Friday, January 9, 2009

NFNH January's not a typo!

For those of you have a hard time downloading large files, click to view the latest edition of NFNH online, you can enlarge it, print it and click through on live links. Send me note and let me know how you like it!

Thanks, Andrew

Friday, December 12, 2008

AFA Members & Friends @ AAEP

This past week I had the privilege of representing the AFA at the AAEP Convention in San Diego. The AFA booth was a busy place with members and friends, here are few pictures straight from the tradeshow floor.

Your pictures and fotos in a slideshow on MySpace, eBay, Facebook or your website!view all pictures of this slideshow

Monday, December 1, 2008

AFA goes live on YouTube, Register ONLINE for the Convention

I am delighted to report that the AFA has posted the first of several upcoming segments from its TV show NO FOOT NO HORSE on YouTube for the entire equine community to enjoy and learn more about the importance of hoofcare. Click here to View! Please share these educational pieces with horse owners and fellow farriers.

AFA Convention Registration is now available online!
Sign-up early for the best rate at
February 25 - 28, 2009

Throughout my career as a farrier, the education I received at the convention has served to empower my skills and grow my business year-after-year. The friendships I have made continue to enrich my life to this day. The access to the collective knowledge of hundreds of colleagues at the AFA Convention is simply priceless as our craft is one honed over decades under foot and across the anvil. I can personally vouch for the long-lasting benefits I have inured from those willing to help me simply adjust my forging techniques or maneuver a shoe or nail into a better spot; it is what I draw on everyday to better serve my clients and horses.

Great educational programs and events are happening in every moment at the AFA Convention. Just look at the schedule! It is up to YOU and you alone to make the AFA your best educational tool. You can start by showing up at the convention, getting involved and proactively participating.

I hope to see you in Chattanooga, Andrew.

Monday, November 10, 2008

British Farrier reviews AFA Certification

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Florida State Farrier’s Association AFA Certification held at Bryce Burnett’s Shop in Zolfo Springs as ten brave Candidates set out to earn a new level of AFA Certification. Rusty Jenkins CJF, served as the Examiner and Bryce Burnett CJF, Daryl Bean CJF, Dennis Dunn CJF and Doug Workman CJF were the designated Testers. The ratio of Testers to Candidates proved once again that the AFA never has a shortage of people willing to show up and help members improve their farriery skills. It was refreshing to see colleagues working in unison to present the best of our Certification program while under the scrutiny of well-known British Farrier, Judge & Competitor Stephen Newman, FWCF. Stephen crossed the Atlantic on behalf of The Farriers Registration Council to review the standards of AFA testing in consideration of continuing to offer DWCF accreditation to AFA Certified Journeyman Farriers.

On Friday, November 7th, Candidates worked on shoemaking and tooled up for the Practical Exam. During the day an informal clinic took place with Bryce Burnett demonstrating the standard required to pass the test while I explained the procedure for the test itself. I emphasized to Candidates the importance of being aware of the clock during every stage of their work, getting done within the time allowed is a requirement to passing, it is also one of the biggest challenges. I encouraged Candidates to complete each stage of the test start to finish before moving on to the next stage. Bryce, however, pointed out that sometimes you can’t get things just as you like and have to simply finish as best you can and move on because you are balancing time and quality at every moment.

The key to passing Certification, like anything else in life worth achieving is PREPAREDNESS. To try to master skills necessary for a passing grade the day before the test is too late; they are obtained by many hours in the forge, across the anvil and under hoof with the mentoring of those who have already proven they can meet the standard and pass the test.

It was very frustrating to sit and watch Candidates who do good work fail to reach the standard because of a few basic elements missing in their skill set; proper tool maintenance, finishing techniques and building sole relief into their shoes to name a few. These things are easily mastered at home and add the few points needed that cause most farriers to miss the mark.

As Mr. Newman and I watched Candidates practice from a distance, we determined that just by observing their sequence in building shoes, along with looking at their tools we could almost evaluate the resulting shoe as positioning, tools, heats and hammer blows are all clearly revealed in the finished product.

Most of the Candidates seemed to suffer from a lack of proper forging techniques in all aspects of the Practical Test. This makes the Shoe Display one of the most difficult parts of the CF Test to pass. I would urge ALL Candidates to seek out someone to help them prepare for these demanding sections of the test, including an objection evaluation of their work prior to presenting it to Examiners at a test site.

The highlight of the Written Test on Friday night was a high score of 90 earned by Miguel Rodriquez on the CJF exam.

