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Winner of Summit Achievement Award Stresses Volunteerism

In 2008, the Delta Mustad Hoofcare Center and American Farriers Journal established the Summit Achievement Award to recognize the dedication and volunteer efforts of hoof-care professionals. This annual award celebrates an outstanding footcare professional who volunteers his or her hoof-care knowledge, services and time to the equine community.

The first recipient of this award is Bob Smith. Smith was presented with the award Feb. 4, 2009, at the International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Smith is the owner and operator of the Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School in Plymouth, Calif. For nearly 35 years, Bob has worked closely in providing needed hoof-care at no expense to a number of equine groups.

As an example, the Grace Foundation in El Dorado Hills handles a large number of abused and neglected horses taken in by Northern California animal control agencies. This group rehabilitates horses for adoption, for use in equine-assisted therapy programs with at-risk youths and children with disabilities and also for use in educational programs at local schools.

Although the Grace Foundation has provided care for these horses for many years, finding a farrier that could provide a wide variety of hoof care for over 100 horses that often suffer from a wide variety of severe hoof conditions had proven difficult.

That is until Smith stepped forward. Seeing this need, the school owner dedicated himself, his staff and students to the foundation for a full day each week at no charge.

The financial impact of Smith’s volunteer services to the foundation has been immense. As a result, the foundation is able to maintain an extremely high standard of hoof care for horses at essentially no cost. Besides caring for the horses, he has been able to provide eager farrier students with experiences in dealing with normal, difficult and unique hoof conditions.

Michael Russell, the veterinarian for the Grace Foundation, believes Smith leads his students by example. “The cooperative environment that Bob creates when working with me on our farrier days is a great model for his students that veterinarians and farriers need to be on the same team, sharing our experiences and expertise, which will further enhance the future of quality hoof care for equines,” says Russell. “I cannot think of a more deserving recipient of the Summit Achievement Award.”

Over the years, Smith has also handled the trimming and shoeing work for several groups that serve handicapped children and the Riding Designed for Education program. For more than a dozen years, Bob shod an average of 16 horses every 8 weeks free of charge for this group. He has also conducted footcare lectures with the North American Riding for the Handicapped program and has also presented full-day lectures on equine neglect and abuse for local animal control officers.

Going along with this plaque is a check for $2,000 in recognition of Smith’s outstanding volunteer efforts and service to the equine community. The Grace Foundation will also receive a plaque recognizing Smith’s award.

“I’m truly humbled by this award,” says Smith. “All I can say is that we all should go out there and give back to our communities because there is a great need for volunteers in a variety of programs. We, as farriers, have a privileged life, something that most people in the country don’t have. It is important that we give to those doing work with handicapped children or rescue horses as much as we humanly can.”

American Farriers Journal and the Delta Mustad Hoofcare Center received 21 nominations for this award. Nominees for next year’s award, to be announced at the 2010 International Hoof-Care Summit, are being accepted. To nominate a worthy hoof-care professional, follow the instructions at http://www.americanfarriers.com/ff/givingback. The deadline to nominate someone is Nov. 1, 2009.


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