Farrier Summary Career Profile

How do I become a farrier?

READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.

RESEARCH: ​Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.

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UPDATED:

4 January 2024

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What is a Farrier?

A farrier is a skilled professional who specialises in the care of horses’ hooves. Farriers are trained to trim and balance hooves, as well as to shoe horses when necessary. Horseshoes are metal devices that are attached to the bottom of a horse’s hoof to protect the hoof from wear and provide traction.

horse 1

Alternative Names

While “farrier” is the most common term for a professional who specializes in horse hoof care, there are a few alternative names that may be used regionally or colloquially. Some of these include:

  • Blacksmith
  • Horseshoer
  • Equine Podiatrist

Career Categories

The Farrier career can be found in the following career categories:

  • Animal Care
  • Business
  • Livestock & Farm Management

What does a Farrier do?

With which Groups of animals does a Farrier work with?

Farm Animals Icon OZT
Farm Animals

A farrier primarily works with horses, providing hoof care and addressing issues related to the hooves and lower limbs. The farrier’s expertise is essential for maintaining the health and soundness of horses. While horses are the primary focus, farriers may occasionally work with other equines or hoofed animals, depending on their specialization and the specific needs of the region. The main animals a farrier may work with include:

Horses:

Farriers are most commonly associated with working on horses. They trim and balance hooves, apply horseshoes, and address hoof-related issues to ensure the overall well-being and performance of the horse.

Ponies:

Similar to horses, ponies require regular hoof care, trimming, and, if necessary, shoeing to maintain soundness and comfort.

Donkeys and Mules:

These equines also benefit from the services of a farrier. Farriers may trim and shoe the hooves of donkeys and mules, addressing any specific needs or issues these animals may have.

Draft Horses:

Farriers may work with large draft horses, adjusting their hoof care to accommodate the additional weight and size of these powerful animals.

Miniature Horses:

Even smaller equines, such as miniature horses, may require the attention of a farrier to ensure proper hoof health and prevent lameness issues.

Zebras (in some cases):

In certain regions or situations, farriers may work with exotic equids like zebras, addressing their hoof care needs.

What is the level of Interaction with the Animals?

With whom does a Farrier work?

A farrier works with horses and their owners or handlers to provide specialised care for the hooves and lower limbs of horses. Here are the key individuals and entities with whom a farrier collaborates:

Horse Owners:

Farriers work closely with horse owners to understand the specific needs of each horse. They discuss the horse’s activities, any health issues, and the type of work the horse is involved in to tailor hoof care accordingly.

Veterinarians:

Collaboration with veterinarians is essential, especially when dealing with hoof diseases, lameness issues, or other medical conditions affecting the horse’s lower limbs. Farriers and veterinarians often work together to develop comprehensive care plans.

Trainers and Equestrians:

Farriers may collaborate with trainers and equestrians to understand the performance and training demands placed on the horse. This information helps in customising the type of shoeing or trimming needed for optimal performance.

Equine Professionals:

Farriers may work alongside other equine professionals, such as equine dentists, chiropractors, and physical therapists, to ensure holistic health care for the horse.

Stable Managers and Barn Staff:

Communication with stable managers and barn staff is crucial for scheduling and coordinating hoof care appointments. Farriers often visit stables to provide services to multiple horses in one location.

Farrier Assistants or Apprentices:

Experienced farriers may have assistants or apprentices who help with various tasks, such as holding the horse during shoeing, preparing tools, and performing routine maintenance.

Farrier Associations:

Farriers may be members of professional associations like the American Farrier’s Association (AFA) or similar organisations in other regions. These associations provide a platform for networking, continuing education, and staying updated on industry standards.

Suppliers and Manufacturers:

Farriers work with suppliers and manufacturers of horseshoes, nails, and other farriery tools and equipment. They may consult with these professionals to choose the appropriate materials for different horses and conditions.

Horse Industry Professionals:

In some cases, farriers may collaborate with professionals in the broader horse industry, such as event organisers, horse show managers, or racehorse trainers, to ensure that horses are properly prepared for specific events.

