A few weeks ago, a young farrier posted a message on Facebook seeking advice on how to expand his hoof-care knowledge. While his apprenticeship was going well, he wanted to learn about other areas of equine footcare that weren’t a specialty for the veteran farrier with whom he is working.
This is not uncommon when an apprentice only experiences the work of one farrier. It’s why many farriers seek out one or more mentors who can help them become more experienced and professional while providing advice on most any aspect of hoof-care work, business management ideas or other needs. Many of these relationships last a lifetime.
Helping Others Grow
A mentor is someone who helps you with your career, advises on specific situations or offers general life advice out of the goodness of his or her heart. It includes a commitment to helping others develop and progress.
While a mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser, counselor and guide, they should not be confused with a coach. Mentoring involves a long-term relationship focused on supporting the growth and development of the person being mentored, as well as acting as a source of wisdom, teaching and support.
Mentoring requires your investment …
On the other hand, coaching typically involves a shorter-term relationship aimed at strengthening another person’s skills or correcting actions and behaviors that could hinder future development.
Mentoring programs in the farrier industry range from informal formats to more structured programs, such as the one offered by the American Association of Professional Farriers. To encourage its members to participate, this program offers yearly continuing education credits for both parties as they expand their experiences And both the mentor and the mentee should receive credit as being a teacher helps one learn.
Mentoring actually hits close to home for me as our publishing company is in the process of establishing a formal mentorship program. We think the long-term impact of well-done mentoring can offer life- and career-changing benefits to many of our staffers.
Thank Your Mentors
Have you ever taken the time to thank a mentor? To really tell them the impact that they’ve had on your footcare career? You’ll find many mentors never realize the influence they have had, and often downplay their own contributions to helping others.
Coming up soon is the 21st annual National Farrier’s Week (July 7-13), sponsored by American Farriers Journal. This is your chance to thank a mentor who helped you become a successful farrier.
We’re encouraging hoof-care providers to share with the horse world the stories of their mentors and how they not only have helped you, but also the countless horses you have provided top care for.
Go to AmericanFarriers.com/national-farriers-week to share your thoughts about your mentors. For Farriers Week, visit this page to read great stories about influential mentors that other farriers have had throughout their careers.