Travis Burns and Michael DeLeonardo Jr. released statements to organization members in advance of the vote to decide who will serve as AFA president for the next 2-year term.

The farriers disclosed their unique experiences, motivation for running and what they desire to accomplish if they get the position.

DeLeonardo, cites his 45 years of farriery along with past leadership as president of the Western States Farrier Association and the Farrier Industry Association, in addition to serving on the AFA board of directors as vice-president and president-elect. He is also a member of the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame.

“All of this gives me a unique and comprehensive understanding of the farrier industry,” DeLeonardo says.

Burns brings local leadership as well as AFA committee membership. In his statement, he identifies past problems within the organization and progress made to grow since then, including the areas of membership, partnerships, finances and certification.

“I am running for this position because I have a focus and the dedication required to continue these efforts to ensure the future success of the organization,” Burns says.

Burns and DeLeonardo have different priorities for what they wish to accomplish in the presidency.

DeLeonardo emphasizes the importance of increasing membership numbers and education of young farriers — including their exchange program. He also wants to see social media presence for horse owners prioritized, so that they can understand the significance of farrier certification.

Burns offers a list of goals, including developing both a short-term and long-term plan for the organization, developing and promoting professional relationships with other organizations and implementing electronic voting for leadership positions.

He also wants to see certification improved, which he calls “the crown jewel of the AFA,” through electronic written tests, randomized and expanded questions and continued development of questions and requirements.

Both candidates recognize that all members must vote and engage in order to keep the AFA moving forward.