International travel is one of the best opportunities Kim Lacey has had to improve her farriery.

Despite blood and bruises, Lacey continues to work to master her shoeing craft. “I just got passionate about it and didn’t want to quit,” she told the Eckville Echo. “I’ve always loved horses.”

She counts herself as lucky to have found someone to apprentice with to begin hands-on learning. “You have to work your way up the ladder,” she says, acknowledging that experience is crucial for hoof-care professionals to improve.

“You just make shoes after shoes and after a while you figure out ‘if I have this much foot, I have to cut this much steel for it.’”

Each horse has different needs, and Lacey enjoys the variety she’s been able to work with. She was able to encounter horses traveling the U.K. this past summer through funding from the American Farriers’ Association.

“Around the world I’ve had people just bring me into their homes,” she says. But her favorite part was Scotland, where she worked alongside top farriers at the Royal Highland Show.

“I’ve never worked so hard and drank so much in my life,” Lacey says. “Every show and contest I went to everyone was willing to help.”

Despite all the hard work, the experience was rewarding. “It was just a good old friggin time.”