Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another Silent Anvil: Reggie Kester has died

Horseshoeing school owner Reggie Kester of Ardmore, Oklahoma has died. Reggie owned Oklahoma State Horseshoeing School and has taught thousands of people to trim and shoe horses. His school has always been one of the most popular farrier schools in the United States and Reggie was a leader of independent farrier educators. He called a meeting in 2005 that lead to the establishment of the American Farrier Educators Council; he was elected the first president.

Reggie had cancer and had been hospitalized since Thanksgiving with complications of pneumonia.

I thoroughly enjoyed knowing Reggie Kester and enjoyed working with him in the old days of the informal "farrier educators" group meetings facilitated by GE Tools' Beth Garner. That group grew into the Registry of Professional Farrier Educators (RPFE), which I believe no longer exists. Reggie called a crisis meeting of private horseshoeing school owners in Oklahoma City in 2005 in reaction to a perceived threat or intervention on the ability of private schools to continue to run their businesses, which lead to the formation of the AFEC.

Reggie was a "can do" man who I think of as having one foot in the past and one in the future, while looking the present right in the eye. He started his school in 1975, just before the beginning of the boom in private horseshoeing schools, and his school was very well known. He believed in what he was doing, he believed in being involved in the bigger farrier industry, and he and his family are friendly, genuine ambassadors for farriery. They have launched the careers and advanced the skills of so many people, but they have also enriched many more lives with their enthusiasism and warmth, including mine.

If you would like to write to Marcella, Regan or Kathy, the address is
Oklahoma State Horseshoeing School
4802 Dogwood Rd
Ardmore, OK 73401.

Update: A funeral is planned for Friday, January 2nd, handled by the Craddock Funeral Home in Ardmore, where a complete obituary has been posted about Reggie. You can order flowers from the Yellow Rose Florist in Ardmore: 580 226 5116.