Farrier School

Farrier School

 

 

Farrier

 

 

What Does a Farrier Do?

 

Farriers specialize in equine hoof care—caring for animals such as horses and donkeys, but mostly horses. The profession is an old one that stretches back hundreds of years, paralleling the increasing domestication of horses.

A look at the history of the word “farrier” explains something about the profession. “Ferrarius” is a Latin word meaning “of iron” or “blacksmith,” which explains why farriers are so often confused for being blacksmiths. Years ago when workers weren’t as specialized as today, blacksmiths would be called on to make horseshoes since they knew how to work with iron, and with that job already done they would also be the ones to put the shoes on the horses. (see Blacksmith school or farrier school? for a more detailed distinction between the two occupations).

Being a farrier involves some skills of a veterinarian in caring for the horses’ feet and some of a blacksmith in making, applying and adjusting horseshoes. So now that the “what’s a farrier” question is out of the way, specifically, what does a farrier do? Here’s a list of the skills that farriers specialize in:

Farrier and horse - What does a farrier do?

 

Acting as veterinarians, farriers care for hooves by watching for signs of disease or other ill-health. They also watch for potential lameness issues, intervening before a problem occurs.

Trimming

 

Farriers maintain hooves by keeping them trimmed. Using tools such as rasps and nippers they cut away the hoof material. It’s an important part of hoof care because it helps maintain foot balance by keeping the feet at the proper shape and length.

Cleaning

 

“Hygiene is extremely important, especially when animals are somewhat confined and continually walking over the same ground where they urinate and defecate,” says Walter Fuermann, a Certified Farrier with the American Farrier’s Association. Another important job for the farrier, therefore, is to clean the feet and cut out excess hoof walls, dead sole and dead frog.

Horseshoeing

 

Domesticated horses need horseshoes for a variety of reasons: their hooves harden less than in the wild, they’re not walking on hard surfaces as often and their hooves don’t naturally wear themselves down as much.

Farriers apply horseshoes to horses for some of the above reasons, but they also apply hooves as a corrective measure to improve a horse’s gait and to help an animal gain traction when walking in slippery conditions such as ice. Horseshoes are als0 used for race horses and performance horses.

The farrier, acting as blacksmith, removes old shoes, trims the hooves, measures shoes to the feet, bends the shoes to the proper shape and applies them. They typically use either the cold shoe (bent when cold) or hot shoe (heated in a forge) methods.

 

How to Choose a Farrier School

 

So after making the decision to become a farrier you’ve decided that you want to start your career off on the right track by going to farrier school. Now you may be asking, just what is the best school for me? What should I look out for? Like any big decision there’s a number of issues to consider. We’ve listed the basic points that you want to think about below when making your decision, from general to specific. The next page of the Education Guide, “Questions to Ask School,” goes into more detail about the specific things you should look out for, framed as questions for you to ask school staff and students.

Cost

 

As always, cost is a major determinant for most people when deciding on a school. Figure out what your school tuition and living expense budget is. Then look through our school listings to find the right school within your budget.

Location

 

Are you willing to relocate if there’s no school nearby? If so, how much will living expenses cost? Figure out if these costs work within your budget. And if not, can you commute? Do you want to use your schooling as an opportunity to travel? There are farrier schools worldwide, but learning the trade in one country and working in another could be a problem (i.e. the UK demands farriers get certified, so going to school in the U.S. and then trying to work in the UK is an issue).

Size

 

Do you prefer learning in a large institution, such as a college, a less formal school, or one-on-one? Colleges and universities offer advantages in that they offer many programs and could open up diverse connections through the many people you meet, but have larger class sizes than less formal schools, which provide a smaller learning environment and closer connections to staff.

Personal connection

 

Have you ever met a farrier that you resonate with? Getting a personal referral to a school from someone you trust is a great thing because, by extension, you’ll be more likely to trust that school yourself and the people who work there. Also, if you have friends or family that attend (or have attended) a horseshoeing school, you’ll probably feel more comfortable going there yourself.

Curriculum

 

Farrier education

varies dramatically between workshops that are measured in days and college programs that are measured in years, which means the quantity and quality of education delivered will vary greatly. It’s worth thinking about how long some programs are and what material they offer. If a short program tries to cover all the same things as a much longer program then it really gets you thinking if everything will be covered fully.

A good starting point is to look at the course curriculums for different schools and comparing them. Most schools include their curriculums on their websites or in brochures. If not, contact them and ask. Browse through our school directory to find links to the school websites.

