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Lillian Kahl 2018

The Art of Farriery recently came into my life, and since, I’ve held a sense of inspiration and purpose that I have never felt before. I grew up mucking stalls and feeding horses in exchange for riding time, but as I got older my studies took me away from the barn. I’m now 28 and I have finally found my way back into the horse world—or better stated, the “under the horse” world. Since graduating high school I’ve traveled the country a few times around, trained as an arborist for many years, attained a degree in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of Maryland, worked as a hiking guide in Maui then hiked the Appalachian Trail, and fit all sorts of odd-jobs in between. Six months ago I began riding along with a few farriers in my hometown. While with them I pulled shoes and lightly trimmed feet, I clinched and finished feet, I kept the workspace clean, and I set-up and broke-down their equipment. Within the first few days of training with them I was hooked, and it was only a matter of weeks before I was enrolled at Heartland Horseshoeing School in Missouri. Class started on February 4, 2019—I will be here for a total of 18 weeks. I preceded the 16 week program that I am currently involved in with a two week blacksmithing course. Each day here has challenged and strengthened me in ways I could never have expected. We spend our days out trimming and shoeing horses and our evenings are spent in the forge building shoes and tools. I am continuously learning and at the same time realizing how much I have yet to know. As I write this my hands are swollen and blistered, my body aches, I hear anvils ringing in the shop, and my mind is drifting to the feet of the Paint and Blue Roan that I worked on earlier today. This experience has been full of challenges, insecurities, and pain, and yet, I am so proud of what I am accomplishing. There is truly no place else in the world I’d wish to be. Upon my graduation in June 2019, I plan to return to Maryland and begin an apprenticeship. I expect to get paid about $50 a day as a new apprentice—a meager but necessary wage to gain experience and build my clientele. During that time I am required to pay off the $15,500 loan I received for tuition while also keeping up with living expenses and the cost of additional tools/supplies (thus far, I have spent approximately $2,500 on tools). That being said, I am certainly foreseeing financial stress during my first few years following school. The Jamison Albright Foundation Scholarship would be a great catalyst to my career, it would lessen my financial load and give me more opportunity to forge my way into the world of horseshoeing. My life’s journey up to this point has been driven by my yearning to find an occupation that offers a lifestyle suitable to my attributes and intentions, and I have finally found that in horseshoeing! I look forward to a life where I’m working with my hands, interacting with horses and horse-people daily, running my own business, and observing, figuring, creating, and healing. I plan to continue my education post graduation through clinics, conventions, and associations; and my hope is to become a Certified Journeyman Farrier with a therapeutic endorsement. I am inspired by the enthusiasm that my mentors have for this trade, and like them, I truly enjoy this work and find great purpose in it’s challenges. I am thankful to be involved in a community of supportive farriers, and I am passionate about continuing to better myself in order to better the lives of horses and horse-owners. This craft is precise, profound, and an all around good fit for me! I am deeply grateful and committed to becoming the best farrier I can be, forever learning and helping. Lillian Kahl Westminster, MD

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