Another family reunion is in the books.
Although there’s no doubt that attendees gain a wealth of hoof-care education at the International Hoof-Care Summit, it’s remarkable just how familial the annual winter conference in Cincinnati really is. Aside from the warm greetings and camaraderie that took place throughout the week, family was a prevalent theme in conversations, both public and private.
While taking in Tuesday morning’s Vettec hands-on clinic, Crown Point, Ind., farrier Tom Willoughby and Evansville, Wis., farrier Eddy Strommen discussed how they strike a balance between work and family.
“You have to draw a line,” Willoughby says. “If you’re shoeing horses until 10 o’clock at night, you’re doing something wrong. You’re shoeing those horses for your kids — so you can put a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs and food on the table. If you’re always shoeing horses, you’re going to miss all the good stuff.”
As a father of two young children, Strommen makes it a point of separating work from family.
“You have to train your customers right from the start,” Strommen says. “You have to explain to them that you have work time and family time. As a family, we have dinner together every night at 6 o’clock, and I don’t work on weekends.”
The familial theme continued during the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame induction ceremony.
“I’m proud to be a farrier,” Edgewood, N.M., farrier Craig Trnka said during his acceptance speech. “All of my kids grew up around this industry. I never had to worry about them, because everyone was looking out for them.”
The most memorable moment of the Summit came when Gunner Gatski delivered his Hall Of Fame acceptance speech. His family flew in to revel in his induction. Perhaps it was no surprise to them that the room that was packed with his farrier family were as thrilled with the Lebanon, Ohio, farrier’s honor as they were.
Gatski rewarded the crowd with lively and hilarious stories of a client’s prized Polish chicken and the horse with the golden shoes. Enjoy his story in the embedded video above.
There isn’t an industry that is as generous as the one that’s populated by farriers.
A new Stonewell Midi trailer that’s worth more than $20,000 was on display at the Summit Trade Show. The trailer is an effort by the Texas Professional Farriers Association, Oklahoma Farriers Association and Stonewell to benefit the associations’ respective disability/injured farrier funds.
“This project is for a great cause,” says Dick Fanguy, national sales representative for Stonewell Bodies. “To my knowledge, no other association has ever done anything on this scale. You are looking at a heck of a rig and we did not start putting supplies in it.”
Tickets are $20 a piece. The drawing will take place Jan. 24, 2018, at the Summit.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico, farrier Steffi Kersten certainly is thankful for her farrier family. A group of friends generously gave her enough money to buy her a much-needed forge.
The giving didn’t stop there. A new group of farrier was warmly welcomed to the trade.
Looking to improve their hoof-care education, members of the Fort Carson Mounted Color Guard in Colorado Springs, Colo., attended the Summit. A number of farriers and others in the industry learned about them and reached out to help support these gentlemen gain the footcare knowledge they’re seeking, including the American Association of Professional Farriers. Members of the organization gladly pulled out their wallets and paid the membership dues in full for these young men.
Welcome to the family.