Great Britain.

The key to success for the certified journeyman farrier and recent inductee into the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame is his continuing, intense curiosity. That quality is part of what lured the soft-spoken resident farrier at Cornell University to England to test himself on the “examination to end all examinations,” — the test in place since the Worshipful Company of Farriers was founded in 1356 — which is still considered the yardstick for judging English farriers to this day.

How It All Began

An enduring love of horses helped propel Wildenstein beyond his early training at his grandfather’s side. Starting on draft horses, he learned the guiding principles that helped him fund his college education. Gaining admittance to the Cornell program didn’t come easily. It took 3 years and a referral by his instructor at an agricultural college in Nova Scotia before he was able to return home.

After school, he went to work with the Kriz family of Bethany, Conn., farriers to the Budweiser Clydesdales, before venturing out on his own, with a specialty in shoeing draft horses for the show ring. Quickly building up a clientele that kept him traveling around the country for the next 6 years, Mike and his wife, Gry…

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Toby Raymond

Toby Raymond is a horse owner and freelance writer who lives in Vermont. She is a frequent contributor to American Farriers Journal.

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