The Guild of Professional Farriers Second National Convention in Knoxville, TN was one of them. Held in the shadow of the Sun Sphere erected for a past World's Fair, this was a very interesting event. Despite the strong roster of internationally renowned speakers, there wasn't a heavy turnout. This meant that attendees got the rare opportunity to get up-close and direct conversation from experts who you normally get to see only from the middle of a large crowd.
Gene Ovnicek, the developer of the Natural Balance (4-point) shoeing and trimming techniques as well as the Equine Digital Support System was a key speaker and demonstrator. Baron Tayler, Internet guru of the farrier industry, gave a speech and demo so interesting that he even held my attention for a good while... And I already know my way around the Internet better than most regular users.
Probably what I'll remember most is the opportunity to visit with Burney Chapman again. Burney is sort of a hero of mine, being one of the few farriers to become "famous" for farriery, rather than horseshoeing contests, politics, or running a short-course school. He developed the modern use of the support heart-bar horseshoe, which has been used to help countless horses with founder problems and has been the starting-point for many of today's cutting-edge techniques. Being around 6'6", Burney is even more qualified for the "too dang tall for horseshoeing club" than I am... At the time of the Convention, Burney seemed to be recovering well from removal of a brain tumor. Months later, he took a turn for the worse. I hope we'll be seeing him again at future events. If not, I'm very glad I didn't miss him at this one.
Guild business also took me to Equitana USA 1999, essentially an equine Worlds Fair. There were enough booths and displays and demonstrations going on to make you wear out a pair of boots running around to see them all. There were trainers, vets, shoers, and others ranging from laughable quacks through popular gurus all the way to a few actual experts. Every horse-related product imaginable was on-sale from tiny earrings to huge horse trailers.
Closer to home, I got to make the drive to the beach to be a guest lecturer at Barbara Long's equine husbandry course at a college near Wilmington. I'm always pleased to see horseowners and stable managers making the effort to improve their knowledge. I look forward to doing more of this sort of thing now that the farm situation is settling down.
S.H.O.E. is planning their annual free fall horseowner clinic in New Salem, NC. They're planning to have James Hamilton and Neve Scheve speaking on trailering safety. Dave Seay will be doing his popular training demo. Jack Jeffries will be demonstrating electromagnetic therapy for horses. Jan Emore will speak about saddle fitting. And Lori Kelly will speak about marketing. It should be worth the drive out there. Contact Mike Stine at (704) 821-4799 for details.
Back to EQ Summer 1999 Index.