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Kentucky Horseshoeing School

Kentucky Life visits the Kentucky Horseshoeing School where students learn everything they need to know about equine hoof care.

Graduates of the Kentucky Horseshoeing School in Richmond are considered to be among the top farriers in the world.

Mitch Taylor, director of education at the school, is originally from Colorado and moved to Lexington to get a master’s degree in animal science.

“I’ve been shoeing horses since I was 17, so, 40 years or so,” he said. “I spent a lot of time in academia and a lot of time shoeing horses, but they were two different worlds.”

Acquiring the Kentucky Horseshoeing School in 1989 allowed him to bring both worlds together.

The training provided at the school, through lectures and hands-on work, allows students to graduate with a considerable amount of knowledge and experience. “And they don’t have to go through those extra two or three years of making horses uncomfortable before they have it figured out,” Taylor said.

Two days a week students go out and trim the hooves of horses in the pasture who don’t wear shoes. “That’s really important to get the students able to stand underneath horses, to use their tools efficiently and effectively.”

Three or four days a week they work on horses brought to the school. “We produce high quality work, although it takes a student a long time, obviously. A student will do one horse a day where a farrier will do eight to 10 a day,” he said.

Chris Gooding, an instructor at the school, is a horseman and has good rapport with students. “His responsibility is to make sure all the horses are correctly done,” Taylor said.

Stanley Mullen is the shop apprentice. A 17-year-old from New Zealand, he is an excellent teacher for the lower level students, Taylor said.

Taylor said only 10 percent of the farriers in the U.S. are certified through the American Farriers Association. Taylor got accreditation from the U.S. Department of Education, making the Kentucky school the only accredited school of horseshoeing in the nation.

“They understand what they’re doing, why they’re doing it. Then they can reach a problem and develop a game plan to deal with that problem in a much more consistent manner that will have better results, which means sounder horses,” Taylor said. “When we have sounder horses, the whole equine industry is stronger.”

This segment is part of Kentucky Life episode #2118, which originally aired on May 21, 2016. Watch the full episode here.