The university said that the 27th Cornell Farriers Conference, scheduled for this weekend, had been canceled.
Held in the highest esteen and featuring stellar farrier and veterinarian speakers in a world-class academic environment, the conference attracted a list of the virtual "who's who" of the farrier academic world over the years while sticking to a strict education-only policy that was embraced by attendees and supported by sponsors and trade show exhibitors.
A quick check of the (incomplete) files here shows the speakers over the years to have included Mark Aikens, Mike Ball, Philippe Benoit, Roy Bloom, Dan Bradley, Doug Butler, Christina Cable, Mark Caldwell, Victor Camp, Hans Castilijns, Brent Chidsey, Jacqueline Cilley, Meredith Clarke, Buster Conklin, Janet Douglas, Dave Duckett, David Farley, Gene Fletcher, Laura Florence, Don Gustafson, Chris Gregory, David Hood, Vern Hornquist, Betsy Keller, Steve Kraus, Scott Lampert, Jeffrey LaPoint, Jack Lowe, Neil Madden, Bruce Matthews, Kelly McGhee, Myron McLane, Dallas Morgan, Scott Morrison, Tia Nelson, Charley Orlando, Andrew Parks, Bob Pethick, Chris Pollitt, Haydn Price, Jeremy Rawlinson, Pat Reilly, Dave Richards, Mike Savoldi, Judith Shoemaker, Rob Sigafoos, Sigurdur Sigurdsson, Meike Van Heel, Gary Werner, and Pamela Wilkins.
Michael Wildenstein, who led the farrier program at Cornell until August of this year, took up Asmus as a role model and built up the conference to bring in leading lecturers from all over the world. He took pride in the number of repeat attendees at the conference, who returned year after year after year, and said that these people were the best-educated farriers in America because of their exposure to the talented and generous speakers who had been part of the conferences.
In the lighter-fare Saturday night programs at Cornell, farriers raised money for memorials, auctioned things off (like Professor Chris Pollitt's Australian Akubra hat), read poetry, tossed horseshoes and anvils, told stories about their mentors, played instruments and sang (among many unforgettables: a farrier opera singer, the Welsh national anthem a cappella, and three Australians who sang a "Waltzing Matilda" chorale), and there was even an Anvil Chorus karaoke one year.
I don't know what I'll do this weekend.
But I would like to thank Cornell for the 20 or so conferences that I attended. I can't think of any event that was so educational, where I learned so much, felt so welcomed, or looked forward to so much.
I will especially remember using the incredible Flower Sprecher Library at the vet school, and walking through the rows of shelves, finding farriers on their hands and knees reading books (old and new), or making copies of pages of books, or using computers to find articles and search databases. Cornell really did open its doors to farriers for that weekend each year. It was a gift and I hope you were able to benefit from it, in some way, while it lasted. I know I did, in a big way.
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