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Friday, May 23, 2008

Mike Wildenstein and Cornell Vet School Unveil Enlarged Farrier Shop; Dedication to Former Instructors Is Built In!

Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York has a newly enlarged farrier shop and teaching area at the large animal hospital. Thanks to farrier student Richard Mercer for his reporting of the completion of the project.

The enlarged shop will enable Adjunct Professor Michael Wildenstein FWCF (Hons) to increase the enrollment of students in the basic program and accommodate more working farriers and veterinarians who wish to study foot science and problems under his direction at Cornell.

Left to right above are current Cornell farrier students Ryan Poole, Chad Blasch, Jon Grigat, and Richard Mercer. Standing behind is instructor Mike Wildenstein. Notice the five draft horse shoes that Mike forged and laid when the concrete was poured, cementing the legacy of Cornell’s past resident farriers. Each shoe contains the name and years of service. Left to right Henry Asmus 1913-1939 (Asmus was also the school’s founder), Eugene Layton 1931-1965, Harold Mowers 1965-1976, Buster Conklin 1976-1991, Michael Wildenstein 1991-?. Mike’s previous class would not allow him to stamp an end date.

This long view shows the length of the shop with the new work stations for forging. Notice the shoe case on the wall above the Belgian; it contains specimen shoes made by German immigrant farrier Henry Asmus almost 100 years ago. Asmus is widely regarded as the most influential farrier in American history. He was a tireless educator whose heart lay both in the veterinary school and in the farms. He believed in educating farriers working in the field, and in helping horse owners learn more about proper hoof care. He was a visionary man with an extraordinary combination of intellect to understand lameness in horses and artistic skill in blacksmithing. He was the only professor of horseshoeing in the United States, until Mike Wildenstein's appointment in 2007, and was an adviser to the US Army and the US Department of Agriculture. Farriers who studied under him at Cornell received advanced rank when they enlisted in the military to serve in World War I. Asmus died in 1939.

The shoeing area is also enlarged; note another case of Henry Asmus’s shoes hangs in this area. The expanded shop has doubled in size, with six forging stations, and an expanded safer area for the horses. The school now takes four students for each semester (up from three, for the first time in the course's history) and has sufficient space for those wanting to take advanced classes or for visiting farriers.

To learn more about Cornell’s farrier school and farrier services, visit

Mark your calendar: Cornell will host the 25th Annual Farrier Conference on November 8-9, 2008. Confirmed speakers include British farrier instructor Mark Caldwell FWCF of Myerscough College and Neil Madden FWCF, formerly of the British Army farrier school. For information about attending or exhibiting at this excellent event, email Amanda Mott in the Office of Continuing Education or call (USA) 607.253.3200.

Special thanks to Mr. Dick Russell for handling "Belle" and to Debbie Crane for taking these pictures and for the use of "Belle" and "Fantasy".

Blogger’s note: I can’t believe how clean it is! And the designer dousing buckets must have a story behind them! For non-farriers: the metal contraptions on the counters are not robots from Star Wars, they are gas forges for making or heating steel horseshoes so they can be worked (shaped) while hot, making the steel more malleable. Obviously Cornell believes in the future of metal horseshoes!

If you double click on the photos, you should be able to see them at full size and look at more details. Thanks to Richard for sending high-res photos!

All HoofBlog text and images © Hoofcare Publishing 2008 unless otherwise noted. To learn more about new research, products, and treatments for the horse's hooves and legs as reported to veterinarians and farriers in the award-winning "Hoofcare & Lameness Journal", go to Direct “subscribe now” link to Hoofcare & Lameness Journal: Contact Hoofcare Publishing anytime: tel 978 281 3222 fax 978 283 8775 email

1 comment:

Susan said...

Ryan you look great and right at home there at Cornell. Hurry home when your course is done, Baron misses you. He has managed to throw a show EVERY week for the last four weeks! 'Bout ready to try Gorilla glue instead of nails. Keep up the good work and hope to see you soon.
Baron's Mom