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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Lo! And Behold! Re-energized American Farrier’s Association Offers News, Launches Convention Web Site

It’s not easy being a journalist in the hoof business. What should be the #1 source of information, the office of the national farriers’ association, is usually busy trying to keep its internal affairs out of the news. When the American Farrier’s Association (AFA) offers news on a hand-forged platter, it's a red letter day.

The remarkable news is that the AFA is being pro-active in announcing that the latest of the AFA's executive directors, Jon Bonci, has made his exit. Vice President Dick Fanguy explains that Bonci has returned to a job in the media business in his native New York. Dick stressed that the resignation was bad timing with the AFA’s convention coming up in February, but that the move was not based on politics or interpersonal relations.

Bonci took over following the exit of acting director Michael Nolan a year ago. Nolan, in turn, was brought in to manage a fractured association following the resignation of Bryan Quinsey only a few weeks after a hard-fought election in the wake of a damaging scandal over a top-secret task force with an agenda to push for licensing of farriers in the United States.

The good news is that former employee Rachael Highton has returned to the AFA and will serve as office manager in the Lexington national headquarters. Rachael has worked on administration of previous conventions for the AFA.

In February, the AFA re-invents itself with a smaller region-based national board, replacing a congress of large and small local association representatives, and a new slate of officers. Andrew Elsbree of New York is the incoming president.

The AFA has also launched a standalone website promoting the upcoming convention, to be held the last week of February at the Kentucky Horse Park and Rupp Arena in downtown Lexington.

News from the site is that the roster of sponsoring companies for the AFA’s big competition has evolved, with Vector horse nails taking over sponsorship of the “live” shoeing class and Delta taking over the specialty forging class. (Will they still have the big "Capewell Cup" trophy, I wonder?) Also, the AFA voted to offer free convention registrations to Australian farriers impacted by the equine influenza outbreak there.

Overall, farriers and industry types from all corners are optimistic about a return to Lexington, Kentucky for a national convention. See you there!

1 comment:

Mike MIller said...

Thanks for keeping the AFA's recovery on your site.

You did a nice job summarizing (and dis-infecting) the latest in the Presidential/Office soap opera, but the "scandal" over the "secret" task force on licensing and registration is a little over blown. There wasn't anything secret about Craig Trnka appointing us to look in to the issue. We did work in confidence until the final report was ready to present, because we knew that it would be controversial, and didn't want the pig "eaten one leg at a time." We then presented the report in its entirety to the Board.

My review of state veterinary licensing laws published in Today's Pro Farrier shows that in all but 4 states, farriers have some serious legal exposure for doing their regular jobs. I have attached the text.

The only scandal that I know of was the campaign of hate mail and personal vilification that followed. The vocal element that can't tolerate anyone with a different opinion is an unfortunate and permanent fact of life for the AFA. The smaller board will damp that down some.

Walt Taylor and I were both nominated for and have run for positions on the new board. We were both made targets of an anonymous postcard hate mail campaign. I've attached a scan of it. Clearly the work of a deranged mind, and I recognize the likely person behind it. It's a privilege to be included with the founder of the AFA as worthy of attack.