It was such an honor to do Danny Ward’s clinic in November. To see the great man again always makes me smile. I have missed the last few years where I was able to see him at the Summit and the AFA Convention every year. I’ve been to the clinic a few times over the years and luckily this year Kelly went with me, and we had a fantastic time.
I made a couple of shoes, talked about my favorite subject, horseshoeing, and fellowshipped with so many of my farrier friends from all over. Mike Wildenstein, CJF, FWCF (hons), was a clinician as well. Neil, Craig and Tim were there to make some amazing food, again, and it was a wonderful gathering as always.
In fact, it was a bit of a homecoming for Kelly and I. When we left Fort Lee, Virginia in the fall of 1991, Kelly was 6 months pregnant with Cody. While serving in Fort Lee, I spent every spare day off at Danny’s Eastern School of Farriery. Danny had been kind enough to let me be an apprentice farrier instructor for his late summer class, so Kelly and I lived in a 2-man tent while I learned at the feet of the master.
Being that pregnant and living in a tent with an obsessed farrier and forger certainly had its challenges, but thank God, Kelly has always been supportive and encouraging. (Even when many in her family thought that I was crazy.) At any rate, we survived the tent and I learned so much about teaching the art of farriery from Danny, Jessie Ward, Bill Jenner and the rest of the staff, before I actually had to be the one in charge of my own school.
We made it to Colorado and I started a school in Lakewood in January of 1992, only10 days after Cody was born. When I started my first class as the head instructor in Farrier Science, I was only 23, and it is a wonder that we all lived through it.
Danny had me out to do his annual clinic that year, and I was tasked with making a Paten Bar Shoe in front of a crowd of over 200. There were some big names in the crowd, and making that shoe was one of the turning points of my career. As Kelly and I looked at Danny’s shop, the bunkhouse, the forges and anvils, and that little piece of ground where our trusty tent kept us sheltered for those many weeks; we couldn’t help but reflect on how many turning points were focused on that wonderful little piece of Martinsburg, Virginia, and the amazing man that has always been so generous with everything we ever needed. Thanks Danny. You will always be our hero.