Friday, July 23, 2010

Silent Anvil: Jack Miller Has Died

Jack Miller gave me a wink. We were in Malibu, California, it was 1985, and Jack was in his prime. He's wearing the Texas flag as a bandanna around his neck. 
The hunter/jumper world will never be quite the same. Where will a trainer take a horse as a last resort, that horse who's just not going quite right under his feet?

Legendary horseshoer Jack Miller died after sunrise this morning in the Montgomery County, Maryland hospital where he had been a patient for several weeks undergoing treatment for multiple life-threatening problems. Jack had been in ill health for many years, but just kept on going.

A loyal legion of world-class farriers and horse show friends from all over America had traveled to Maryland this week to be with Jack.

Jack Miller created, defined and perfected a lifestyle of "vagabond horseshoeing" on the hunter/jumper horse show circuit where he made a living proving to people that his trademark mystique for being able to put difficult horses "right" through subtle hoof balance techniques was real. Unfortunately for the farrier world, he was never quite able to explain what he knew instinctively about how to help horses get over fences. He just did it. And shrugged.

Jack was from Texas and lived wherever he was that night. He was especially proud of his long role as the official farrier for the Washington (D.C.) International Horse Show. His clients over the years included many Olympic and champion riders, trainers, and their horses.

No one was more rightfully in the Hall of Fame than Jack Miller, nor more in a class of his own.

Note: Jack's friends can right-click on the photo above and save it for personal use. It's large format, low resolution. In the days since Jack's death I have learned how many friends Jack had. It has been amazing to hear from so many of them! I have posted an album of more old photos of Jack on the Hoofcare and Lameness Facebook page.

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