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Continuing education is crucial to Kyle Crawford’s practice and the Lawson, Mo., farrier tries to attend as many clinics as he can, even those that run counter to traditional thinking.
“I’ve gone to a few with clinicians who think a little differently than mainstream farriers,” he says. “One farrier asked me, ‘You do some of that voodoo stuff, don’t you?’ I said, ‘Well, I paid a little more attention than you did at the clinic.’”
It’s important to go into a clinic with an open mind and recognize that not every technique will work on every horse, he says.
“There have been sometimes that I’ve done some shoeing that hasn’t exactly been mainstream,” Crawford says. “I’ve had horses that couldn’t get sound. So, I tried something different. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but if you don’t try something else, isn’t that the definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?”
He points out that you can pick up pointers and techniques from anyone at a clinic. Sometimes you might even learn something from an unlikely source.
“Shoot, I went to a clinic one time when a kid right out of horseshoeing school showed me how he picks up feet,” Crawford recalls. “He just scratched the cannon bone and the horse picked its foot right up. I do it on every horse now. There’s always something to learn.”