Friday, December 31, 2010

What Might a Horseshoer's Front Page Funeral and Your New Year's Resolution Have in Common?

If you've never been to a horseshoer's funeral, now you can say you have been.

On this last day of the year, it's time to reflect on the events that shaped this year. We'll get to that; the year's not over yet.

While it's easy to point out the things and the people new to the world of the hoof in the past year, it's a little more painful to recognize that we are moving on without some key figures.

Hence, this video. I think this is the first video ever made of a horseshoer's funeral. I never thought I'd be posting a video of a funeral here. It is, of course, voices from people who attended the funeral of Joe Kriz Sr. on September 4, 2010, but if you listen to the voices, they can speak volumes about others who are also gone.

In 2010, we lost Bob Skradzio and Jack Miller as well; these two men were great pillars of support and friendship for me from the day I met them. More than that, just like Joe, they were two people who loved what they did, and did what they loved.

I hope that you can say that about what you do; I know I can.

If you can't, why don't you make a new year's resolution to find--or re-kindle--the passion in your life? May it be half as strong as the passion that Joe and Bob and Jack felt for what they did, and the lives they lived. If enough people dedicated or re-dedicated themselves to their work with and for horses, our world will be a better place and slowly but surely the hole left by the loss of these men will be filled.

I know they'd all three add a PS to that: "And be sure to pass it on." Just like they did.

By the way, toward the end of Joe's funeral video, when they arrive at the cemetery, Joe's casket, emblazoned as it was with Scotch-bottom draft horse shoes, was buried next to his brother and lifetime horseshoeing partner, Johnny, just as you'd expect. It's a beautiful place.

I notice that on Johnny's headstone are written the immortal closing words from Will Ogilvie's famous poem, The Hooves of the Horses:
When you lay me to slumber no spot can you choose
But will ring to the rhythm of galloping shoes,
And under the daisies no grave be so deep
But the hooves of the horses shall sound in my sleep.

{ A note about the video }

The video is posted here with the kind permission of Joe Kriz Jr., producer Peter Hvizdak and the New Haven Register newspaper, where you can also still re-live U.J.'s funeral whenever you feel like it. I don't think we'll make a habit of showing videos of funerals, since they are very private events, but this video was produced more as a tribute to Joe, and I hope it's seen that way.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site,, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to
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