Effective communication and collaboration with these individuals and entities are crucial for a farrier to provide comprehensive and tailored hoof care for horses. Regular communication with horse owners and other professionals involved in the horse’s well-being ensures that the horse’s health and performance are optimized.

What does a Farrier focus on?

Farriers use a variety of tools, such as rasps and nippers, to trim and shape a horse’s hooves. They also adjust, reshape, and apply horseshoes to the hooves if required. Farriers play a crucial role in maintaining the overall health and soundness of horses by ensuring proper hoof care.

What are the daily tasks of a Farrier?

The daily tasks of a farrier can vary based on factors such as the number of clients, the types of horses they work with, and the specific needs of individual horses. However, common daily tasks for a farrier typically include:

Hoof Trimming:

Farriers trim the hooves of horses to maintain proper balance and prevent issues such as uneven wear, lameness, or other hoof-related problems.

Shoeing Horses:

When necessary, farriers fit horses with horseshoes to protect the hooves and provide additional support. They may also shape the shoes to suit the horse’s specific needs.

Assessing Hoof Health:

Farriers regularly assess the overall health of the horse’s hooves, looking for signs of diseases, infections, or abnormalities. They address any issues detected during the assessment.

Corrective Work:

Farriers may be involved in corrective shoeing or trimming to address issues such as conformational abnormalities, imbalances, or gait problems in horses.

Consultations with Horse Owners:

Communicating with horse owners is a significant part of a farrier’s daily routine. They discuss the horse’s health, performance, and any specific concerns or instructions provided by the owner.

Record Keeping:

Farriers maintain records of each horse’s hoof condition, shoeing schedule, and any specific instructions or issues discussed with the horse owner. This helps track the horse’s progress over time.

Working with Veterinarians:

Collaboration with veterinarians is common, especially when addressing lameness issues, injuries, or other medical conditions affecting the horse’s lower limbs.

Tool Maintenance:

Farriers regularly maintain and clean their tools to ensure they are in good working condition. This includes sharpening knives and rasps and keeping other equipment well-maintained.

Travelling to Clients:

Many farriers work as mobile practitioners, travelling to different locations to provide services. This involves planning a schedule, coordinating appointments, and managing travel time.

Client Education:

Farriers often educate horse owners about proper hoof care, including preventive measures and signs of potential issues. This helps owners understand their role in maintaining their horse’s hoof health.

Continuing Education:

Staying updated on the latest developments in farriery is crucial. Farriers may dedicate time to reading industry publications, attending workshops, and pursuing continuing education to enhance their skills.

Networking:

Building and maintaining professional relationships with other farriers, veterinarians, and equine professionals is important for collaboration and staying informed about industry trends.

While the specific tasks may vary, these activities collectively contribute to the overall health and well-being of the horses under a farrier’s care. The ability to work with different horses and adapt to various situations is a key aspect of the farrier’s role.

With what kind of tools and technology (if any) does a Farrier work?

Farriers utilise a variety of specialised tools and equipment to perform hoof care, trimming, and shoeing tasks effectively. While traditional techniques are still prevalent in farriery, modern technology has also introduced innovations to improve efficiency and precision. Here are some common tools and technologies used by farriers:

Traditional Tools:

Hoof Nippers:

Used for trimming excess hoof growth and shaping the hoof.

Hoof Knife:

A sharp knife used to remove loose or overgrown sole, frog, and hoof wall.

Rasp:

A file-like tool used to smooth and shape the hoof after trimming.

Hammer:

Used to drive nails into horseshoes and adjust the fit of the shoe.

Anvil:

A heavy block of metal used for shaping and bending horseshoes.

Tongs:

Used for holding and manipulating hot horseshoes during forging.

Clinchers:

Used to bend and secure the ends of nails after they are driven through the hoof wall.

Modern Tools and Equipment:

Electric Hoof Grinder:

A powered tool used for trimming and shaping hooves, particularly useful for removing excess hoof material quickly.

Hoof Stand:

A stand that supports the horse’s hoof at a comfortable height for the farrier, allowing for easier and safer trimming and shoeing.

