A few days ago, someone asked me how and when National Farriers Week got its start and what government group we had to clear it with before introducing it to our American Farriers Journal readers.

So here’s a quick history lesson on this annual tribute to farriers that’s celebrated each year during the second week of July.

The idea for this yearly celebration for farriers grew out of a number of discussions by the AFJ staff on how we could draw more attention to the men and women across North America who have the awesome responsibility for caring for horses’ feet.

As we stated in announcing the first National Farriers Week in 1998, it is designed to be a week “to honor farriers who pay attention to detail, approach their work in a professional manner, seek to improve their skills, are thoughtful toward clients and take great pride in doing what’s in the best interest of the horse.”

As has been the case for all 16 years, horse owners, trainers, grooms, riders, veterinarians and others were urged to show their appreciation for the exceptional footwork work done by farriers.

This week-long program has expanded dramatically over the past 3 years with the leadership and skills of AFJ Web Editor Michelle Drewek.

In order to give the equine community a chance to individually recognize farriers publicly for their essential role in horse health and soundness, AFJ created the "Farriers Spotlight" in 2012, which is an online-exclusive compilation dedicated to showcasing some of the many farriers in the industry. The farrier tributes featured in this edition are all submitted to us for recognition in the months preceding National Farriers Week.

Along with the many photos, videos, anecdotes and kind words we received this year to include in the Farriers Spotlight, SmartPak also created a video featuring horse owners giving thanks and saying what they appreciate most about their farriers.

When horse owners, trainers and others consider how much truth there is to the saying, “no foot, no horse,” they begin to appreciate the value of working with a knowledgeable, professional farrier. And National Farriers Week has proven to be a great way to highlight the key role farriers play in the well being of hundreds of thousands of horses.

By the way, the AFJ staff never asked anyone if we could start National Farriers Week or what we had to do to make it official. We just went ahead and did it as a means of honoring the men and women whose awesome task it is to care for horses’ hooves. Some 16 years later, we’re still proud to continue to salute farriers for all of their hard work throughout the year.