For 26 years within the pages of Poor Richard’s Almanack, Benjamin Franklin shared pearls of wisdom that were incredibly popular. Many of them are still repeated today.

“He that lies down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.”

“Fish and visitors stink in three days.”

Of all the gems that Franklin set in type, there’s one that shines brighter than all the rest — “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Beginning Tuesday, equine footcare professionals from around the world will have the opportunity to listen and talk with the Benjamin Franklins of equine hoof care — Dr. Bob Bowker, Mark Caldwell, Dr. Stephen O’Grady, Mitch Taylor, Dr. Harry Werner and many more incredibly knowledgeable experts will share their pearls of wisdom at the 12th annual International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio.

There will be eight hoof-care general sessions, 14 hoof-care classrooms, 24 hoof-care roundtables and 15 how-to clinics. That’s 68 hours of intensive hoof-care knowledge over 4 days, plus 9 hours of uninterrupted trade show time to see the latest products from 125 suppliers. Yet, there’s more knowledge to tap into, and you’re the key who not only can unlock it for yourself, but for someone else as well.

Bob Smith of the Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School in Plymouth, Calif., wrapped up last year’s Summit by pointing out the valuable opportunity attendees have while networking in between lectures.

“It’s amazing to realize that in one location,” Smith says, “you can talk with farriers with 10,000 years of shoeing experience.”

You can be the one footcare professional who inspires another in his or her practice by sharing your knowledge in the halls. You might have the answer to another’s question during one of the 24 Hoof-Care Roundtable sessions that makes all the difference in the world. Or, the question you ask might be on the mind of a young farrier who’s a bit intimidated in a room full of veteran farriers.

Continuing education is crucial to your practice and growth. It’s the key to your success.

“There’s a difference between successful people and unsuccessful people,” says Smith, a member of the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame. “Successful people have a vision for their life and they work on it every day.”

It’s not easy, but the knowledge is there. All you have to do is act.

“You’ve got to put in the effort if you want to reap the rewards,” says Dave Dawson, an Uxbridge, Ontario, farrier. “Get educated. Not enough farriers get educated. There are approximately 30,000 farriers in the United States alone. When there are only 1,000 farriers attending the Hoof-Care Summit, that’s a shame. Get out there. Attend the events. There’s no reason why you’re not there. It’s totally affordable.”

It’s a lesson that Steve Prescott learned early on in his career.

Like many young people, Prescott had a fairly healthy opinion of his shoeing abilities when starting in the profession.

The air went out of his sails, though, one day when he noticed the work of a colleague who had entered into the profession at about the same time.

“I realized,” says the Raleigh, N.C., farrier, “he was better than me.”

Prescott started asking questions to find out how he fell behind.

“He told me, ‘I’m learning all of this by going to clinics,’” the owner of Pedal Bone Forge recalls. “I said, ‘I can’t afford to go to clinics.’ And he told me, ‘You can’t afford not to go to clinics.’ That was a turning point for me.”

It can be a turning point for you, too. Invest in your hoof-care knowledge and watch as the interest pays off for you.