Hoof Jack:

Similar to a hoof stand, the hoof jack supports the hoof off the ground, providing stability and convenience during hoof care procedures.

Thermal Imaging Camera:

Some farriers use thermal imaging cameras to detect variations in hoof temperature, which can indicate inflammation or potential hoof problems.

Digital Hoof Gauges:

Electronic devices used for measuring hoof angles and dimensions with precision.

Glue-on Shoes and Adhesives:

Farriers may use glue-on shoes and adhesives as alternatives to traditional nail-on shoes, especially for horses with hoof wall or lameness issues.

Hoof Boots:

Temporary boots that can be fitted over the hoof to protect it or provide support, particularly useful for horses with hoof injuries or during rehabilitation.

Farrier Software:

Some farriers use specialized software for managing client records, scheduling appointments, and tracking inventory.

Forge and Blacksmithing Equipment (for handmade shoes):

Coal or Propane Forge:

Used for heating metal to a malleable temperature for shaping horseshoes.

Anvil and Forge Tools:

Various tools such as tongs, hammers, and punches used in the process of forging and shaping horseshoes.

Welder:

Used for welding custom shoes or making modifications to pre-made shoes.

Farriers often customize their toolkits based on personal preference, the specific needs of their clients and horses, and the nature of the work they perform. Additionally, ongoing advancements in technology and materials continue to influence the tools and equipment used in farriery, with an emphasis on improving efficiency, precision, and the well-being of the horse.

The Working Environment of a Farrier

Where does a Farrier work?

A farrier’s working environment can vary, as they often travel to different locations to provide services for their clients. Here’s an overview of the indoor and outdoor working environments and places of employment for a farrier:

Outdoor Working Environments:

Stables and Barns:

Farriers frequently work in outdoor settings at stables and barns where horses are housed. This is a common location for routine hoof care, shoeing, and assessments.

Paddocks and Pastures:

Some horses may be kept in paddocks or pastures. Farriers may work in these outdoor areas, especially if clients prefer to have their horses’ hooves tended to in their natural environment.

Training Facilities:

Farriers may visit training facilities where horses undergo exercise routines. This includes areas like riding arenas and training pens.

Racetracks:

Farriers who specialise in working with racehorses may provide services at racetracks, working in outdoor settings such as stable areas and training tracks.

Trail Riding Centres:

Horses used for trail riding and recreational purposes may be located at facilities catering to these activities. Farriers may work in outdoor spaces within these centres.

Indoor Working Environments:

Farrier Forges or Workshops:

Farriers may have indoor spaces equipped with forges and tools for tasks such as shaping and modifying horseshoes. This is where they can prepare custom shoes based on individual horse needs.

Mobile Farriery Units:

Some farriers operate mobile units that are essentially workshops on wheels. These units are equipped with tools and equipment, allowing farriers to provide services at the client’s location.

Places of Employment:

Self-Employment:

Many farmers are self-employed and operate their own businesses. They manage their schedules, travel to clients’ locations, and handle administrative tasks related to running a business.

Farrier Shops:

In some cases, farriers may work in established farrier shops or businesses. These shops may have designated indoor spaces for forging and other tasks.

Veterinary Clinics:

Some farriers collaborate with veterinary clinics, providing specialised hoof care services in conjunction with veterinarians, particularly in cases involving lameness or hoof-related health issues.

Equine Events and Competitions:

Farriers may be hired to provide services at equine events, competitions, or shows. This can involve working outdoors in event stables or designated areas.

Educational Institutions:

Experienced farriers may work as instructors in educational institutions that offer farrier training programmes. This could involve both indoor and outdoor teaching environments.

Overall, a farrier’s work is a combination of indoor tasks, such as forging and tool maintenance, and outdoor tasks, including hoof care and shoeing in various locations. The ability to adapt to different environments and work with a variety of horses is a key aspect of the profession.

What is the average annual salary of a Farrier?

Salaries for farriers can vary widely depending on factors such as experience, location, demand for farrier services, and the overall economic conditions of each country or region. Additionally, some farriers are self-employed, and their income may be influenced by the number of clients they serve.