Quality and type of education

 

The point of going to a farrier school is that you will have the skills and confidence to do the job on your own once you graduate. For that reason it’s essential to find out how much hands-on training you get. Do you get to shoe live horses or not? Will you learn corrective shoeing? Find out what horses you will get to work on and where they come from. If you have to drive around to different sites it will cut significantly into your day.

Instructors

 

A school is only as good as its instructors. Teaching is a difficult profession that requires passion, enthusiasm and a lot of energy. Teachers often don’t receive the respect they deserve and, unfortunately, some get discouraged from the day-to-day grind so they don’t have the same kind of passion to serve their students that others do. The Farrier Guide encourages you to thoroughly read through the school listings and interviews to get a sense of the schools/instructors that you click with. It’s also worth finding out how experienced the instructors are. Some schools use student instructors whereas others have only one experienced instructor who does all the teaching.

Visiting the school

 

A lot can be read into a school through a detailed listing or into a person through their words, but it’s always best to check out a school in person. If at all possible, narrow down your list to your top few choices, schedule a meeting (preferably during class time), then go visit them. On your visit, observe the school: its instructors at work, students, school, equipment, accommodations, etc. Arm yourself with some questions that will help you determine whether the school is a right fit for you, then feel free to ask the school staff.

Also, ask some students (preferably current, though alumni would be good sources as well) what their experience with the school is/was like. If there are no students around when you go (or you can’t physically make it there) get some references from the school, then call them up. Read the next page, “Questions to ask” to get some ideas on what to ask school staff and student references when you speak to them.

After doing all this research, you may find that you’re unable to attend school or that school just isn’t right for you. If that’s the case, don’t let it dash your hopes of becoming a farrier. Read our alternative farrier training page for other ideas on learning farriery.

 

A good first step when coming up with questions for school staff and references is to read through the school’s website, brochures and other marketing materials and think of important questions that weren’t answered by what you read. Use the list below to come up with additional questions.

The best way to talk to people is in person, so if you can attend the school and meet its staff and students that would be ideal (preferably during class time). If that’s not possible, the next best option is to call them up rather than email them since emails can get lost, filtered by spam blockers or get left unanswered for a long time.

Once you have your list of questions written up go ahead and ask them. Be aware that staff are probably busy with their work and can only spare a certain amount of time. If you keep to the point, you should be able to get all your questions asked in 15 or 20 minutes.

 

 

Can you tell me about your program and school?

Who does the instructing? How much experience do they have, both as a farrier and instructor? Or are they students themselves?

What is the student-to-instructor ratio? How large are the classes?

Will I get to shoe live horses?

What kind of shoeing will I get to learn?

Where do the horses come from? Do we have to drive around to different locations to work on them?

How many hours of instruction is the program? What percentage of hands-on experience is there? How many horses will a student get to shoe?

How are the exams structured and how do they prepare you to work as a farrier?

Do you track what percentage of graduates end up working as farriers? If not, do you have an estimate?

Are supplies and books included in the cost of tuition and if so, do students get to keep them?

Is room and board included in your fees? Ask any specific questions about the accommodation if you have particular concerns.

Do you provide financial aid of any kind?

Does your program follow a standard curriculum set out by a farrier association that’s designed to help students achieve certification upon graduation?

Does your program have an apprenticeship component?

Do you help students find work?

Do you offer continuing education programs?

Ask school staff for references of current and former students and actually follow-up on those references. You can ask them some of the same questions you ask the staff to see what their perspective is like (i.e. for a current student ask, “How much time is spent doing hands-on work?” or for a past student ask, “Did they help you find work?”). Also, make sure to ask questions about their specific experience with the school. Here are a few:

Are you learning (did you learn) enough skills to competently work as a farrier?

Do you feel the curriculum is thorough and well-rounded?

Are the instructors knowledgeable and good at teaching? Were they patient, supportive, etc.

Were the tools and books of good quality?

How was the accommodation?

Overall, are you enjoying (did you enjoy) your time at the school?

 

 

“Practice makes perfect.” That truism could never be more right than when speaking about apprenticing. Where school teaches the necessary foundations for learning a trade, an apprenticeship provides the opportunity to repetitively apply the skills learned at school in a real world work setting until those skills become second nature. It’s this valuable “learning on the job” work experience that makes apprenticeships so valuable, and why it’s highly recommended that farriers take the time to apprentice under a knowledgeable mentor.