An early start met Candidates on Saturday morning with Practical Exams. They began with CF Candidates taking their live shoeing and Journeyman Candidates in the forges with their Bar Shoes. The 2nd round of testing had CJF Candidates under horses en route to their new designations if they made the grade.

Candidate Lloyd Phillips made us all proud when he passed his Journeyman Practical. Lloyd’s personal perseverance and determination is exemplary and trait that farriers need concerning this test. We have a voluntary test with a high standard, the most meaning it has is that which we give to ourselves. Lloyd expressed that. He had taken the test five times previously only to end in disappointment. Yet Lloyd DID NOT BLAME THE TEST OR THE TESTERS, he instead used that experience to dig deeper and find the resolve to master the skills he needed to pass the test. He worked very hard to improve his skills and time management and now will join the distinguished group of AFA Certified Journeyman Farriers. Thank you Lloyd for showing us all the results of time well spent and congratulations on earning your CJF.

Mr. Newman observed the AFA testing procedures, score sheets and actual examples of scored feet compared to the score sheets themselves. At one point, Mr. Newman and I found ourselves in front of an example of Journeyman work on the table. I picked up two blank score sheets, filled one out myself and challenged Newman to the complete the other. I felt confident that Mr. Newman had a clear understanding of the AFA Standard from the time we had spent together. This was evidenced when the score sheets were totaled and compared and Mr. Newman and I scored the Journeyman Bar Shoe exactly the same. Later in the day, when the Testers scored the same Bar Shoe they too were within 2 points of ours; all agreed on the pass or fail of that particular shoe. All in all, I was most pleased to see that the standardization of AFA scores and the explanations of the AFA scoring system have become more unified.


WEG update regarding volunteer Farriers
The WEG is in the final stages of completing their volunteer online sign-up forms and registration for the 2010 Games. All AFA members interested in volunteering will first need to fill out this online form for consideration. As soon as this system is live the AFA will alert the membership.

Be sure to check the Farrier Facts Blog regularly for more AFA updates.

With kindest regards to all, Andrew.

Monday, November 3, 2008

AFA policing Credentials, Horse Owners need to check farrier Credentials too!

I am writing this blog entry for the protection of farriers, horse owners and our beloved equine population.

Recently, the following ad appeared publicly on Craigslist:

Certified farrier looking to to fill his book
Reply to:
sale-831762984@craigslist.orgDate: 2008-09-07, 4:59PM
hello my name is mike hill i have been a professinal farrier for 7 years . i'am afa certfied and also bwfa certified . i have shoed a variety of horses from english horses to western performance also . i charge 100 for a full set of shoes and 75 for just the front and trim the hind feet , and 45 for a trim . i would greatly appericate your busniess . if you have any question please call me at 602 373 0199
Location: west valley
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Original URL:

At first glance, you might think, wow, this guy’s new to the area, inexpensive, well credentialed and trying to get a foothold with the local equine community; NOT! He claims to be AFA Certified; NOT!

The ad was brought to the AFA’s attention by AFA members in the Arizona area that were not able to validate Mike Hill’s claim to be an AFA Certified Farrier. Upon investigation and phone calls with Mike Hill no record of him ever taking an AFA Certification test exists, nor could he provide an AFA member number, date or place of his supposed Certification.

The AFA’s Certification Program is the highest standard of farriery achievable in the US. The program has many documents, checks and balances to record every bit of farrier’s work throughout the process to ensure only the most qualified pass. Nearly every AFA CF and CJF can tell you where and when they passed, as well as the Examiner on site. Mike Hill could not.

Certified Farriers are highly sought after for their talent and skills. As a Certified Journeyman Farrier myself, I always encourage horse owner’s to be proactive in eliciting the best farriery work for their horse(s).

The AFA Certification standard represents an assurance of quality and professionalism to the horse owner and is a modicum of genuine care toward the horse itself. The AFA will take every action to legally protect the high standard of AFA Certification. We extend the same to horse owners and farriers with any suspicion regarding AFA Credentials - simply call or email the AFA Office with any questions or go to the AFA “Find A Farrier“ on the AFA website.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Mid-Year Report from Chattanooga

Dear AFA Members,

This past weekend in Chattanooga your AFA Officers and the Board of Directors gathered for our Mid-Year meeting. It was a productive time which began with a moment of silence to remember our beloved Past-President Allen Smith who passed away earlier this year. Allen served to two terms as President and Chaired the By-Laws Committee. We honored the spirit of Allan’s leadership style and work ethic by renaming the AFA’s Administrative Award in his honor.

