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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Silent Anvil With Much More to Say: Hank McEwan, Horseshoer, Horseman, Friend


You probably thought you'd be reading the Hoof Blog's tribute to Hank McEwan by now. Words don't come easily, but Wednesday should be the day.



Suffice to say, a slice of Americana/Canadiana has been cut from the cake, wrapped in a napkin, and hustled from the party. Everyone's looking around, wondering where he went. It's hard to imagine a party without him.

One of those people who seemed to be timeless and yet who had seen so much over so many generations, Hank was truly ageless but when you added them up, there were 84 years stacked behind him.

He taught hundreds and hundreds of people to trim and shoe horses at leading schools in California and British Columbia and he advised hundreds and hundreds more about caring for their horses and riding their horses and living their lives.

Please check back for a tribute to The Hank. If you are signed up for the email alerts to the Hoof Blog (and hopefully you are!), you will receive an email about the tribute to Hank.



Hank McEwan was a fixture at the Calgary Stampede horseshoeing competitions for the past 30 years. He helped make it the great event it was, and also was an organizer and mentor for the Canadian horseshoeing team and its members. He didn't need to compete, he just needed to be there for everyone else.

Thanks to Marguerite Paige for the loan of these photos of Hank (and his chair) at Calgary.

As many readers know, Hoofcare Publishing is in the middle of packing up 30 years' worth of files and books to move to a new office, and this month it has been tough to even find a keyboard amidst the chaos. But there is much to say about Hank, so please check back on Wednesday.

In the meantime, if you'd like to leave a comment (with your name) below and tell a story about Hank, we'd be on our way. He'd love that. We all would.


Hank was farrier instructor at Ralph Hoover's famous Porterville Horseshoeing School in Porterville, California. Here he is 1968 posing with his graduating class. Which one is Hank? That's him in the back row, far right, in the vest. Photo courtesy of Traci and Jerry von Kaenel; that's Jerry in the white shirt in front.



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Disclosure of Material Connection: The Hoof Blog (Hoofcare Publishing) has not received any direct compensation for writing this post. Hoofcare Publishing has no material connection to the brands, products, or services mentioned, other than products and services of Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

1 comment:

Chuck Michel said...

I was a student at Porterville Horseshoeing School when Hank was the instructor there. Hank was not only a great horseshoeing instructor but he also taught us how to handle horses. It was from him I learned how to sideline a horse. I have never been the fastest learner in the world and I struggled while I was in the school. My wife worked as a waitress at Gang Su's Chinese restaurant in Porterville. Hank used to take a time out and frequent the restaurant for a beer when he got stressed over something dangerous that a student did. He would say, "I'll be back in twenty minutes." In Gang Su's one day he told my wife that I would learn the mechanics of the trade but that the most successful farriers were the ones that could handle horses. He saw that in me and it was his way of encouraging me not to give up. I became one of the founding members of the California Farriers Association and was a member of the board of directors after the association became Western States Farrier Association. I was one of the official farriers at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. I retired after shoeing horses for 45 years. I was fortunate to have Hank for an instructor.