On a recent flight from Providence, R.I, to Detroit, Mich., I read the airline magazine that featured and interview with filmmaker/TV host Jason Silva, who is regularly featured at TED, a non-profit conference that explores ideas in technology, entertainment and design (hence the acronym).
In this article, Silva talks about the late Carl Sagan, the famed astronomer/cosmologist. Silva explains how Sagan coined the phrase “wonder junkie,” which meant once wonder of a subject afflicts you, it becomes an addiction.”
So what’s the connection between two television hosts and farriery? This flight was returning me from a visit in which I spent time with Rhode Island farrier Sean Travers, who works with high-end Morgans. On the day I spent with him, which will be profiled in the July/August 2013 issue’s Shoeing for a Living, New Hampshire farrier Mike Sanborn joined us at Taylor River Farm, a Morgan barn. Sanborn’s goal: To learn about Travers’ approach to farriery. He doesn’t have any intentions of adding gaited horses to his established practice, which primarily consists of reiners.
“There is going to be something that I learn that I can transfer to my practice — guaranteed,” says Sanborn. “I’ve already learned things about Sean’s approach to trimming that has helped me with how I trim the horses I work with.” Here’s a farrier, like many others, who is a “wonder junkie.”
The hoof-care bug has bitten, so the wonder junkie becomes a sponge, absorbing as much knowledge that he/she can pick up and challenge an existing way of thinking. Days spent learning under a talented farrier like Travers who specializes in other discipline can deliver unexpected results — much like Sanborn is finding.
It isn’t easy for many farriers to satisfy their wonder with ride-alongs. Current clients create demands and it may prove difficult for some to align with a mentor. Thankfully there are other means to satisfy wonder, such as attending local association meetings, hammer-ins, and self-education to name a few. Regardless of your method, there is always a chance to learn from others.
Although Sagan surely didn’t have farriers in mind when he first wrote “wonder junkie” in his book Contact, I think he would be pleasantly surprised that wonder can captivate a student whether the subject is the mysteries of the universe or the concepts of equine footcare.