 

Since farriery is regulated in the UK, aspiring farriers in that country must undertake a four year and two month apprenticeship program under the tutelage of an Approved Training Farrier (ATF). To be eligible for apprenticeship, you first need to satisfy the minimum academic requirements (see www.farriertraining.co.uk for details) then contact an ATF who will propose you as a candidate and employ you during your period of apprenticeship. According to Apprenticeships, the farrier industry only accepts about 100 apprentices each year in the UK.

In most of the world, farriery is not government regulated and as such does not require attending school or apprenticing before working as farrier. Farrier apprenticeships range from the informal—asking a friend to show you the trade in his spare time now and then or shadowing them—to more formal arrangements where apprentices work on a regular basis.

Some recommend apprenticing before attending a farrier school so that you already know the basics and will be better able to grasp what you’re learning in school. Generally people attend school first then apprentice before working.

What will I learn?

 

In a farrier apprenticeship you’ll get to practice the routine hands-on skills common to the trade, such as forging and pulling shoes and cleaning feet (see “What does a farrier do?” for more details). You’ll also pick up the business of the trade by seeing the farrier dealing with clients, which is invaluable experience to have when starting off your career.

Who to look for in a mentor

 

When looking for a mentor, the obvious choice would be a really knowledgeable, seasoned veteran of the trade, but that’s not always the case. The more experienced someone is, chances are the busier they are and the more people they have asking them for favours. Sometimes a far less experienced mentor could be better than the guy who has been doing it his whole life if he’s patient, has time to explain things and is a good teacher. Another thing to consider: even though someone is good at something, it doesn’t mean they’ll make a good teacher.

How to find a mentor

 

Since there’s a limited number of experienced farriers, finding one to mentor you could prove a challenge. Your school could be a fine resource to connect you, but with a number of students going through their program every year, there’s only so much they can do to help you. As always, the best way to find a mentor is through a personal connection. So tap into your social network and ask your friends and family if they know anyone. If all else fails, cold call. Few people just pick up the phone and ask someone for a favour, so if you’re the one who does and happen to catch someone on a good day, you may get lucky!

Questions to ask a potential mentor

 

Before committing to an apprenticeship, it’s important to ask a few questions to clarify whether or not apprenticing with this person will work out:

How much time do they have to spend with you?

What kind of horses will you be working on? (If you’re practicing on all the difficult horses, you’ll have a much harder time)

How many horses will you treat? (If you’re sitting around all day, you’ll be wasting your time)

What kind of work will you be doing / What will you learn?

Where will you be working?

If the answers to those questions sound good and you have a good rapport with the mentor, go for it. Your farrier career will benefit greatly from this much-needed boost at this early stage in your career!

Farrier Training Alternatives

 

If a farrier school isn’t right for you, you still have choices. Informal farrier training is one such choice. Do you know a farrier who might be willing to show you the ropes? If so, all you need to do is work up the courage to ask this big favour. If he or she responds with a “yes,” you’re in luck!

Finding a farrier trainer

 

Since it is a lot to ask someone to teach you this trade (teach you properly, that is), your greatest likelihood of a yes is via personal connection. Now, what do you do if you don’t happen to personally know a farrier? You’ll have to dig a little deeper through your connections. Ask friends, relatives or co-workers if they know one. If so, there’s your connection. Since you don’t know the person, it may be tough to ask, but if you adopt the “It never hurts to ask principle,” it’s not a big deal if they say no. And if you do get a “no,” it’s no problem. Just tell them it’s no big deal and that you thought you’d ask just in case. No harm done! And you’ve even made a new connection in the field that might come in handy down the road.

Sweetening the deal

 

Offering your labour to a farrier would make his or her job easier and improve the likelihood that you’ll receive an affirmative response. Can you take care of the animals or do some other maintenance tasks? If there’s a vegetable garden, can you help out with that? Think about any way you can offer your assistance, then make sure to mention it.

Shadowing

 

If you can’t find someone to apprentice you, ask around and find someone who is willing to let you shadow them. Just by standing behind a farrier and watching him or her at work you can pick up a lot. Of course, to actually learn the trade you’ll need the hands-on experience, but you can pick up a lot of knowledge just from shadowing.

Farrier training

 

You can pay that farrier who you were shadowing, or someone else, to show you the hands-on stuff. You’ll learn quicker than someone who has never seen a farrier at work so you won’t need as long to train. You can then proceed to take some farrier courses or attend horseshoeing school if it feels right for you. Otherwise you can keep on training informally.

