Koalas, Kangaroos and Farriers?

Two farriers travel to Australia for an experience they will never forget

MIKE AUGENSTEIN of McConnels ville, Ohio, and Andrew Carruthers of Quebec, Canada, are tired. They just got back from a three-month excursion to Australia as part of the American Farrier’s Association (AFA) Cultural Exchange Program. And they slept the whole way home.

Carruthers (shown above shoeing in Australia) and Augenstein were the two lucky farriers selected to represent North America in its exchange program with Australia. But they didn’t find Crocodile Dundee. They didn’t find the man from Snowy River. And they didn’t find “Shrimp on the Bar-B.” What they found was shoeing work and experience— and a lot of it.

“The program was designed to give farriers a cultural and learning experience,” explains program director Jim Smith, an AFA member and shoer from Sanbornville, N.H. “Shoers have the opportunity to see how farriers around the world forge and shoe—they learn from each other.”

Packing Bags

“He was so excited to go,” explains Jean Carruthers, mother of the 20-year-old Andrew Carruthers. “It was all he could talk about.”

For Mike Augenstein, it was more of a sacrifice. “I had to refer my clients of three years to other farriers,” he says. “But I knew it would be worth it.”

There was no doubt: Augenstein and Carruthers were in for the trip of a lifetime.

Arriving In Australia

“Upon landing in Melbourne, it was cold and rainy,” says Augenstein. “Not exactly what I expected Australia to be like!”

The Australians were just as excited. They couldn’t wait to start the experience…

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