Travis Burns, farrier at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, recently served as an official farrier at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky.

The World Equestrian Games are held every four years, comprised of the world championships for eight equestrian sports. Burns was chosen to participate after being selected by the American Farriers Association (AFA).

The selection process included a rigorous application to ensure that the farriers were qualified and capable of maintaining the hooves of the world-class horses participating in the international event.

At the World Equestrian Games, Burns was part of an onsite team that provided services to the world’s best eventing riders. He also spent time promoting the AFA to the public while educating them on the duties of a farrier.

During the games, he had the opportunity to work with farriers from all over the world. In observing and communicating with other farriers, Burns said he experienced differences in shoeing strategies and learned new techniques. “It really pushed me to become a better farrier every day,” he said.

“It was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he added.

Burns began working at the veterinary college last February. Dr. David R. Hodgson, department head of large animal clinical sciences, said, “It has been an honor having Travis join us as the inaugural farrier for our podiatry service. His unique skill set was highlighted by him being chosen for the prestigious position as an onsite farrier for the World Equestrian Games.”

Burns holds a number of responsibilities at the college, one of which is providing services to clients with a need for specialized farriery in a therapeutic situation. Burns assists with teaching in both clinical situations as well as in the classroom. He also serves as a resource and ambassador on behalf of the college for other regional farriers.

Burns previously served as an associate farrier at Forging Ahead, an elite multi-farrier practice in Northern Virginia. Additionally, he has achieved Certified Journeyman Farrier certification by the American Farriers Association, the highest level of certification granted by the organization.

Written by Rachel McDonnell of Virginia Beach, Va., a graduate student in the Department of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.
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