Next year represents the 50th anniversary for American Farriers Journal (AFJ), 5 decades after Florida farrier Henry Heymering started the publication on his kitchen table and brought the trade out of the “dark ages.” Our family business acquired the publication in 1992, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with the many hardworking contributors in this industry — those who are committed to leaving the craft in a better place than where it started.

We expect that the late Heymering is looking down with pride over what he began a half-century ago, and how it’s also grown to include myriad options for farriers today, including our books, special reports, newsletters, webinars, videos (1,100 and counting) and podcasts, not to mention the International Hoof-Care Summit (IHCS) — the world’s largest gathering of farriers and hoof-care professionals — that AFJ launched 22 years ago.

Along the way, we’ve also launched programs to elevate the best of our industry, including the Horseshoeing Hall of Fame, Equine Veterinarian Hall of Fame, the International Hoof-Care Summit (IHCS) and a special “Getting Started in Hoof Care” annual guide to encourage the next generation of talent that the equine world desperately needs. We have our ups and downs, of course, but also have a track record of commitment to the trade that we don’t think can be disputed.

But there’s one thing that has not changed since Heymering’s days – and what I want to address here. For an industry as great as farriery is, there’s a small but loud segment of the trade that encourages reckless rumor mill gossip and the “running down of their fellow farriers and vets.” Our industry is better than that, and frankly, you deserve better than that, too.

Change is Inevitable

No trade can advance if change fails to occur. Most understand this fact of life, but we’ve been reminded recently how some like to engage in side-show antics and create their own conclusions without knowing the facts regarding any change that is brought to the industry.

I’m setting the record straight for you here.

Just like you and your business, we plan to have something left over at the end of the year. Simply put, it’s good business. A reasonable return is needed TODAY to provide the customer (you) with the service TOMORROW. And we need to be in the black to keep investing in our own staff and our ability to serve you.

Like every business, we’ve had changes among key contributors over the years, including the death of Technical Editor Red Renchin, the retirement of Senior Editor Pat Tearney and Sales Director Alice Musser. More recently was publisher Jeremy McGovern, who resigned to pursue another opportunity.

My son, Mike, and I remain the owners of AFJ and IHCS, and we, along with Jeff Cota, Mike Ellis, Amy Johnson, Bree Greenawalt, Joanne Volkert, Patrick Sharpe, Christopher Nielsen, Jeff Lazewski, Lewis Horn, Joe Kuenzle, Ronda Iten, Michael Storts, Michelle Drewek and Maclaren Krueger bring 233 years of experience to your magazine, conference and digital properties. As long as we can apply our unique content model to advancing the trade, and find a way to do so with the ability to reinvest, you’ll continue to see our staff bring its best to you each and every day.

Our digital products are just one area that we continue to steadily invest in, alongside the print media that so much of our audience still prefers. Our website has an extensive library of hoof-care content that we continue to add to each month. For instance, a farrier or vet needing laminitis content can find 1,492 articles on the topic. Or white line disease with 1,237 references. It’s one more service we’re investing in to satisfy our subscribers, here and around the world today and tomorrow.

IHCS Moves to Kansas City

Over 21 years, the Summit has drawn 17,214 attendees from every U.S. state and more than 50 nations. It’s true that, after 21 years, next winter’s IHCS is moving to Kansas City, Mo.

Why? Unfortunately, the Duke Energy Center that has housed our Trade Show and all the educational sessions is totally closing down for 2 years to complete a massive reconstruction. It’s a major challenge for the city of Cincinnati, with one hotel alone having told us that they have already lost more than $2 million in room night sales during the renovation.

No other hotel/conference center combination in the area could meet our standards for this event, so over the last couple of years, we’ve examined alternative locations as Cincinnati communicated their plans for the total shutdown of the downtown facility.

The move to Kansas City was not made in a vacuum. In several farrier surveys, Kansas City tallied the 2nd most votes among destinations for the Summit (the first being the horse capital of Lexington, Ky.). A major benefit of Kansas City is the modern airport that offers direct flights and easier travel for international visitors. Our staff is also most familiar with the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel (at the Crown Center) and seven of our staffers have attended three events there since last October. And for the first time ever, Kansas City allows you to attend all conference general sessions, classrooms and farrier roundtables and trade show events under one roof.

As of June 3, IHCS registrations are running 33% ahead of last year, Trade Show booth/sponsorship reservations are 28% ahead, with 55% of the Trade Show available booths already booked. We’re expecting big things from the “City of Fountains” and its world-class restaurants, bars, music – and barbecue.

Don’t miss the chance to make history in this first-ever venue for the Summit. It’ll be special. And 98.7% of your fellow IHCS “alumni” recommend their peers join them in Kansas City next year for what is already shaping up to be a stellar educational program.

Supply Shop Recognition

Our initial announcement of the “Supply Shop of the Year” program has also fired up the gossip as of late, bordering on absurdity.

Our company has a 30-plus year history of introducing national programs that recognize companies “doing things right” as they support and educate ag-related professionals. In fact, we’ve been personally thanked on numerous occasions for advancing the industry by recognizing and challenging businesses to give all they can for a better overall trade. Like our other programs (including the internationally-known Farrier and Equine Vet Hall of Fame programs), the new AFJ program elevates the significant influence of the farrier supply shops who carry, promote and demonstrate the products that help 21st century farriers bring their best every day.

It won’t be a popularity contest. It won’t be limited by size, scale or products carried. Rather, it elevates the retailers who’ve so clearly dedicated themselves to their farrier customers, equine communities and the horses that they serve — via best practices and professionalism.

Following an established nomination and judging process assisted by our Editorial Advisory Board, the Supply Shop of the Year will be featured annually in AFJ, commencing with the November 2024 edition. You’ll read about and listen to shops that invest in educational events and clinics, fostering a shared community among farriers, supporting the “knowledge transfer” among suppliers and farriers, and look for other ways to support farriers for an improved trade.

To nominate a deserving farrier supply shop in North America, visit or write to me personally.

Final Thoughts

As I wrap up dispelling some of the inaccuracies about YOUR “Journal” and YOUR “Summit,” let’s circle back to the theme above. This industry is full of honest, hardworking folks who are dedicated to the trade and who invest in their own knowledge and professionalism to bring their best to the horses under their care.

But there’s a vocal minority who appear more interested in perpetuating falsehoods and gossip rather than seeking out the facts.

We’re disappointed to hear what a few naysayers have been circulating, but we’re not surprised. As a good friend and farrier recently joked with us about some of the absurd claims out there, he said, “The Journal is looking pretty good to me for having a few folks foolishly saying it’s apparently been on the brink of going out of business for the last 22 years.”

At our company, we regularly discuss our belief that “silence equals agreement.” We applaud our many friends out there who are intent on setting the record straight and who urge their peers to put their effort and energy in all that is positive about farriery. And if we need to speak up for the truth, we’ll do it.

It’s time for this industry to stop attacking its own farriers, vets and the others who get up each morning in support of the trade.

Don’t you agree?