Friday, December 15, 2017

Veterinary College Farrier Travis Burns Announces Candidacy for American Farrier’s Association President, Answers Questions

Veterinary college farrier Travis Burns, CJF, TE, EE, FWCF of Virginia is announcing his candidacy to be the next president of the American Farrier’s Association.

Travis Burns
“I’m ready to give two years of service to my profession,” Burns said. “I believe the AFA is the flagship of educational and certification entities for our profession, and the hope for its future, but it could be so much more for the people who care enough about farriery to be members right now.

"I have already chosen the AFA for the focus of my volunteer work over the past 10 years, and I think the time is right and the pieces are in place to make major progress," he continued. "I’m not part of the AFA’s past, although I respect and admire those who came before and blazed the trail. I want to bring results that today's and future members can see and benefit from.”

Travis Burns is currently serving on the AFA Board of Directors, representing Region 5, which stretches from Maine and Nova Scotia in the north to Virginia in the south, and includes Europe. He is also chair of the AFA’s Education Committee, a position he has held since 2012.

About Travis Burns

A full-time farrier and educator, Burns is employed by the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Polytechnic University, where he serves as Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences and Chief of Farrier Services in the Equine Podiatry Service of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

He is a graduate of both the North Carolina State University animal science program and the North Carolina School of Horseshoeing. He joined Forging Ahead, a multi-farrier sport horse practice in Northern Virginia in 2007. In 2010, he became the vet school’s first resident farrier.

His certifications include the therapeutic and educator endorsements offered by the AFA, as well as being a certified journeyman, and he has earned the Fellowship of the Worshipful Company of Farriers. Burns is currently completing a Master of Veterinary Education degree at the Royal Veterinary College in the United Kingdom.

Travis was married earlier this year and lives with his wife Lauren in Christiansburg, Virginia. Travis Burns has a simple vision for the AFA, but he says he can’t do it alone. “If elected, I’m going to ask not just the members for help, but the non-members, too. The AFA is the de facto representative of our profession in the horse industry and beyond. Each of us has an opinion on what it--or we--should be or do, but what are the things we agree on? Let’s build on that.”

The Hoof Blog interview

Travis Burns farrier
Travis Burns often works on lameness cases requiring therapeutic horseshoes that bypass the traditional forging skills, but he has proven his ability at the anvil with his certifications, which include the grueling forging examinations required to pass all the levels of the Worshipful Company of Farriers.

The Hoof Blog asked Travis Burns some questions about his decision to run for this office:

1. Hoof Blog: I guess the question everyone has will be: Do you have time for this job?

Travis: As you can imagine, time is something I am always searching for. That said, without the AFA I might not even be a farrier today. I was frustrated and almost ready to quit when I met an AFA CJF who volunteered countless hours to help me through the certification process and more. His willingness to give me his time is what motivates me to give all the time I possibly can to help the AFA continue to improve. Together, we can all help countless farriers.

2. Hoof Blog: You are already on the AFA's Board of Directors and a Committee Chair. What can’t you get done in your current position?

Travis: Being on the BOD and serving as Committee Chair has allowed me contribute significantly to the missions of the AFA. However, this is the last year of my term on the BOD. Therefore I am running for President to continue to contribute and support the AFA.

3. Hoof Blog: How different would the AFA be after two years of your presidency, ideally?

Travis: Ideally it would be significantly different. The AFA does a lot for the farrier profession but it could do so much more by incorporating or updating technology--small things like streamlining communication amongst AFA leadership and its members, decreasing certification paperwork for examiners, improving certification written examinations, etc. I’m not talking about technology for technology’s sake: I think it would go a long way to increase membership by attracting the upcoming generation of farriers and reducing/eliminating the persistent stereotype that the AFA is just a “good ol’ boys club”.

4. Hoof Blog: Does the AFA have a strategy for the future? If so, would you follow it or reinvent it?

Travis: It says right on the AFA website: “The AFA centers upon five foundational tenets, which reinforce our mission and drive all of our efforts and programs: Education, Certification, Communication, Research, and Innovation. These five, timeless tenets provide the basis for all AFA programs and serve as the focal points of the AFA, past and present.”

I obviously believe in this vision and the tenets that the AFA puts forward. However, the AFA does not have a clearly-defined plan, either short or long term, with specific goals available to its membership and potential members. I think that it is imperative to establish both short term and long term plans based on goals and make the membership and the farrier profession as a whole aware of where the AFA is going and how it intends to get there.

5. Hoof Blog: Your director’s term expires in 2018. Isn’t it correct that if you lose the election for president, you will go off the Board of Directors as well? What then?

Travis: That is correct. But the outcome of one election will not change my allegiance to the AFA. Someone has to serve as President and, like anyone else, if I am tasked with that job I will do the best I can. If I am not elected, I will still support the new AFA President and will hope to continue to serve on the Education Committee and the Certification Committee.


If elected, Burns will follow current AFA President Donnie Perkinson, CJF of Illinois, whose term will end in February at the AFA Convention in Reno, Nevada.

Count on updates from the American Farrier's Association for full candidate statements and official election information. Travis Burns will have a complete statement on file with the AFA.

To talk to Travis Burns about his candidacy, email or tel 540-553-4827.

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