Farrier Convention Hits Reno

RENO, NV - Instead of the sound of basketballs on the floor of the Reno Events Center, it's the clacking and clanging of metal on anvil with hammer.

There are more than 30 teams out here competing in the draft class, shaping shoes from a straight bar.

It's a lot of work, and just one of the many events at this year's American Farriers Association Annual Convention.

”The only way you are gong to learn to do something is to be coached, and that's what I do while I am here,” says Rollie Gallego, a farrier from Hawaii.

Organizers of the convention say the industry, which goes back to Roman Times, is holding its own.

Not all farriers make shoes like this, but some actually like it.

“For me personally, It's an art form,” says instructor Jim Blurton.

Blurton is from Wales, known internationally; he is here to give a demonstration on a specialized shoe.

Local horses have volunteered their feet for such classes, so calm they seem to know how important their role is.

Students and instructors alike are from all over the world... Japan, Sweden, Ireland, and right here in the U.S.

And if you think shoeing horses is just for men, think again.

“I was the first woman in the U.S and Canada to be licensed to shoe Thoroughbred race horses,” says Ada Gates-Patton, a farrier for 35 years.

By the way, she is still the only woman with such credentials.

Is this a profession for women? “Sure,” says Patton.

With less than an hour left, the teams continue to forge away on a skill that still has relevance; even in a world of SIM cards and smart phones.

About 500 farriers and blacksmiths attended this year's annual convention held in Reno.