The Forging Ahead Internship Program

Saturday, January 9, 2010

For the latest information on the internship program please go to . . .

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Forging Ahead Group

Forging Ahead is a unique group of farriers based in Round Hill Virginia; which is a town located in the heart of Virginia’s horse country. The company has been in existence since 1999 when senior farriers Paul Goodness and Randy Pawlak decided that creating a group dynamic would prove beneficial to both themselves and their clients. Forging Ahead is a unique business model in that most farriers work independently. Since its inception the group has grown to include four additonal working members: Matt Hatcher, Scott Sellers, Amy Sidwar, and Zeb Foltz.

Paul Goodness, most senior farrier in the group, got his start shoeing horses for his family’s business and quickly began an apprenticeship in 1973. In 1976 he attended a formal six month farrier school near Syracuse NY and in 1981 was accepted to the farrier internship program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Upon completion of this program he moved to Virginia and started to build a sport horse and corrective shoeing practice. He traveled to farms until he was finally able to create a shop where clients began to ship-in for his service. Over the years “the shop” has attracted farriers from all over the country and is an excellent center for sharing ideas. Rounding out his resume Paul served as the United States Equestrian Team farrier between 1992 and 1996 during which time he had the distinct pleasure of participating in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Randy Pawlak grew up working and riding hunters and jumpers on the A circuit. This history with horses led him to meet Paul in the mid 90’s with whom he began his apprenticeship. It did not take Randy long to realize that his passion for shoeing was with the 3-day eventers and show jumpers. He works intimately with the competitors and has traveled extensively. He is often calling from airports between Georgia or Texas Ocala or West Palm Beach FL. His shoeing career has taken him to Rolex in Kentucky, the Pan Am Games, Fair Hill, Spruce Meadows in Canada, The World Games and Burley in England. When sticking close to home Randy works out of the Piedmont Equine Clinic and Virginia Equine imaging in Middleburg VA.

Matt Hatcher began his career working with horses in Colorado at a ranch organizing pack trips through the Rocky Mountains. After completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture with a focus in Equine Science at the University of Delaware he moved to Kentucky and submersed himself in the thoroughbred industry. He worked at race tracks and on breeding farms and eventually found his way to Virginia. Today, his focus with the group stays with racing, although he does shoes across all disciplines.

Scott Sellers’ background is primarily with hunters and jumpers, but his focus switched to the world of 3-day eventing during his apprenticeship as is now represented in his client base. He received his degree in stable and farm management in 1993 from Cassanovia College in NY and has been around horses throughout his life. Scott also travels throughout the winter months to his client’s farms in the South and was a key player at the 2007 Rolex event in Kentucky.

Amy Sidwar grew up riding in local shows and foxhunting in the same area where Forging Ahead is located. She originally started working part time with Forging Ahead in 1999 just after graduating with a Bachelor’s of Arts in English from George Mason University. In 2002, she received her certification in Equine Sports Massage Therapy and soon after certified in canine massage. Throughout her working career she has almost entirely worked in Veterinary practices and is fascinated with laminitis patients and other horses in need of major corrective shoeing. After a brief sabbatical, she signed on full time with the group in 2004 and has started to build a local client base.

Zeb Foltz , the newest member to the group, arrived from Kentucky where he had been working with other farriers on the Saddlebred and Morgan show circuit. He graduated from the Kentucky Horseshoeing School in 2004 and has strong forging skills. He spends his limited spare time working on his father’s farm and enjoys trail riding. He is realizing that he also enjoys the 3-day event horses and show-jumpers and plans to build his book around these riders.

Forging Ahead is a unique and varied group of individuals. An internship in this setting is sure to leave you with new perspectives and insights.

A Day to Day look at the Program

Your internship with Forging Ahead will consist of a varied schedule week to week. Since we have 6 working farriers, your days will be split between these individuals. Sometimes this will mean working in our shop where clients trailer in for hoof services and other days may take you to the Virginia Polytechnic Equine Medical Center (EMC) located in Leesburg, Virginia. EMC is the teaching hospital associated with the Virginia Tech Veterinary School and Forging Ahead has been chosen as the resident farriers for this facility. A day at the hospital involves unique hoof pathologies and close work with Veterinarians and hospital staff members.

In addition, the group will still travel to various farms for our clients. Expect to pull shoes, finish feet, fabricate shoes, and review radiographs on a regular basis. The company works closely with all of the local Veterinarians creating a dynamic environment where digital x-rays help us all to quickly see what is or isn’t working. Sometimes this means working at the various Equine Clinics and sometimes it requires us to meet Vets at client farms to assess issues and create plans together.

Whatever you will be doing it is guaranteed to be continually changing and always interesting. We often have farriers come to our shop and shadow for the day -- many say they see more in one day than they have seen in the past 4 years. The shear volume of horses we treat is an incredible learning tool. In addition, since many of our clients are 3-day event riders our farriers are required to make quick changes when something isn’t working. You will learn a unique bag of tricks for helping horses feel better and work better . . . fast! These tricks will no doubt help your clients and strengthen your practice when your internship ends.

While at Forging Ahead you will work with some of the world’s top horses and riders. We currently have horses to shoe for the United States Equestrian Team (USET), Canadian Equestrian Team (CET), and New Zealand Equestrian Team (NZET). In addition, we work with numerous Grand Prix level Dressage horses, Grand Prix Show Jumpers, and of course the world’s most loved horses: the backyard horses! This internship will teach you tricks for each discipline, business management skills, and will help you create the best practice you can have – we look forward to hearing from you soon.




Date of Birth:

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Contact Information:

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Cell Phone:______________________________________________________________

Work Phone:_____________________________________________________________

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Briefly explain your horse experience. (Include specific farms you have worked at and contact numbers if applicable.)


Have you ever been convicted of a felony? Yes [ ] No [ ] If yes, please explain.

Do you have a valid driver’s license? Yes [ ] No [ ]
Has your driver’s license ever been revoked or suspended? Yes [ ] No [ ] If yes, please explain.

Do you have US residency? Yes [ ] No [ ] If not, is there any reason why you cannot secure a legal work permit?



Name and Address:
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Degree Received:

If no Degree Received, how many years did you attend?


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*If you cannot fit all of your education on this form, please include additional information on a separate sheet of paper and attach to back of application.


Name, Address, and Phone Number:
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Please use the following section to tell us a little bit about yourself. Why do you want to continue with this profession? What is your shoeing philosophy? Etcetera. If you need more space, or would like to simply type and attach to the back of the application please feel free to do so.