Monday, May 14, 2007

People News: Get Well, Manfred!

Put your hand over your heart today (Tuesday, May 15) and think of our friend, Manfred Ecker, the original farrier at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital's podiatry clinic in Lexington, Kentucky. Manfred was hospitalized a few days ago with a heart problem and will be undergoing a "procedure" at the University of Kentucky's medical center today.

I'm sorry to say that I have hundreds of photos of Manfred's exquisitely-crafted shoes and braces and tools, but this is the closest I could come to a photo of Manfred himself. I remember this day very well: a big Belgian pulling horse (foundered, of course) was in the clinic for shoeing. Manfred fired up the beautiful stainless steel forge and before long he was striking for Aaron Gygax (shown here on left), as they went to work creating handmade shoes for the giant horse. On that day, there was no glue, no high-tech fiber and no support material in sight, just two highly skilled farriers doing the job as farriers have for hundreds of years. What impressed me was how easily they switched gears--or centuries--in their work.

We're thinking of you today, Manfred.