Keith is a graduate of Casey and Son Horseshoeing School and is a Certified Journeyman II farrier, is a lifetime member and a past board member of eight years for the B.W.F.A. He is a founding member of the Farriers National Research Center in No. Georgia. Most recently, he is a founding member, farrier and clinician for the equine research foundation known as BOGHS, which includes the highly renowned equine research pathologist, Dr. Robert Bowker and the Aerospace engineer and inventor Tommy Lee Osha.
Keith has traveled the four corners of the country helping foundered horses and horse owners with their equine friends. Keith has been featured in several national magazines including Fortune and Anvil, and has written articles for several local and regional publications. Keith has also been featured on WTVM Channel 9 of Columbus, Ga. and CNN. He continues to assist at various farrier and horse owner clinics, fairs, and the like, throughout the country.
What makes me dedicated to helping foundered and lame horses? I guess it’s the passion I have for horses. I have always had a connection with horses as long as I can remember. They are great, wonderful, majestic creatures and I don’t like seeing them in pain. I learned the art, science and trade of farriery from a forward thinking and innovative teacher. His teachings combined with the guidance and input from many other innovative farriers have helped shape the farrier I have become. I’ve had the benefit of viewing the horse as a whole being, not just four feet attached to something called a horse. I see and feel the entire being. I have long said that I evaluate the horse from the top down and work from the bottom up.
I began working on lameness cases while I was still in school. I had a desire to fill a void in the farrier world. There are many, many shoers who follow one circuit or another, shoe one breed or another or one discipline or another. I knew of very few farriers who dedicated their work to lameness cases. The one person I knew of was Tony Gonzales, a Hawaiian farrier who wrote the book “Proper Balanced Movement”. I was fortunate enough to meet and learn from Tony before he was taken from us all too soon. Tony was able to fill in many pieces of the puzzle for me. Tony’s PBM concept is a very large pillar of the foundation upon which I work. Without Tony, I would be hard pressed to perform at the level I do today. There are several other key contributors who provided me with the foundation upon which I stand; men like Ralph Casey, Joe Shell, Danny Ward, Bernie Chapman, Tommy Lee Osha, and Dr. Robert Bowker. To these great and generous people, I will forever be grateful.
Perhaps the one person I owe the greatest debt of gratitude is the local horse shoer who was working on my own horse before I decided to attend a farrier school. He didn’t talk me into going. He tried to talk me out of it. But I was determined. Had he been a better shoer, I likely would never have decided to attend school. But his lack of knowledge and skill of the equine hoof indirectly caused my horse to become a lameness case and she lost approximately 85% of the connective tissue of one of her front feet. I was mortified and scared to death. I didn’t know what the problem was or how to correct it at such an early stage in my schooling. But, perseverance paid off. After two years of diligent work, I was able to restore her foot to around 95% sound, which she remains to this day. Most of her life she’s been barefooted. We’ve ridden many hours and many, many miles. She’s the best horse in the world… in my opinion of course. I’m sure each of you have had the best horse in the world. It’s all relative.
I’ve dedicated my career to helping foundered and lameness cases in the name of my own horse, just as I vowed to her I would. This work is rewarding and very gratifying. When I see a horse who hasn’t been able to move right for some time and they are able to do so after just one trim, I can’t help to get a lump in my throat. It is very gratifying to see a crooked-standing horse suddenly be able to stand comfortable and square, that is very heart warming. And when a very painful and sore-foundered horse is able to go back into service again, I know why I go through all the pain and heartaches it took to get them there.
My life is dedicated to making unhealthy horses healthy again. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I may be a bit unorthodox, I may be bit out of the mainstream, and I may think quite a bit ‘out of the box’, but I work in a logical manner, thinking through as many different angles and scenarios as is possible to determine a cause and a treatment that will work for each individual horse. Yes, my life and my love are dedicated to horses. I can’t think of anything better, except the Love of my life, who is also dedicated to horses. Now THAT’S a good life.