Please note that the figures provided are approximate and based on general trends. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, it’s recommended to consult local salary surveys, government labour statistics, or professional farrier associations in each specific country or region.

North America:

USA: The average annual salary for a farrier in the United States can range from $30,000 to $60,000 or more, depending on factors such as location and experience.

Canada: In Canada, farrier salaries can vary by province. On average, farriers may earn between CAD 40,000 to CAD 70,000 per year.

Europe:

UK: Farrier salaries in the United Kingdom can range from £18,000 to £35,000 or more annually, with variations based on experience and geographic location.

Oceania:
Australia: Farriers in Australia may earn an average annual salary ranging from AUD 40,000 to AUD 70,000 or more, depending on factors like experience and location.

New Zealand: In New Zealand, farrier salaries typically range from NZD 40,000 to NZD 60,000 or more per year.

Africa:

Nigeria: Salary data for farriers in Nigeria may vary widely, and it’s essential to consider factors such as location and demand for services.

Kenya: In Kenya, farriers may earn an average annual salary ranging from KES 300,000 to KES 600,000 or more, depending on experience and location.

South Africa: Farriers in South Africa may earn an average annual salary of ZAR 100,000 to ZAR 300,000, with variations based on factors such as experience and location.

South America:

The average salary for farriers in South America can vary significantly by country and local economic conditions. It is advisable to consult local sources for accurate and current information.

Southeast Asia:

The average salary for farriers in Southeast Asia can vary widely by country. It is advisable to consult local sources for accurate and current information.

Keep in mind that these figures are general estimates, and actual salaries may differ based on individual circumstances and local market dynamics. Additionally, farriers who are self-employed may have income levels influenced by the number of clients they serve and the demand for their services in a particular area.

Can a Farrier be promoted?

Advancement in the field typically depends on work experience. Promotions to senior levels are available in all related careers. The levels of each promotion might differ from organisation to organisation, but generally they are the following:

Apprentice

This is the starting point for individuals entering the field.

Journeyman

Completed their formal education or apprenticeship and are capable of providing basic hoof care and shoeing services

Certified Farrier

Becoming a certified farrier involves passing written and practical exams that assess their knowledge and skill level

Master Farrier

Denote individuals who have reached a high level of skill, experience, and expertise in the field

What are the difficulties a Farrier faces?

Farriers face various challenges in their profession, ranging from physical demands and safety concerns to business-related issues. Here are some common difficulties that farriers may encounter:

Physical Demands:

  • Heavy Lifting: Farriers often need to lift heavy equipment and work in positions that can be physically demanding.
  • Repetitive Motion: The nature of hoof care work involves repetitive bending, kneeling, and squatting, which can lead to physical strain and fatigue.

Safety Risks:

  • Working with Horses: Horses can be unpredictable, and farriers face the risk of injury while handling and working on horses that may be uncooperative or in pain.
  • Handling Tools and Hot Shoes: Working with hot shoes and various tools poses a risk of burns and other injuries if not handled with care.

Weather Conditions:

  • Outdoor Work: Farriers often work outdoors, exposed to various weather conditions, including extreme temperatures, rain, snow, and mud. This can make the job challenging and uncomfortable.

Business Challenges:

  • Irregular Income: Self-employed farriers may face irregular income, especially if they have seasonal fluctuations in business or a variable client base.
  • Administrative Tasks: Managing the administrative aspects of a farrier business, such as scheduling, record-keeping, and client communication, can be time-consuming.

Time Management:

  • Scheduling: Coordinating appointments with clients, especially when working as a mobile farrier, requires effective time management and travel planning.
  • Client Expectations: Meeting the expectations of multiple clients within a set timeframe can be challenging, especially during busy seasons.

Continuing Education:

  • Staying Updated: Farriers need to stay informed about advancements in farriery, including new techniques, tools, and research. This requires a commitment to ongoing education.

Educating Clients:

  • Effectively communicating with horse owners and educating them about proper hoof care can be challenging, especially if clients have varying levels of understanding about farriery.

