I have been teaching for such a long time that I have had about seven or eight men come to school and then eventually send their sons to school. It is a very cool thing that old teachers get to experience in regular public school all the time, which is one of the reasons that I couldn’t raise my kids to go to the schools in New Mexico that I attended. Not because of the teachers, but because of my youthful behavior.

For us it is such a huge honor that a graduate would think enough of their experience that they would send their own flesh and blood to the same instructors. While this is not exactly that story, it isn’t far from it.

I got a call in April from a young man in Colorado who asked if I remembered his dad, JD Hill, who I taught to shoe horses in 1994. JD had been a taxidermist, and the biggest thing I remembered about him was his natural skill as a farrier and the way he was able to do a dissection. The young man who called was Nevin Hill, who we now call Neverland. He wanted to come to school for the whole push of the Farrier Blacksmith Course, the Journeyman Farrier Course and the National Certification Course, but that would have to wait a year. Neverland wasn’t in the mood to wait, and we just happened to have an unusual opening in May. Next thing I know, Neverland is headed to Heartland Horseshoeing School and I get a chance to teach another son of a former student.

When Neverland first decided to go to farrier school, he had no idea that the person who taught his dad was still teaching. JD had gone to school while I was still teaching at the Colorado School of Trades, so he wasn’t expecting for me to be teaching in Missouri. Nevin had a horse that he hired Heartland Horseshoeing School graduate Skyler Smith to shoe. They got to talking about it and Skyler recommended he come to Heartland. Then when he looked into it on the website and through the YouTube videos, he knew this was the only place for him to come. Then he noticed that the signature on his dad’s graduation certificate was mine and it made his choice seem more like fate.

Nevin is only 22, so he wasn’t born yet when I taught his dad. He has grown up in Elizabeth, Colorado, and has had a bunch of jobs. His fist job was as a freshman in high school where he was bucking hay and learning what manual labor was all about. From there he ended up on a bucking bull ranch feeding and moving bulls. Eventually he got a job at Subway and the last job was as a asset protection for Walmart. All of these jobs had one thing in common, and that was the fact that he was working for someone else. The big thing about working for someone else is that you are making more money for them than they are paying you or they couldn’t hire you. This also means your efforts do not always translate to a better living in the same way that being self-employed does. Not everyone is made to be self-employed, and that is fine. But, if you are made that way, working for someone else is harder than being a little hungry while you pursue your dream.

Neverland had watched both his parents make a good living being self-employed and knows that he is wired the same way. His goal is to live on a small ranch and shoe horses for a living. His dad was a natural and Neverland is proving to be the same as he continues to get better at shoeing with every horse. Unfortunately, JD has passed away and will not get to see his son evolve into a farrier, but Nevin is sure that his dad is proud of what he is doing and where he is headed with his life and career.

Nevin’s Dad, JD Hill in a newspaper article

JD’s old business card

Big thumbs up from the forge.

Neverland enjoying being under horses.

Here is JD’s Diploma. I signed this in January of 1994. Wow

You can tell by this picture how much Neverland is enjoying shoeing.

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