Training Needed to Become a Farrier
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Training Needed to Become a Farrier

How to become a farrier. What does a farrier do? What training and education is needed to become a farrier? How often do horses need their hooves trimmed? What supplies and tools does a farrier need? How long does it take to become a farrier? Learn more about becoming a farrier and areas that a farrier might want to specialize in.

A farrier is not just the person who shoes horses, he, or she, also trims their hooves, and is sometimes called upon to diagnose, or correct, lameness issues. Horses may need their hooves trimmed every 6 to 8 weeks, slightly less often in the winter, possibly more often if attending shows. As such a farrier needs to have hundreds of clients in order to have this job as a full time career.

While some farriers claim to be “self taught” it is far better to learn this skill at a proper farrier college. At college you not only learn how to trim the hoof and put on shoes, you learn about corrective trimming to help improve a horse's gait, or lameness concerns. You learn how to be safe while standing under, or near, a horse, and some methods to restrain a difficult horse.

One of the biggest new areas of demand is for farriers to trim miniature horses or donkeys. Some farriers refuse to do either. Miniature horses have the problem of being short with small hooves, and donkeys have hooves that are shaped differently. Other areas that require special knowledge is in regards to gaited horses, race horses, and draft horses. By specializing in at least one of these areas, a farrier can attract additional business on top of his, or her, normal clientèle.

Training Required

There are many agricultural colleges that offer farrier training, in many cases this a 3 month program. Some colleges also offer shorter courses that focus on how to trim a hoof without getting into shoeing.

While high school education is not always a requirement it is a good idea to have some “horse skills” already. Because of safety this is not a job for a person who loves horses but has not really been around them much.

One of the things that might come as a shock is that in the beginning you do not get straight to trimming live horses, of course there is classroom work involved too, but when you do trim your first hoof it is only attached to the lower leg of a slaughtered horse. This is for several reasons, obviously if you do not know what you are doing you could cause lameness in a real horse, and as you will probably take a long time, you could create a horse that becomes impatient with standing. As such it is best to get several of these practice hooves trimmed before moving on to a real, live, horse.

Once you progress to trimming a real horse you will get more practical experience so when you go out into the real world you will be confident.

©by author - foals usually get their first trim at 5-6 months of age, it is good for them to learn young. 

Supplies Needed for being a Farrier

  • Farrier Apron
  • Farrier Knife – they come for right handed, or left handed people
  • Hoof Nippers
  • Rasp
  • Farrier Nail Hammer
  • Nail Clinchers and Clinching block
  • Horseshoe Nails
  • Horseshoes – can be bought or made
  • Horseshoe Pullers
  • Farriers Forge – for custom making shoes
  • Anvil – for shaping horseshoes
  • Blacksmith Hammer – for shaping shoes
  • Hoof Stand

Note: Farrier work is not suited for people with bad backs, there is a lot of bending over. You also require a reliable vehicle as you will be driving from place to place. A good farrier is also patient and kind with the horses, realizing that some have had bad experiences and may be more difficult to work with, and some owners simply have not done their work on training a horse to stand for the farrier.

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Comments (3)
Ranked #21 in Unusual Careers

A good read; with a good sense of presentation. In my country, this is not a career path many would want to pursue though it does sound interesting. I find horses interesting!

Great information on this topic!

I learned a new word today lol, great article