Physical Well-being:

  • Occupational Health: The physical demands of the job can take a toll on a farrier’s health, and it’s important to prioritise self-care and preventive measures to avoid injuries.

Equipment Maintenance:

  • Tool Maintenance: Keeping farriery tools in good condition requires regular maintenance, including sharpening and replacing worn-out equipment.

Professional Relationships:

  • Building a Reputation: Establishing a good reputation and building trust with clients and other equine professionals may take time and effort.

Despite these challenges, many farriers find the profession to be rewarding, and their dedication to the well-being of horses drives their commitment to overcoming difficulties in their work. Adapting to different situations and staying updated on industry best practices can help farriers navigate these challenges successfully.

Future growth and possibilities of the career

The prospects of future growth in this industry is 15%

The outlook for the farrier career market can be influenced by various factors, and projections may vary based on geographic location, economic conditions, and trends in the equine industry. Here are some general considerations that may influence the future of the farrier industry:

Factors Influencing the Farrier Career Market:

Equine Industry Growth:

The overall growth and health of the equine industry, including activities such as horse racing, equestrian sports, and recreational riding, can impact the demand for farrier services.

Technological Advances:

Advances in technology, including innovative hoof care tools and techniques, may influence the way farriers work. Continued education and adaptation to new technologies could enhance efficiency and the quality of service.

Focus on Equine Welfare:

There is an increasing emphasis on equine welfare and holistic horse care. Farriers who stay informed about best practices in hoof care, lameness prevention, and overall horse health may be in higher demand.

Specialisation and Certification:

Farriers who specialise in areas such as therapeutic shoeing, corrective work, or specific equine disciplines (e.g., racing, show jumping) may see increased demand. Certification in specialised areas may become more valuable.

Global Economic Conditions:

Economic conditions can impact horse ownership and, consequently, the demand for farrier services. Economic downturns may affect discretionary spending on activities involving horses.

Education and Training Programmes:

The availability and quality of farrier education and training programmes can influence the number of individuals entering the profession. An increase in well-trained farriers may contribute to the overall growth of the industry.

Regulatory Changes:

Changes in regulations related to animal welfare, farrier certifications, or industry standards can impact the profession. Staying compliant with evolving regulations may be a consideration for farriers.

Client Education and Awareness:

Increased awareness among horse owners about the importance of regular hoof care and preventive measures may contribute to a steady demand for farrier services.

Possibilities and Trends:

Technology Integration:

The integration of technology, such as digital imaging for hoof assessments or the use of 3D printing in customised shoeing, could become more prevalent.

Online Platforms and Marketing:

Farriers may increasingly use online platforms for marketing their services, scheduling appointments, and connecting with clients. Social media and digital marketing could play a role in reaching a broader audience.

Holistic Horse Care:

A trend towards holistic approaches to horse care may lead to an increased demand for farriers who collaborate with veterinarians, equine dentists, and other professionals to address overall horse health.

Environmental Considerations:

Farriers may explore more environmentally sustainable practices, including the use of eco-friendly materials for horseshoes.

Research and Development:

Ongoing research in farriery and related fields may lead to new insights and practices that could shape the future of the profession.

To obtain the most current and region-specific information about the farrier career market, it is advisable to consult industry reports, farrier associations, and relevant government agencies for the latest trends and projections in the specific geographic areas of interest.

Availability of Jobs

Good

Which Skills does a Farrier require?

The skills required for a career as a farrier can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship
Life Skills
40%

Career Skills

  • Animal handling and care techniques
  • Good metalwork skills
  • Basic customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
Career Skills
60%

Which Subjects must I have at School to help prepare for this Career?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

What will I need to Study to become a Farrier?

Minimum educational requirement

A high school diploma or its equivalent is typically the minimum educational requirement to pursue a career as a farrier.

Study focus?

Subjects for Further Study:

Farrier Training Program:

Enrol in a reputable farrier training programme or apprenticeship. These programmes provide hands-on training in hoof care, trimming, and shoeing techniques.

Anatomy and Physiology:

Further study in biology, particularly focusing on animal anatomy and physiology, will deepen your understanding of the structure and function of a horse’s hooves and limbs.

