Ada is originally from New York; she is a descendant of Henry Burden, a Scottish immigrant who invented the first machine to manufacture horseshoes. His machines are credited with helping the North win the Civil War; his factories stretched forever along the banks of the Hudson River in Troy, New York and Burden horseshoes supplied the US cavalry for decades. Henry would never have dreamed that women would someday shoe horses, let alone one of his descendants, but Ada made the history books too.Today, Ada owns and runs Harry Patton Horseshoeing Supplies near Santa Anita, and serves farriers all over California. The business was started by her late husband, the famous racetrack shoer Harry Patton, and she has built it into a multi-store retail chain, with business partner Michael De Leonardo in northern California.
Ada stares up at the derelict but grand church built by her great-great-grandfather so that horseshoe factory workers had a place to worship. She saved the church from demolition through a loophole in the deed that made a provision for a descendant of the founder to lay claim. What would Henry Burden think of one of his descendants selling horseshoes?Ada is originally from New York, and she is the great great grand-daughter of Henry Burden, the inventor of the horseshoe-making machine. We reconnected her with her roots a few years ago by explaining that her family's church would be torn down if she didn't claim the deed and save it--which she did, and subsequently opened the beautiful old church and invited our Hoofcare@Saratoga tour group of farriers in for lunch as part of one of our tours of the Burden Iron Works.
Last year Ada was honored in her family's church by the Burden Iron Works Museum and its preservation efforts. The image at right is the outline of the Burden horseshoe company's office building, which now houses the museum. The museum and Ada found each other through Hoofcare & Lameness Journal and our Hoofcare@Saratoga program and tour of the museum. The museum is dedicated to preserving the history of horseshoe manufacturing in Troy, New York.Today, Ada is busy selling shoes. But she recently "joined up" with one of her old shoeing clients, California horseman Monty Roberts, and the two made a DVD together on hoofcare and horsemanship for hard-to-shoe horses. She teaches simple hoof balance principles at horse owner events and markets a hoof ruler to help them keep track of changes in their horses' hooves' dimensions. Horse Illustrated profiled Ada's pioneering career spirit in this tribute article. Ada is one person who never forgot where she came from, and is not done getting to where she's going. She's still giving us all a lot of laughs along the way, and digging this video up out of the 1990s will insure that more people around the world join in. Monitor Hoofcare News on Twitter.com! Follow @hoofcarejournal!
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