Martin Kenny was born in Tulsa Oklahoma. His first introduction to horses came at age 10 when
an American Indian boy saddled him up on a young horse only to discover it was an unbroke bronco. Having survived the boys
will be boys prank, it was to become the start of a lifelong passion and relationship with horses and a quest to look, learn
and assist these magnificent creatures. He started hot walking running quarter horses at the age of 11.
At the age of 14 his family relocated to NE Ohio, where he continued to work on horse farms and from that met his
future wife, Diane.
In 1973, Martin moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania (PA) where he began his
shoeing career. He has shod horses for members of the Olympic lists in many disciplines for as far back as 1976 and recalling
"I was excited that I was asked to go to the Olympics in Russia in 1980; but then we boycotted those games,
so I never went. Not for bad luck I wouldn't have any luck." he says with a chuckle.
In 1994 he relocated to NC after flying to the warmer climate to shoe 2 horses there every month for over 10
years. Not only did he escape the winter weather of Pennsylvania, but it also provided him with a
place where he could access a major airport easily, as his work regularly takes him to numerous states.
He considers himself very fortunate to have worked with and been mentored with key individuals that encouraged
and shaped his understanding of the horse in many areas. Some of these individuals included Dr. Edward Mersky, of Lancaster
County, PA; Dr. Bill Moyer, (headed up the Sports Medicine Department at New Bolton, Dean at Texas A&M and currently President
of the AAEP). He worked with and shod for Dr. Barb Forney of Brood Mare Associates in SE Pennsylvania, as well as Dr. Midge
Leach and Dr. Jim Orsini at New Bolton Center, among others on staff there. Martin considers these opportunities a blessing
in his life as well as the opportunity to have had strong working relationships with most of the area’s private practice
Martin also mentored with farriers such as the late Bob Skradzio Sr., of Ambler
PA. as well as Bruce Daniels of New Jersey, among many others. He was president of the Pennsylvania Guild of Professional
Horse shoers for many years, until his move to North Carolina. Being in that position, allowed him to glean from many of the
top farriers from around the world, while he would host them at his home during their travels. He states that one of
his best working relationships was with Rob Sigafoos, (who was then resident farrier at New Bolton Center); they often
swapped ideas as well as clients-working on each others’ difficult horse cases.
forged every one of the horse-shoes he used until 1984, when he discovered shoes that were being imported from Holland
that became part of his inventory. From that earlier experience, he was able to compete and win numerous awards at many
of the farrier contests held on the east coast. He also ran a farrier school from 1982 through 1986, which specialized
in assisting practicing farriers to better themselves. These professionals traveled from as far away as Australia to move
their career to the next level.
In 1990, he stopped competing, feeling that the forging competitions
were keeping him from focusing on what was truly important.
His new focus being the horse’s
hoof, not iron work!
In 2004 he finally married that young girl he had met
back in NE Ohio. He laughs when he recalls Diane tell him, "When I told mom we were getting back together, she said
'You mean that tall skinny kid?' I told her, well, he's still tall, but not skinny anymore!" Martin often says, "Great
things come to those who are patient, and my marriage to Diane is proof of that!"
Kenny holds a Journeyman Level Farrier Certification from both the American Farriers Association (CJF). He is proud
of the fact that he passed the AFA certification program with a 98% score at a time when the exam was in essay format (not
multiple choice as it is today). Martin holds one of the oldest membership numbers in the AFA #178.
Kenny is also a member of the American Association of Professional Farriers (APF)
Among his numerous
accomplishments; he sat on the Board of Directors of the AFA, served as committee member to develop today’s present-day
educator’s division, and was instrumental in developing the live clinic formats that support AFA members today with
one-on-one expert assistance. He is currently Vice-President of The Guild of Professional Farriers.
career, Martin has attended hundreds of clinics and conventions and has lectured at numerous venues, including the International
Hoof Care Summit in 2006 and 2008. He currently assists farriers on a one-on-one basis to help them better understand the
mechanics of the hoof capsule under impact, load, and finally recoil. The farriers he has assisted, locally and internationally,
have found profound improvements in the feet of the horses under their care.