Spotlight on Hoof-Care: Education First: It’s Not Just About Winning

Interactive clinics and competition contribute to the Northern California Classic’s 30-year tradition of continuing education

An American Farrier’s Association (AFA) certification exam and 3 days of lectures and competition marked the 30th anniversary of the Northern California Classic, the Western States Farriers Association’s (WSFA) longest running event. With a tradition of providing certification, continuing education and competition to farriers in the western United States, Shelee Lyon, secretary of the WSFA and co-organizer of the event, of Ramona, Calif., says, “We like to treat the event like a mini convention and we try to gear it more toward education than just competition.”

Margie Lee-Gustafson, WSFA member, a past Northern California Classic organizer and immediate past president of the AFA, of Palo Alto, Calif., says that while the event always has been focused around overall learning and education, it of course has changed over the past 30 years.

“While the competition is always offered, the event has always been focused on the interconnections between people and offering numerous educational opportunities for our participants,” she says.

“The intimacy that chapter events like the Northern California Classic offer creates the opportunity for one-on-one interactions. New farriers can come meet and connect with other farriers, offering the opportunity to find support.”

As with many regional or chapter events, the Northern California Classic competition was once much larger, Lee-Gustafson says. Over the years, more and more competitions have popped up throughout the industry, bringing more options to farriers. The change in the makeup of the competition has not slowed the passion of the competitors at the Northern California Classic, though.

AFJ Spotlight


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Jaime Elftman

Jaime Elftman is an Assistant Editor for American Farriers Journal. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, she joined the Lessiter Media staff as an editorial intern in 2014 before joining the staff full-time later that same summer.

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