The meeting got under with the reading of Officer’s reports. The Treasurer’s Report remained optimistic as Mr. Blombach emphasized he is fastidiously monitoring the bottom line in the current economic slowdown.

Among the actions taken by BoD, the most debated and divided was the proposed By-Law amendment to open the offices of President, President-Elect & Vice-President to members who are Certified, not only to Certified Journeyman Farriers.

During the debate, it was very clear how respected the talent of CFs is and that when a farrier passes the AFA Certification exam and earns his or her CF they are a highly qualified farrier. However, the majority felt that to represent the AFA in a leadership capacity one should be a CJF. Excelling through the rigors of achieving Journeyman status is certainly an experience one would draw upon in future leadership endeavors, as it is a true test of skill, ingenuity and determination.

The lack of nominated candidates for AFA Office will no doubt keep this debate in the forefront. The amendment did not pass and the By-Law remains that AFA Officers in succession for the Presidency must be CJFs. Please contact your area reps and let them know your feelings on this issue.

Among the chief concerns of the BoD … COMMUNICATION WITH MEMBERS! The BoD made it crystal clear to the Professional Farrier & NoFootNoHorse publisher that it is imperative to deliver the newsletter and magazine in a timely manner on a regular schedule to all members. The PF is in continual need of new articles. If you have material to share please send it to The AFA’s #1 asset is the skill and talent of its members. Recording and sharing your shoeing experiences will serve to help other farriers, improve hoof care for horses and give you credibility as a “published” writer! Writing for the PF is a win-win-win.

Additionally, the BoD voted to accept two new endorsements for CJFs; Specialty Forging & Educator:

The Specialty Forging Endorsement will be comprised of a two-part exam for a total fee of $100. It will require the following of Candidates:

Part One: Produce and submit 7 high quality horseshoes created from past AFA contest shoes along with a detailed article about forging one of the shoes. Shoes and article will be evaluated by a panel of 3 AFA Examiners; Bob Medaris, Dusty Franklin and Jason Harmeson. Upon completion of 7 PASSING shoes and a detailed article on one, the Candidate will proceed to Part Two.

Part Two: Candidate will attend a Certification at which he or she will be tasked with completing 2 shoes on-site within one hour. The shoes will be selected by the Examiner from the current Specialty Forging list at that time. If shoes are completed within the specified time period, said shoes will then be sent for evaluation by a panel of 3 AFA Examiners.

Upon the successful completion of Parts one & two within a two-year-period the Candidate will be presented with an AFA Specialty Forging Endorsement.

The Educator’s Endorsement is in the hands of Mitch Taylor, CJF & Pat Gallahan, CJF who will be forthcoming with specific details on how CJFs can attain this endorsement.

The BoD sees these new endorsements as a way to recognize specific and additional skills possessed by Certified Journeyman Farriers.

The remainder of the afternoon session was spent updating the AFA Policy Manual with the help of Parliamentarian Steve Small. The Policy Manual is now up-to-date with an accurate recording of previous motions passed.

All in all, the spirit of the meeting was one of cooperation and optimism.

If you have any further questions, concerns, suggestions and /or ideas please contact your BoD representative. In the meantime, let’s continue to work together and make AFA best farriery organization on the planet!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Driving to Work ...

My vet’s practice is 38 miles from my farm, each time he services our horses the call charge alone is $90. This is a smart charge on his part and well worth every penny; he helps keep my horses happy and healthy. The Doctor is a well-educated expert, his time valuable and the cost of fuel a pre-visit cash outlay to him. UPS and FedEx service my mail accounts, they take the pressure off me to get important packages delivered on time. I gladly pay UPS and FedEx a pick-up charge and a fuel surcharge to ensure my peace of mind regarding delivery.

My point is that I am used to paying call charges and fuel surcharges, I incorporate them into the cost of doing business and consider them part of the investment I make in my business. The rest of the world is accustomed to the same …

With the rising cost of fuel and the subsequent increase in the price of all of my farrier supplies, I started applying a call and fuel charge to all of my clients’ invoices. This covers my driving time, tolls and fuel. I arrive at the job happier and my customer’s know I’ll get there on time; they pay their bills with the add-ons and a thank you note. You can do the same …

The Drive Pricing website will help you with this. Start by adding your starting point. Then, enter your destination. Next, enter your ZIP, along with your rig’s miles per gallon and grade of fuel you use. You can select one-way or round-trip. I charge for a round-trip. When you click Go, you'll see how many miles you'll be traveling and the cost of fuel.

Here is the link: