Thursday, April 28, 2016

Virginia Tech launches second permanent vet school farrier facility; longtime consulting farrier Paul Goodness and team will now be on site in Leesburg

Luke and Paul Goodness, Virginia Tech farriers, Leesburg division
Virginia farrier Paul Goodness (right) is moving his successful farrier business out of his barn and into the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, the satellite veterinary hospital in Northern Virginia for Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. After serving more than 25 years as the hospital's contract farrier, he and his team, including his son Luke, left, will now be on-site full time. (Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center photo)

This week the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) in Leesburg, Virginia is announcing the launch of a permanent farrier facility. Longtime hospital contract farrier Paul Goodness is in the process of moving his team to Leesburg where he will begin his new staff role as in-­house Chief of Farrier Services for Virginia Polytechnic University, Leesburg division.

The EMC is Virginia Polytechnical University’s satellite referral equine hospital and research center for the Virginia­-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. The state-­of­-the-­art facility is located west of Washington, DC.

hoofcare education farriers
The on­site service may be a new concept for the facility, but the sight of Paul working on horses there will be a familiar one. He has provided contract farrier services to the hospital for so long that no one really knows when he began. (Paul estimates that it was sometime in the late 1980’s.)

The news comes on the heels of Virginia Tech's announcement on Monday that the vet school will launch a one-year Advanced Farrier Certificate program this summer, in conjunction with the Equine Podiatry Service at the Blacksburg campus in southeastern Virginia.

“Paul and his team are among the most highly regarded and advanced farriers in the country,” said EMC Director Dr. Michael Erskine in an announcement to regional clients and the horse community. “The EMC is proud that Paul, one of the most sought-after farriers on the east coast, and his team will provide full-time, on-site services at the medical center, They are a perfect fit here at the EMC, where our culture of caring and collaboration ensures the best treatment and services for our clients.

Leesburg is in Northern Virginia,
near Washington, DC
“The team will work closely with EMC faculty, referring veterinarians and farriers to help make diagnoses, alleviate pain and provide therapeutic shoeing for horses with problematic feet and/or joint pain,” his statement read; it also mentioned that Paul and his team will be working in a fully equipped shop that includes all-weather work stalls and additional holding stalls.

The expansion of the Marion DuPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) to include a full-time farrier service is a progressive step toward increasing the services already available to the hospital’s clients, students and interns. It will add a new facet of interest and teaching opportunities, as well as an additional revenue stream for the hospital.

Paul Goodness and his team plan to provide a fully comprehensive service that will offer hoofcare maintenance for normal sport, pleasure, and breeding horses, as well as a full spectrum of therapeutic farriery and follow­-up care at the highest professional level.

Paul Goodness was featured on NBC News and MSNBC in the runup to the Kentucky Derby a few years ago. (You may have to wait for the video to load.)

In an announcement from the hospital, Paul voiced his enthusiasm. “This is very special. Having vets and farriers working closely together is so much more effective and helpful for both the owner and the horse,” said Paul. “There are few other places in the country where full-time farriers and veterinarians come together to treat horses under one roof.”

Paul has been working with the hospital for several years on the concept of establishing a fully comprehensive center that will offer radiography-­based hoof mapping, conformation and gait analysis, utilization of the hospital’s Hallmarq Standing MRI and CT units, and coordination with many other diagnostic and therapeutic modalities the EMC offers its patients.

shoe pile used horseshoes
If you think you'll never move: what 
will happen to the shoe pile at
Paul's barn? (Fran Jurga photo)
For many years, Paul was the permanent link in one of the nation’s most well­-known cooperative multi-­farrier practices, known as Forging Ahead. As many as eight farriers worked full­time from the central office of Forging Ahead located in the barn on Paul's farm in Round Hill, Virginia. Forging Ahead, which always specialized in sport horses, was innovative in offering the first formal farrier internship program for early-­career professionals.

While the other farriers took to the road each morning, Paul preferred to work in his white­-walled shop, built as an extension of the barn’s rustic stone foundation. Horse owners learned their way to Paul’s barn, which was designed to allow access by trucks and trailers; owners relaxed on a comfortable couch by the woodstove while their horses were shod in the well­-lit extension. 

As needed, however, Paul would travel to nearby Leesburg to assist with the hoof-­related needs of equine patients at the referral hospital. Once there, he provided therapeutic shoeing services using the latest composites, adhesives and hoofcare innovations, and became known in farrier/vet circles for his expertise with problems like laminitis and foal correction, and for building welded support braces for horses with lower limb injuries such as ruptured or severed tendons and collapsed suspensory ligaments.

Paul Goodness horseshoer Virginia
Paul Goodness consults with an owner as one of his interns finishes a horse in the former drive-in shop in Paul's barn. Those posts held a lot of horses over the years, and the barn is still standing! (Fran Jurga photo)

When Forging Ahead’s partners agreed to dissolve the business in 2015, Paul formed Goodness Farrier Associates, LLC along with his son, Luke, who will also be on hand playing a critical role providing therapeutic farriery in Leesburg.

Luke is an American Farrier’s Association Certified Farrier and worked for several years in Colorado before returning to Virginia to join his father’s business. He's been shoeing horses since he was 14 years old.

This brief introductory video about the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical highlights some of the facility's capabilities.

An interesting postscript to the announcement of Paul’s full-time status at Virginia Tech’s referral hospital is that he will be working even closer with Virginia Tech’s main campus Equine Podiatry Service in Blacksburg, several hours to the south. Blacksburg’s Chief of Farrier Services is Travis Burns, CJF, TE, EE, FWCF, who launched his therapeutic farriery career by serving as one of Forging Ahead’s first interns and assisting Paul Goodness at Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center.

Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine farrier Travis Burns
Travis Burns, FWCF started in therapeutic
while an intern with Paul Goodness at
Forging Ahead; now the two will be 
working together again, although hours
apart. (Virginia Tech photo)
Reached in England where he was (successfully) completing his Fellowship examinations for the Worshipful Company of Farriers, Travis concurred with the positive steps that the university is taking. “Obviously I am very excited for Paul.” he wrote. “And I am very much looking forward to what (the new program in Leesburg) will bring to the VMCVM.”

Building a farrier service from scratch as the first full-time farrier in Blacksburg, Travis found a synergy with the vet school that has enhanced Virginia Tech’s reputation as a leading institution with ambulatory and in-house farrier services and a formal equine podiatry elective course in the vet school’s curriculum.

The vet school in Blacksburg announced Monday that it will launch a one-year advanced farrier certificate program this summer.

“Virginia Tech having two full-time farriers on staff is no doubt a first for any vet school,” Paul said, optimistic about the new program. “The professional hoof community at large can expect good things to come in the future.”

About Paul Goodness: Paul grew up with horses and began his first farrier apprenticeship in Pennsylvania in 1973, before completing a formal farrier program at Eastern States Farrier School in New York. He then entered into a second apprenticeship before developing his own sport horse farriery practice. But his education was far from over.

farrier intern New Bolton Center Paul Goodness
Paul Goodness during his internship at the University of
Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's New Bolton 
Center around 1982.
In 1981, Paul was accepted to the highly respected farrier internship program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) at New Bolton Center. Only a few farriers ever had that opportunity.

Completing this program in 1983, he moved to Virginia to launch his existing sport horse and corrective shoeing practice. In 1988, Paul united with other local farriers to share administrative staff and pool resources through a business they called Forging Ahead LLC.

From 1992 to 1996 Paul was an Official Farrier for the United States Equestrian Team (USET) and traveled extensively to international competitors, culminating with his role as Official Farrier at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

After the Olympics, Paul limited his travel and redirected his focus on therapeutic farriery and the development of the Forging Ahead Farrier Internship program, as well as sharing advanced techniques to visiting farriers and veterinarians from all over the world, both in Round Hill and Leesburg.

Paul is an American Farrier’s Association Certified Journeyman farrier.

Articles about Paul Goodness:

Friends at Work: NBC News Says "Thank Goodness" for Paul's Willingness to Share His Knowledge with Farrier Interns

Custom Unibar Brace and Platelet­-Rich Plasma Therapies Target Hind Limb Suspensory Collapse at Virginia's Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center

Found Objects: Farrier Finesse with Paul Goodness

Is Paul Goodness the typical American farrier? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, 1999.

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