Veterinary Science or Animal Science:

Consider taking courses in veterinary science or animal science to gain a broader understanding of equine health, care, and management.

Metalwork or Blacksmithing:

Courses in metalwork or blacksmithing will provide skills in working with metal, which is essential for forging and shaping horseshoes.

Advanced Studies (if Necessary):

Advanced Farriery Courses:

Advanced courses in farriery may be available for those seeking in-depth knowledge and specialisation. Look for programmes that cover therapeutic shoeing, corrective work, or specialised areas like racehorse shoeing.

Equine Science or Podiatry:

Advanced studies in equine science or podiatry can provide specialised knowledge, especially for those interested in addressing complex hoof issues.

Optional Short Courses:

Business Management for Farriers:

Consider taking short courses in business management to learn about aspects like client communication, scheduling, and record-keeping for those who plan to operate their own farrier business.

Hoof Care Workshops:

Attend workshops focusing on specific aspects of hoof care, such as lameness prevention, trimming techniques, or advancements in farrier tools and technologies.

Continuing Education Seminars:

Stay updated on industry trends by attending seminars and workshops offered by farrier associations or reputable institutions. These can cover topics like new materials, techniques, and research in farriery.

Study Duration

The duration of most short courses differ, but can range from a few days to a few months.

​Possible Career Preparation Paths

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A preparation path is like a road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths:

Here is a suggested career preparation path for a high school student interested in pursuing a career as a farrier, based on the outlined points:

  1.  Attend Career Guidance Sessions:

Attend career guidance sessions to gain insights into different career options and learn about the role of a farrier.

2.  Research all Possible Careers:

Conduct thorough research on the responsibilities, skills, and requirements of a farrier. Explore various aspects of the profession, including working conditions and potential career paths.

3.  Explore Educational Paths:

Identify schools, vocational programmes, or apprenticeship opportunities that offer education and training in farriery. Look for reputable institutions with experienced instructors.

4.  Align High School Subjects with Educational Path:

Take relevant courses in high school, such as biology, chemistry, and vocational courses related to agriculture or animal science. Develop a strong foundation in science and practical skills.

5.  Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent:

Successfully complete high school or obtain an equivalent qualification.

6.  Learn about Animals:

Gain knowledge about horse anatomy, behavior, and care. Develop a genuine interest in working with and understanding horses.

7.  Align Post-School Path:

Decide whether to enter the job market directly, pursue further studies, or start a business. Consider factors such as personal goals, financial considerations, and the specific requirements of the chosen path.

8.  Gain Experience:

Seek opportunities for hands-on experience through volunteering, internships, or mentorship programs with experienced farriers. This practical experience is crucial for developing skills and understanding the profession.

9.  Pursue Extracurricular Activities:

Participate in activities that showcase responsibility, teamwork, and dedication, such as 4-H clubs, equestrian clubs, or other relevant extracurricular programmes.

10. Join Professional Associations:

Connect with farrier associations or organisations to stay informed about industry trends, attend conferences, and network with professionals.

11. Gain specialised Skills:

Enrol in specialised farriery courses or workshops to acquire advanced skills and stay current with industry best practices.

12. Network with Professionals:

Attend events, workshops, and conferences to network with established farriers and professionals in the equine industry.

13. Enter the Job Market, Finish Tertiary Studies, or Launch a Business:

Depending on the chosen path, enter the job market as an apprentice or entry-level farrier, pursue tertiary studies in farriery or related fields, or consider starting a farrier business.

14. Stay Updated and Pursue Continuing Education:

Stay informed about advancements in farriery, attend workshops, and pursue continuing education to enhance skills and knowledge throughout your career.

By following these steps, a high school student can lay a strong foundation for a successful career as a farrier.

Possible Combined Career Paths

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternative(s):

Stepping Stone Career

A stepping-stone career refers to a job or position that serves as a transitional or intermediate step towards a long-term career goal. Individuals may take on a stepping-stone job as it requires minimum education or finances to enter, or to gain relevant experience and develop skills, or to make professional connections that will ultimately help them progress towards their desired career path.

