Valerie Roy from the Great White North.

We always get a few Canadians. Sometimes a lot more than a few, but when the US dollar is strong, the foreign students dry up a bit. This year we are lucky enough to have Valerie Roy, AKA “The Cougar” join us from Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada.


Getting the nickname The Cougar at the age of 22 is a pretty interesting story. In this class we just happen to have a young man named Dakota Bayless who we call Little Cody. He has been hanging around the school and shoeing with us since he was really young, and he is finally an actual student at the age of 14. As you can all see, The Cougar is a pretty young woman that is also very sweet, so she agreed to go on a Dairy Queen date with Little Cody out of kindness. For his part, he couldn’t help asking her out even if she was the one that had to drive. For her part, she could have said no if she weren’t so nice. At any rate, it has led to a nickname that makes some people think of big wild cats, and some people think about rich older women. Only those on the inside will now think of Valerie.


The Cougar is 22 years old, and has had a love for horses since the age of 6. She grew up riding in horse camp with friends, and horses were what made everything in her world make sense. She was encouraged to find a practical career so she could afford her horse addiction. However, the advice came from people with a view of the world like many counselors, and they have no idea what a career as a farrier can provide. There are few careers that are more practical. For Valerie, one of the most important things that she is going to get out of being a farrier is having a career that will allow her to help and spend time with these great animals.


She watched and admired the work of her farrier, and for years was lost working at different jobs while she planned on different careers that just didn’t fit. Many thought her desire to be a farrier was unrealistic, but she has come to realize that it is not at all unrealistic.


“Thanks to the support of my friends and family, I’m sitting here learning from the best farriers in the world.” Is what Valerie has to say about the journey she is currently on. “I want to be a confident, knowledgeable, friendly farrier who is reliable and my goal is to have a career that I can learn from every day. One that’ll fire me to wake up in the morning, and this is it!”


The Cougar moved across Canada trying to “find herself” and this led to living in a more economical part of the country. The new area had a barn called Rose Bush that had a farrier working in it, unlike the previous barn, which only had a barefoot trimmer. Valerie was so interested and watched the farrier work every chance that she had. Her horse became more competitive once it was sound and being shod well, and Valerie started questioning the farrier about how she had gotten to where she was. It just so happened that the amazing farrier she was watching was Heartland Horseshoeing School graduate Natalie Schildwatchter, (IDK), who came to school in 2013. IDK told her about the time she had spent in the Heartland and Valerie knew from the first conversation that she had to start her career by becoming a student at Heartland Horseshoeing School. Valerie has never done anything halfway or mediocre, so she wanted to go to a school that shared those views.


We are in the second week of school, but Valerie feels like it has gone by in a blink. The common saying around here is that the information being thrown at you is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant. When you are in that position, time does fly by in a way that is different from the normal passage of time. It seems like you have just arrived but been here forever. Valerie is in the midst of experiencing that strange time warp that those who have been through a military boot camp can appreciate.


The Cougar’s goals are to graduate in late June and serve an apprenticeship with her role model in Alberta. IDK has truly been an inspiration to her. She hopes to do some farrier competitions as well as pursue certification. Once she starts to make a living, her ultimate goal is to move home to New Brunswick. There are less horses and less farriers there, but Valerie knows there is a spot for her. For now, her short term goals are to work hard and soak up all the skill and information she can while she continues to push forward in the Heartland.


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