Farriers are responsible for shoeing horses. They must learn technical skills like how to fit shoes properly, trim hooves, and treat injuries. Working as a farrier is a tough job that requires a lot of stamina, both mentally and physically.
While the technical skills a farrier needs are acquired through an apprenticeship or in a traditional education environment, they must also have great knowledge of the anatomy of a horse. Therefore, taking a basic equine veterinary course is recommended. Often a farrier will identify the early signs of infection or injury when working with a horse. Knowing when to communicate to a horse owner that their horse requires the professional attention of an equine veterinarian is a key skill.
The Path To Becoming A Farrier
There are several steps to becoming a farrier that you must take before you start working with horses. Use your interest in the profession by spending time reading farrier-related books and exploring modern hoof care methods. Joining farrier groups on social media allows you spend time talking to practicing farriers. This is a great first step in your journey, but is also helpful throughout.
Over the years farriery has evolved into a more and more technical and specialised trade. This means that getting hands on experience with a seasoned farrier is a must. As with any trade, hands on experience will always be a necessary step to success. This usually can be through an educational institution or traditionally working directly as an apprentice.
In the United States and many other countries, you don’t need a professional certificate to practice as a farrier. However, gaining a recognised qualification will provide you with greater opportunities in the field. Many people begin with apprenticing and go on to receive accreditation.
Special Note for the UK!
Legally working as a farrier in the UK requires accreditation through the National Farrier Training Agency (see their website for details). In other countries, accreditation is not required, which means there’s a much greater level of freedom in becoming a farrier.
Become A Farrier’s Shadow
Having spent time reading all you can about farriery and seeing the daily experiences of many on social media, a great next step is to reach out to a local farrier and ask them if you can come along for a day, two days, or even a week.
Many farriers will appreciate the interest and will want to pass on the skills of the trade to others with a genuine interest in caring for horses. Those who choose this as the start of their journey to becoming a farrier will gain a lot of insight into the day-to-day business.
It’s important to take it all in, make notes even, think about the concerns you have about going into the trade and ask as many questions as you can. Remember, farriery is a service, so while a client is present or the farrier is working on their horse, you shouldn’t disturb the day-to-day business while observing it.
Becoming a farrier’s apprentice is a great opportunity. It offers hands on experience and will make it easier for you to find work. Some learn how to become a farrier through apprenticeships, some through schooling. There are many benefits to both, but a combination would be good to aim for.
When you do an apprenticeship, you are with one farrier learning from their skills. However, the way one person does things can sometimes include “bad habits”. When you attend a school, it may be just one instructor, but if there are multiple instructors you will have the opportunity to attend different clinics or workshops. Seeing a wider variety of skilled farriers at work will expose you to a variety of new ideas and methods, which will expand your tool belt of possibilities.
Apprenticing can be started at any time. Some people feel that shadowing or apprenticing before attending a school is very beneficial. From the experience you will pick up the basics and then find what is being taught in school more relatable.
Many people begin their journey to becoming a farrier by attending a farrier school. The level of experience you gain will depend greatly on the length and quality of the programs available in your area. Any experience you gain after that will be up to you.
Around the world farrier schools come in many shapes and sizes as the methods vary and the course quality varies. You may find it difficult to select one that seems like the right fit for you. It’s usually beneficial at this point to reach out to local farriers to discuss, or again consider apprenticing before schooling.
Most countries have centralised farrier associations which can provide you with contact details of farrier schools and certified farriers who carry out apprenticeships and internships.
Can I become a farrier as a female?
According to studies, four hours of farriery is equivalent to eight hours of hard construction work. This may sound tough, BUT the days are gone where farriery is purely a man’s world.
Attention to detail and sensitivity around the horses may be a great advantage for female farriers (Please note, we are not saying male farriers are insensitive or have less attention to detail!)
Can I become a FormaHoof Certified Applicator during my apprenticeship or while I am in farrier school?
You can’t become a FCA before you are qualified, BUT you can become a ‘FormaHoof Trainee Applicator’ (FTA).
FTA is a status that we can award to students and young future farriers and vets during their educational journey. Once FormaHoof techniques are learned and verified, the trainee will receive their FormaHoof Trainee Applicator certificate. This title is carried through the student’s apprenticeship and full certification received upon completion of the apprenticeship process and gives students FREE access to the FCA course.
Are there any benefits for farriers when they qualify as a FormaHoof Certified Applicator?
FCA’s get free advertising for their business on all FormaHoof platforms, which can help to generate new customers in local areas.
FCA’s have lifelong access to significantly discounted FormaHoof products and become part of a growing community interested in future-orientated hoof care.
Find out what farriers say about FormaHoof, what they like about it and what has changed for their business and clients since including the product in their range.
How can I become a FormaHoof Certified Applicator as a farrier?
If you have your farrier certification, the FCA course available on our website is your way to go. The course requires an upload of your certificate to be approved for completion of the final exams which are composed of a theoretical and practical test.
Find more information or start your course today by visiting the FormaHoof Academy.