These interim positions may not be the ultimate or dream job, but they provide valuable learning opportunities and contribute to the individual’s overall career development. Stepping-stone careers are often seen as a strategic approach to building a successful and fulfilling professional trajectory, allowing individuals to gradually move closer to their desired roles or industries.

While a farrier career is specialized and unique, the skills and experiences gained in this field can contribute to various related or alternative career paths.

Here are some potential career options that individuals with a background in farriery might consider as stepping stones or complementary paths:

Training and apprenticeship

Becoming a farrier typically involves a combination of formal education, hands-on training, and apprenticeship. Here are the key steps and types of in-house or on-the-job training required to become a farrier:

Farrier Training Programme or School:

Enrol in a Farrier Training Programme:

Look for accredited farrier training programmes or schools that provide comprehensive education in hoof care, trimming, and shoeing techniques.

Formal Classroom Instruction:

Participate in classroom sessions covering theoretical aspects of farriery, including horse anatomy, physiology, and the principles of hoof care.

Hands-on Practical Training:

Gain hands-on experience working with horses under the guidance of experienced instructors. This practical training is crucial for developing the necessary skills.

Apprenticeship or On-the-Job Training:

Find an Experienced Farrier Mentor:

Seek out an experienced farrier willing to serve as a mentor. This mentorship is valuable for hands-on learning and gaining insights into the day-to-day challenges of the profession.

Practical Application of Skills:

Work alongside the mentor in various settings, including stables, barns, and outdoor locations. This on-the-job training allows for the practical application of learned skills.

Observation and Assistance:

Observe the mentor during hoof assessments, trimming, and shoeing. Gradually take on more responsibilities, such as holding horses, preparing tools, and eventually performing tasks under supervision.

Client Interaction:

Learn about client communication, scheduling, and record-keeping by observing how the mentor interacts with horse owners. Understanding the business aspect of farriery is essential.

Certification and Further Training:

Achieve certification (if applicable):

In some regions, obtaining certification from a recognised farrier association may be beneficial. Certification often involves practical assessments and written exams.

Attend Advanced Farrier Courses:

Consider attending advanced courses that focus on specific areas of farriery, such as therapeutic shoeing, corrective work, or specialised techniques for different equine disciplines.

Continuing Education:

Stay Informed about Industry Trends:

Farriers should stay updated on new tools, technologies, and research in the field. Attend workshops, seminars, and conferences offered by farrier associations to continue learning.

Networking:

Build a network of fellow farriers, veterinarians, and equine professionals. Networking provides opportunities for knowledge exchange and professional development.

Establishing Independence:

Build Clientele:

As skills and confidence grow, work towards building a clientele. This may involve advertising services, developing a professional website, and maintaining positive client relationships.

Consider Entrepreneurship:

Some farriers choose to establish their own businesses. Understanding basic business principles and practices is crucial for success.

Important Considerations:

Physical Fitness and Health:

Farriery is physically demanding. Maintain good physical fitness to endure the rigours of the job and prevent injuries.

Adaptability:

Learn to adapt to different horses, working environments, and client expectations. Flexibility is a key trait for a successful farrier.

Safety:

Prioritise safety in all aspects of the job. This includes handling horses, using tools, and maintaining a safe work environment.

A combination of formal education and practical experience through apprenticeship is essential for a comprehensive understanding of farriery. Continuous learning and staying engaged with the farrier community contribute to a successful and fulfilling career in this specialised field.

Average level of education of those entering the career.

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

License, Certificates, Registration and Professional Organizations

The licensing, certification, and legal requirements for becoming a farrier can vary by country, region, or state. It’s crucial to check with local authorities and professional organizations to understand the specific requirements applicable to your location. Here are some general considerations regarding licences, certificates, and legal requirements for becoming a farrier:

Certification or Accreditation:

In some regions, there may be certification or accreditation programs offered by professional farrier associations. Completing such programmes may enhance your credibility and demonstrate your commitment to the profession.

