Shoeing racehorses is in Tom Trosin’s DNA. He just didn’t always know it.
“I grew up on the racetrack,” says the certified journeyman farrier based in Oklahoma City, Okla. “I was a racetrack brat. I couldn’t think of any better place than to watch my dad shoe horses from the time I was 16.”
Although young Trosin soaked up the day-to-day life of a racetrack shoer at the feet of his father Harry, he was on the fence about being a farrier after completing Oklahoma Farriers College. A trip to Northeast Wisconsin to visit his grandfather, who had taken ill, swayed the 19-year-old with some straight talk.
“I was grooming racehorses and my grandfather says, ‘Just shoe horses,’” Trosin recalls. “I came back to California and finished the meet out for the guy I was grooming for. After that, I went to work. It’s what I’ve done ever since.”
You’ll excuse Trosin, though, if he didn’t quite envision what was to come — nearly 30 years as a farrier (including 20 that were dedicated to when plating was at least a portion of his practice), president of the American Farrier’s Association (AFA), and now, a seat on the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s (HISA) Horsemen’s Advisory Group.
“I never intended to do anything,” he says. “I intended to just shoe horses, and that was it.”
Once again, it was a trip that changed the course of Trosin’s career. While shoeing polo horses in Hawaii, he met Ted Shanks, CJF, who provided more straight talk.
“Ted tells me, ‘You don’t know the first thing you’re doing,’” Trosin recalls. “‘You need to learn stuff.’”
Shanks introduced him to the AFA.
“The AFA means a lot to me,” Trosin says. “It changed my life. If you let the organization do what it does, it’s going to change your life. It’ll make you. The people will always be there for you.”
Since 2006, Trosin has dedicated his time and efforts to the AFA and its members as a committee chair, board member and ultimately its president in 2012.
“The organization means the world to me,” he says. “That’s why I’ve put so much of my life into it. I love the AFA as much as I love anything in the world because of what it’s done for me professionally.”
Trosin’s experience in AFA leadership, as well as shoeing racehorses for more than a quarter of a century, led HISA to select him as its farrier representative on the Horsemen’s Advisory Group.
“I am particularly grateful to its distinguished and highly qualified new members who have agreed to collaborate with us on an ongoing basis,” Lisa Lazarus, HISA CEO, said during the mid-October announcement. “I know that HISA will benefit immensely from this group’s extensive, hands-on experience in Thoroughbred racing as we continue to work with all industry stakeholders to advance the safety and integrity of our sport.”
Trosin’s appointment was welcomed by a panel that was created in mid-September, in part because of a lack of communication between HISA and the farrier industry.
“The Farrier Industry Association’s HISA Committee is pleased that a well-qualified farrier industry representative has been selected to serve as a member of the HISA Horsemen’s Advisory Group,” Mark Hickcox, CF, chair of the FIA's HISA committee, told American Farriers Journal. “Tom Trosin, CJF, is an excellent choice. First of all, Tom is an experienced raceplater and can give the advisory group a first-hand farrier account of how HISA is affecting the farrier industry. With his leadership and administrative background from years of service to and as the president of the American Farrier’s Association, Tom will have a large pool of contacts to choose from for additional viewpoints, too. The FIA's HISA Committee hopes to serve as a resource for Tom in supporting the interests of farriers, farrier suppliers, and manufacturers.”
Trosin’s service on HISA’s advisory committee is still in its early stages and his role remains a bit ambiguous. However, he intends to lean heavily on his experience with AFA leadership and, most of all, listen.
“My goal is to serve people who don’t know me and don’t know that I’m their brother,” he says. “We’re family. I was raised by a raceplater. I know every single struggle those guys have because I lived it. I lived it with my dad. I lived it myself. I’m going to do my best for those guys because they’re my brothers.”
- Federal Horseracing Agency Taps Farrier to Advisory Group: Tom Trosin, a past president of the American Farrier’s Association, will be the group’s farrier representative.
- Manufacturers Share Frustrations with, but Offer Help with Racetrack Shoeing Regulations: Group outlines issues with HISA's shoeing regulations and impact on production.
- Farrier Industry Association Creates Panel to Advise Horseracing Agency: The FIA board of directors has appointed Mark Hickcox, CF, to chair a committee to closely follow current and proposed HISA regulations, as well as advise the agency about issues relating to farriers and hoof-care issues.