Danvers: “My father was the General Manager for the Rockefeller family farms and ranches, based in Arkansas.
“An old cowboy, Haskell Crawford, was in charge of the equine division, and he became my surrogate grandfather and mentor.
“I began shoeing and trimming under Crawford’s guidance when I was 12. I did my own horses, and some for the public from that time. Later [the first time I dropped out of college], I attended OSHS and began shoeing full time in central Arkansas.”
Why did you decide to become a farrier?
Danvers: “Horseshoeing funded my college education, so I was in and out of school on an eight-year-plan for my undergraduate education. When I was pursuing advanced degrees, my shoeing slowed down considerably, and I only kept a small number of horses in my farrier practice.
“I ended up teaching high school English in Morrilton, Arkansas, freshman composition at the University of Central Arkansas, and composition and literature at Purdue University. I also taught composition at Indiana University’s satellite campus in Kokomo, Indiana and at IUPUI. Outside of academia, I put my degrees to work in the field of farriery, writing articles and doing editorial review for various equine publications [including the American Farriers’ Journal, Practical Horseman, and The New Zealand Farrier]. I also served as editor of Professional Farrier magazine for several years.
“I never really set out to be a farrier; it was just something I did. I liked working with horses, and shoeing tended to quiet my mind and calm me, which I needed as a youngster. Nevertheless, until I was in my thirties, I never saw it as a career. Then, one day, I simply realised that farriery and horses had been the constant in my life and that I simply needed to accept that it was what I most enjoyed.”
You’ve pursued a lot of the more academic and theoretical aspects of farriery, do you have a philosophy?
Danvers: “My tagline for my Foxtail Forge business is ‘Promoting equine welfare from the ground up,’ and that pretty much sums up my philosophy as a farrier.
“I’m not just shoeing feet; I’m shoeing horses. In order to do that, and do it well, I have to be a student of gaits, movement, disciplines, footings, and everything I possibly can in order to do justice to these grand animals. The bottom of a horse’s foot has taken me around the world, put food on my table, introduced me to wonderful people, and generally provided me with a great life. I owe it to the horse to give back all I can.”
What would you say are the highlights of your career as a farrier?
Danvers: “Last year, I was inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame, housed at the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs, and that kind of tops my highlight list.
“But I’ve been privileged and honoured to have some great experiences prior to that as well. I had the opportunity to serve as a Farrier Coordinator for the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games™, and I’ve been one of the Official Farriers for the Kentucky Three Day Event for the past 10 years.”