Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Horseshoer Joe Alfano celebrates 50 years of service with Pennsylvania National Horse Show Hall of Fame honor.

Joe Alfano has been the horseshoer at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg for 50 years. The horse show honored him this year by inducting him in the event's Hall of Fame. Joe is shown here with his niece (left), well-known equestrian Jennifer Alfano, and PNHS Executive Director Susie Shirk. (Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography)

How do you top reaching the landmark of 50 years of farrier service at one of America's most prestigious horse shows? Joe Alfano knows the answer to that question.

And he might be the only one who knows. It's hard to imagine that anyone else holds such a record for longevity of service to a show.

In October, Pennsylvania farrier Joe Alfano reached his landmark 50th year of service to the Pennsylvania National Horse Show and was surprised to find out that the horse show had a special honor in mind for him. Joe was inducted into the famous indoor show's Hall of Fame. 

Also inducted with Joe were the late Dr. Csaba Magassy and Team USA's Olympic gold medalist show jumper McLain Ward, who was on hand as a competitor to accept his award. Ward won the show's $100,000 Grand Prix de Penn National. 

The show also produced a video tribute to Joe:


According to information provided by the show, Joe first served at the show way back in 1966, when he was apprentice to former PNHS farrier, Larry Bender. Not long after the show, Joe was drafted but before he began his duties in the Viet Nam war, he served in Texas at Fort Sam Houston, where he worked on U.S. pentathlon horses. According to Joe, he was the last official enlisted farrier there. 

When he arrived home from Viet Nam, he was discharged the day before the start of the Pennsylvania National Horse Show that year. Joe arrived back home in Pennsylvania just in time to put his apron on and get to work at the show.

And he's never left the service of the 11-day fall horse show, know as one of the east coast "indoor" end-of-year shows for hunters and jumpers. 

“Being the PNHS farrier is one of my bucket list things; it’s a great honor just to be here,” said Alfano.

Congratulations, Joe, they obviously think it's an honor to have you.

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