A farrier’s start…
My journey in becoming a farrier started in the early 1980s. I did not initially start out to be a farrier. My focus was primary on cattle. I feel that my experience on livestock judging team at the University of Missouri, in Columbia, helped me more accurately to assess structural issues and movement issue in livestock with horses included.
Also, while attending Mizzou I was instructed on how a horse should be shod. Upon graduation I managed a ranch and was unable to find a farrier at the time to satisfy my ideas of how a horse should be set. So I then began to do my own work. He managed Briarwood Angus Farms, where he used horses on a daily basis to help with cattle-handling. It was during that time, in 1982, that Dennis began to shoe his own horses. His skills in horsemanship developed over time with the guidance and instruction of experienced horseman and horseshoer Sonny Paul. Numerous others have influenced Dennis over the years, including California farrier Wayne Cozart, World Champion Grant Moon, friend and former shoeing partner Mike Walsh of Utopia , Texas , and most recently Dr. Ric Redden of Versailles, Kentucky.
Dennis’ combination of trial and error, ongoing drive to learn and improve, and willingness to think outside of the box have made Dennis one of the leading instructors of farrier science and horsemanship. Dennis began shoeing in 1982 and founded Weekend Shoeing Classes in 1993. As a rider, trainer, and successful competitor himself, Dennis understands the value of a sound horse that is up to its potential in performance.
It is the memory of the the struggles in the beginning I feel makes me keenly aware of the difficulty students go through in learning how to shoe a horse. Thus I can offer advice on teaching how to hold a horses foot where its comfortable for the horse and shoer along with the use of the farrier tools to make learning how to shoe a horse comprehensive and much easier than it would be for you to learn on your own.
Over the years I have remained open to learn improved techniques to help horses to become the best they can be and to stay around as long as they can. Soundness and ease of movement still are and always will be priority; the horse is the ultimate judge.