One of the first numbers on any horse owner’s speed dial, the farrier provides an essential service. All horse jobs are physically demanding, but this one is especially so.
Strength & Knowledge
This is a position which benefits from a physical strength, the ability to work with multiple animals and a strong knowledge of horse anatomy. A blacksmith deals with the business end of any horse – their iron-shod feet. There is never enough experience in this line of work.
Strong problem solving skills, an eye for detail and the ability to think on your feet are important building blocks towards a successful career as a blacksmith.
Responsible for the trimming, shoeing, health and overall well being of all feet in their charge, the blacksmith has a personal responsibility to each individual animal. They work closely with trainers, barn managers and barn foremen to establish a healthy foot routine for each horse.
To clear up any confusion, a farrier works specifically with horses, although they need training as a blacksmith to learn techniques for shaping the shoes. In short, all farriers are blacksmiths, but not all blacksmiths are farriers.
Handling a variety of animal temperaments
Developing specific trimming schedules for many animals
Know the movement of each animal
Trimming of feet to encourage natural movement
Measurement and selection of the proper shoes
Forging and shaping shoes to fit & attaching them with nails
Providing solutions for lame animals and preventing further injury
Correcting bad and misshapen feet
Educating horse owners about hoof care
Requirements vary from country to country and many have farrier associations which offer different levels of certification programs and endorsement. The more certification and training, the better the work. This is a job which requires skill with blacksmith tools/ methods and a strong understanding of horse anatomy and foot disease. Most horse owners will agree, the more experience the better.
There is a great deal of job security for a farrier (especially a good one), horse hooves will always need someone to trim them.
A few places to start if you are interested in a career as a farrier.
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The World Farriers Association
Brotherhood of Working Farriers Association
Farrier Industry Assiciation
American Farriers Association
European Federation of Farriers Associations
The Farriers Registration Council
Australian Farriers & Blacksmith Association
New Zealand Farriers Association
Western Canadian Farriers Association
Japanese Farriers Association
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