Apprenticeship Completion:

Some regions require individuals to complete a certain number of hours as an apprentice under the supervision of an experienced farrier. Ensure that you have fulfilled any apprenticeship requirements.

Licencing (if applicable):

Check if there are licencing requirements for farriers in your area. Licencing may involve meeting specific educational and training standards and passing exams.

Insurance:

Obtain liability insurance to protect yourself in case of accidents or injuries during your work. This is especially important when working with horses, as unpredictable situations can arise.

Business Registration:

If you plan to operate your own farrier business, you may need to register your business with the appropriate local authorities. This involves selecting a business structure, such as a sole proprietorship or LLC, and obtaining the necessary permits.

Tax Obligations:

Understand and fulfil your tax obligations as a self-employed farrier. This includes keeping accurate financial records, filing tax returns, and potentially paying sales tax on products and services.

Workplace Safety Compliance:

Adhere to workplace safety regulations to ensure a safe working environment. This includes proper handling of horses, using safety equipment, and maintaining a clean and organised workspace.

Environmental Regulations (if applicable):

Depending on your location, there may be environmental regulations regarding waste disposal (such as hoof trimmings or used horseshoes). Familiarise yourself with and comply with any applicable environmental guidelines.

Ensuring that you meet all legal requirements and certifications demonstrates professionalism and helps build trust with clients. Stay proactive in staying informed about any changes in regulations and industry standards in your area.

Professional Organizations

Professional associations and societies play a crucial role in the farrier community by providing resources, education, and networking opportunities. Here are some regional and international associations for farriers:

International Associations:

International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame (IHHOF):

IHHOF Website

World Championship Blacksmiths (WCB):

WCB Website

North America:

American Farrier’s Association (AFA):

AFA Website

Canadian Farrier’s Association (CFA):

CFA Website

Farrier’s National Research Center (FNRC):

FNRC Website

United Kingdom:

Worshipful Company of Farriers:

Worshipful Company of Farriers Website

National Association of Farriers, Blacksmiths, and Agricultural Engineers (NAFBAE):

NAFBAE Website

Europe:

European Federation of Farriers Associations (EFFA):

EFFA Website

Australia and New Zealand:

Farriers Association of Australia (FAA):

FAA Website

New Zealand Farriers Association (NZFA):

NZFA Website

Africa:

South African Farriers Association (SAFA):

SAFA Facebook Page

Asia:

Farriers Association of India:

FAI Website

Please note that the hyperlinks provided are based on information available as of my last knowledge update in January 2023. It’s advisable to verify the links and explore each association’s website for the most current information, events, and resources. Joining a professional association can provide farriers with access to educational programs, certification opportunities, and a network of peers within the industry.

Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards animal care.

How do I start to prepare for this Career?

If you do decide on following this career, then OZT can assist you in gaining knowledge about the career and the animals you will be working with. We do this by offering you thousands of FREE short courses.

A. You can access the specialised study guide that fits in with the above preparation path

B.  If you are still uncertain about choosing this career, then have a look at our special series of WHAT NEXT courses. They take you through all of the questions you might have on how to choose the right career, what to do while and after school, and even how to start your own business.

C.  Or, join OZT as a member to access easy-to-use lists of courses to make your career preparation as smooth as possible! And yes, membership is always free.

Join the OZT online community for special access to more tools!

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a Farrier.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
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  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
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If you have decided on being a Farrier, please click on the JOIN OZT button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.

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Some of the best websites to help you decide on a career are:

American Farrier’s Association (AFA):

AFA Website

The AFA is a prominent organization in North America that supports farriers through education, certification, and community. Their website offers resources, events, and information about becoming a farrier.

The Farrier Guide:

The Farrier Guide Website

The Farrier Guide is a comprehensive online resource that provides information about farriery as a career. It covers topics such as education, certification, job prospects, and includes interviews with experienced farriers.

Worshipful Company of Farriers:

Worshipful Company of Farriers Website

This UK-based organization, the Worshipful Company of Farriers, has a website that offers information about farriery education, events, and the profession. It provides insights into the farrier trade with a focus on the United Kingdom.

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