Cornell University Resident Farrier Michael Wildenstein , CJF, FWCF (Hons) has officially been promoted to the position of Adjunct Associate Professor of Farrier Medicine and Surgery in The Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, effective May 15, 2007.
The university is also announcing plans to enlarge the farrier shop and to expand the student farrier enrollment to four per semester. This includes farrier students and veterinarians who wish to participate in the popular podiatry internship at Cornell with Mike.
In 2008, Cornell will also be hiring another farrier to work with Mike for six months of the year, and Mike will be encouraged to lecture and teach outside of Cornell.
Michael Wildenstein has served as Cornell’s resident farrier for more than 15 years. His self-designed career goals culminated with the award of a Fellowship with Honors from the Worshipful Company of Farriers in England. Only three other farriers in the world can boast of that degree; the fellowship alone is akin to a PhD in farrier science and is considered the most difficult exam and thesis in the world.
Along the way, Wildenstein authored a book, hosted conferences, lectured around the world, was inducted into the horseshoers’ hall of fame?all while somehow managing to train farriers in the farrier school and tend to all the hoof-related support needs of the vet school. He also serves as a consulting editor to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. One of his H&L articles, on deep sulcus thrush, was the first place award winner in the category of “horse care education” in the American Horse Publications awards in 2006.
In Cornell’s early years, farrier Henry Asmus was assistant professor of surgery at the vet school. Asmus made a mission of educating rural blacksmiths and farmers and by authoring papers filled with progressive and innovative solutions to hoof problems. He established the farrier school at Cornell, which is still operating and is the oldest school in the USA, and wrote pamphlets for the US Government on shoeing and farm horse care. Until the 1930s, Cornell vet students were required to study farriery and one of their “lab” hours was time spent working in the forge with Professor Asmus.
Later farrier instructors held staff positions and upheld the school’s reputation for excellence. Cornell has always educated farriers from within the vet school and has offered an annual two-day conference open to all farriers for the past 24 years.
With Asmus as a predecessor, Mike Wildenstein’s promotion at Cornell is not unprecedented in the rich historical annals of the esteemed university. But in our changing times, when farriers are working so hard to contribute to the welfare of horses, the fact that one university is reopening the faculty to a farrier is a meaningful milestone to thousands of farriers who spend their days crouched under horses, studying the hooves in their hands with equal intensity to any scholar in a laboratory.
As an added boost, Mike’s promotion received a vote of confidence from the polling of the entire Cornell vet school faculty.
Photo courtesy of Cornell University.