Like everyone in our industry, I was saddened to learn of the death of legendary New Jersey shoer Bruce Daniels. Bruce was one my farrier heroes. I had the good fortune to meet him in 1981 at the AFA convention in Albuquerque, N.M. Years later, he would visit my home state of Wisconsin to do week-long clinics. Those clinics helped build and cement a friendship that has spanned more than 3 decades. Some things I learned from him have stayed with me throughout my entire shoeing career. He was a natural and enthusiastic teacher and a great role model. I am eternally grateful that Bruce came into my life when he did. I wouldn't have been the farrier I am today without his help.
I know my story is not unique. I think we all have a list those special people who came into our lives and shared their knowledge. This knowledge would improve our skills and give us a leg up.
When I thought about Bruce, I began to wonder if I have done enough to help the young inexperienced farriers who have come to me looking for guidance. As we mature in this industry, we have a responsibility to pass on our knowledge to our peers and the next generation. Think about the thousands of international farriers who learned from Bruce. Sharing the knowledge he gained was his passion. I am proud that our profession is one of the few remaining that has the tradition of the older generation giving to the younger generation the knowledge accumulated over a lifetime.
I have a challenge for all of my seasoned farrier friends reading this. In this new year, when the opportunity presents itself, commit yourself to helping that younger farrier who is struggling. Step up and give him or her a hand. Become one of those special people to come into a young farrier's life when they need help. This is how the legacy of Bruce Daniels and others like him will live on.