Deciding whether to go to a horseshoeing school or to just take farrier courses is a fairly straightforward decision that boils down to whether you want to learn the farrier trade or just want to learn a little so that you can do the basics.

Horseshoeing school

 

Horseshoeing school is for people interested in becoming a professional farrier. Intensive programs are intended to immerse students in the life of a farrier and to provide them with a fully-stocked tool belt of abilities to draw on over the course of a career. The training covers such fundamentals as trimming, forging, shoeing and sometimes includes an apprenticeship as part of the curriculum.

Farrier courses

 

Farrier courses can be as simple as a daylong workshop or a couple of weeks in length. Though taking individual courses can help you learn specific aspects of farriery, they cannot possibly provide you with the full range of skills that an intensive program at a horseshoeing school would provide.

If you’re a horse owner who wants to just learn the basics to take care of your own horse, taking a farrier course would be a wise choice. After all, why go through the expense of time and money to learn more than you need to know.

Farrier courses are also a good choice for someone who isn’t quite sure whether farriery is right for them and wants to test the waters first. It makes sense to try something out for a few days before committing for several months or years.

 

Blacksmith School or Farrier School?

 

 

Understanding whether to choose a blacksmith school or farrier school first requires a clear understanding of the difference between the role of a blacksmith and a farrier. Farriers are often confused for blacksmiths because, years ago, the distinction was not as clear as it is today. In fact the term “farrier” (from the Latin word “ferrarius“) actually means “of iron” or “blacksmith.”

Blacksmith or farrier?

 

“Today’s farrier is not necessarily your granddaddy’s blacksmith,” says farrier Bryan Farcus, pointing out that the trade has changed considerably over the years. The reasons for the change are in part due to the change in horse owners’ use of their horses. Where horses used to be used primarily for work, now they are being used more for recreation or sport. The other distinction relates to the way farriers work. Years ago shoeing a horse required making tools and shoes from scratch, which necessitated being a metal working specialist, and hence the reason why blacksmiths took on the role of shoeing horses.

As with many occupations nowadays, work is becoming more and more specialized. “These days, the job of a farrier is exclusively focused on the health and routine care of the horse’s feet,” Farcus says. “Readily available prefab shoes and specialty tools have made it possible for modern farriers to specialize in a particular area of shoeing, working only on a single type or breed of horse. Where your granddaddy had to be a jack-of-all-trades just to shoe horses, today’s farrier now has the opportunity to be a master-at-one of his or her choosing.”

What do you learn in a blacksmith school?

 

Though every school offers different programs, some of which can be tailor-made according to students’ needs, it’s helpful to look at an example of one blacksmith school’s curriculum to be able to compare it to a farrier school. The Turley Forge Blacksmithing School offers a three-week beginner to intermediate intensive program in which students are taught how to use the coal forge, anvil and accessory tools.

“Some essential techniques developed during the course include drawing, upsetting, punching, hot splitting, fullering, twisting, bending, hot rasping, forge welding, forge brazing, striking with sledge and using the trip hammer,” Frank Turley points out in his Q&A interview with The Farrier Guide. “Early class projects include making of fire tools to be used during the course and more advanced projects include fabricating steel tools, tongs, utensils, hinges, door latches and scrollwork.”

 

Though what is not included in this three-week 105-hour program is any work with horses. Turley says that if someone requests farrier forge work he can accommodate that as a tailor-made program, but it is not part of the standard curriculum. So that’s an example of what you get in a blacksmithing school. Now we’ll look at what you can expect from a farrier school.

What do you learn in a farrier school?

 

Farrier schools focus on the care of horse’s feet. At Mission Farrier School, students learn the basics of barefoot trimming as well as basic and advanced horseshoeing. They specifically focus on knowledge of horse anatomy, biomechanics of the lower limb, assessing horse health problems, such as how to evaluate lameness, as well as shoeing, trimming, and how to use the forge and anvil. As you can see the smith work is just one part of a larger whole.

It’s important to take the length of program into account when making your decision. Mission’s program is eight weeks long and 320 hours—three times that of the aforementioned blacksmith program—and is about the average length for a program in the U.S., though programs vary greatly, some measured in years rather than weeks. Some farrier programs are quite long, even two, three or four years in length, in which case it’s quite easy for a farrier student to gain more blacksmith knowledge than a blacksmith student taking a short program.

 

Farrier school or Horseshoeing school

 

 

What Does a Farrier Do?

 

Farriers specialize in equine hoof care—caring for animals such as horses and donkeys, but mostly horses. The profession is an old one that stretches back hundreds of years, paralleling the increasing domestication of horses.

