I was first introduced to the world of horses at the age of 15 when I got a job at Woodbine Racetrack filling pop machines. Fascinated by the horses and racing, I made my way over the backside and started from the bottom, first as a hotwalker, then a groom and eventually learning to gallop. When I finished high school I attended the Northern Racing College in Doncaster, England.
England gave me a unique perspective of racing that I never experienced in North America. After returning home from England I began galloping full time at Woodbine Racetrack with hopes of being a jockey. I then was introduced to the world of Quarter Horse racing at Ajax Downs and began riding races there. During my time with the Quarter Horses I was fortunate enough to have a farm with a number of horses where I learned about breeding, foaling and much more.
With my fair share of both successes and crashes, I still wanted to ride Thoroughbreds at Woodbine and eventually got my license there. Riding at both Woodbine and Fort Erie, I was able to finish my apprenticeship as a jockey with a satisfactory amount of success. On a summer day riding in a Quarter Horse stake, my mount veered off the racetrack and threw me to the ground resulting in a severely shattered humerus, major surgery, several screws, a rod, and lots of staples. Although I was told I would lose mobility in my hand due to nerve damage, I was fortunate enough to get back full sensation and motion.
At that point I was not enjoying the racing, but rather only galloping, and I made the decision to retire from race riding. After years of dieting and injuries the cons outweighed the pros.
I decided to stay in the horse industry and was accepted into Cornell University’s Farrier Program. Being inside Cornell’s animal hospital gave me insight into so many things that it changed my life forever. Not only did I learn a tremendous amount about equine conformation, locomotion and anatomy, I gained forging experience and much more. I also was fortunate to work several special projects including a prosthetic limb for a goat and a brace for a foal with severely contracted tendons.
Horseshoeing is not just a job for me, it’s a passion. I spend a great deal of time every year on continuing education. I travel to several clinics every year both local and abroad. I truly believe mastering this trade is a life long journey.