James Findler attended Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s 9-week horseshoeing program in 1982, hoping to improve his trimming skills for his grandparents’ horses.

“I knew you didn’t know enough after 9 weeks,” Findler told the Surrey Now-Leader. “For me, if you’re going to be doing it, you need to know a lot. And the more you know, the easier your job becomes.”

Findler found that he enjoyed the small details of farriery, from anatomy to shoeing intricacies in different breeds.

After continuing his education at Kwantlen, he began participating in contests in the 1980s. In 1993, he won the World Shoeing Championship, followed by wins at the World Forging Shoemaking Championship in 1996 and other contests.

Findler’s high performance in competitions did not come easily.

“You don’t know what to expect really or what to do,” Findler says. “It took years to figure all that out.”

In 2012, Findler was inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame. Yet again, the honor came as a surprise — when he got the phone call, he thought it was a joke.

“Many of my friends play jokes on me, so I thought, ‘I gotta play along’… But it was true.”

Looking back on his long career, Findler expresses his satisfaction. “I’m blessed, I’ve been busy. Since ’82 it’s been —  I’ve never had a quiet year.”

Now, Findler is taking some time to relax. He no longer competes, but he still does what he’s most proud of: shoeing horses.