A look at the history of the word “farrier” explains something about the profession. “Ferrarius” is a Latin word meaning “of iron” or “blacksmith,” which explains why farriers are so often confused for being blacksmiths. Years ago when workers weren’t as specialized as today, blacksmiths would be called on to make horseshoes since they knew how to work with iron, and with that job already done they would also be the ones to put the shoes on the horses. (see Blacksmith school or farrier school? for a more detailed distinction between the two occupations).

Being a farrier involves some skills of a veterinarian in caring for the horses’ feet and some of a blacksmith in making, applying and adjusting horseshoes. So now that the “what’s a farrier” question is out of the way, specifically, what does a farrier do? Here’s a list of the skills that farriers specialize in:

Farrier and horse - What does a farrier do?

photo: Donald Lee Pardue (CC – BY)

Observation

 

Acting as veterinarians, farriers care for hooves by watching for signs of disease or other ill-health. They also watch for potential lameness issues, intervening before a problem occurs.

Trimming

 

Farriers maintain hooves by keeping them trimmed. Using tools such as rasps and nippers they cut away the hoof material. It’s an important part of hoof care because it helps maintain foot balance by keeping the feet at the proper shape and length.

Cleaning

 

“Hygiene is extremely important, especially when animals are somewhat confined and continually walking over the same ground where they urinate and defecate,” says Walter Fuermann, a Certified Farrier with the American Farrier’s Association. Another important job for the farrier, therefore, is to clean the feet and cut out excess hoof walls, dead sole and dead frog.

Horseshoeing

 

Domesticated horses need horseshoes for a variety of reasons: their hooves harden less than in the wild, they’re not walking on hard surfaces as often and their hooves don’t naturally wear themselves down as much.

Farriers apply horseshoes to horses for some of the above reasons, but they also apply hooves as a corrective measure to improve a horse’s gait and to help an animal gain traction when walking in slippery conditions such as ice. Horseshoes are als0 used for race horses and performance horses.

The farrier, acting as blacksmith, removes old shoes, trims the hooves, measures shoes to the feet, bends the shoes to the proper shape and applies them. They typically use either the cold shoe (bent when cold) or hot shoe (heated in a forge) methods.

Farrier School

 

The Euro Horse Horseshoeing School offers individual courses for the beginner and horse owner as well as the only Horsehoeing Higher Education course to provide "continuing education" for the graduate student or working farrier. Every day includes hands-on trimming, shoeing & blacksmithing forge work. Our business strategy program helps students become successful self employed business owners as professional farriers.

 

Our school is unique from all other schools because we offer individuel courses for minimum one student at the time,we arranged courses at your place or in our place.

 

Our horseshoeing course are build like this

Starttime individuel

 

Course lenght 6months , three days leaded with instructer, between that training and practice from you.

 

 

Horse Hoof Care and Trimming course

 

The Euro Horse Horseshoeing School offers individual courses for the beginner and horse owner as well as the only Horsehoeing Higher Education course to provide "continuing education" for the graduate student or working farrier. Every day includes hands-on trimming, shoeing & blacksmithing forge work. Our business strategy program helps students become successful self employed business owners as professional farriers.

 

Our school is unique from all other schools because we offer individuel courses for minimum one student at the time,we arranged courses at your place or in our place.

 

Horse owners know how important hoof care is. You also know it can be expensive and time consuming. This course will help save you time and money.

 

During this 1 day course, you will learn

 

Hoof anatomy

The basics of hoof care

How to treat minor hoof problems

When to call the farrier

You will practice trimming in a supervised setting. If you would like to put your newly acquired knowledge to use immediately, you have the opportunity to bring your own horses on the last day of the course; this way you can trim your horses for the first time with assistance & guidance from your instructor.

 

This is a hands-on course, so please arrive wearing appropriate clothing, gloves and footwear. In order to participate in this course, you are also required to have the farrier tools as outlined below:

 

• Gloves

• Appropriate clothing for variable weather

• Hoof nippers

• Rasp with handle

• Hoof knife

• Footwear appropriate for standing on concrete floor & working around horses (Steel toed boots are strongly recommended)

• Farrier chaps are not required but are also strongly recommended for your comfort and safety

 

 

Under new construction

 

 

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Kontakt

 

Besöksadress:

Kålgårdsgatan 27

551 17 Jönköping

Postadress:

Box 525

551 17 Jönköping

Email: info@campcontinental.se

 

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