One year after Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s advanced farrier-training program was put on the budgetary chopping block, a revamped curriculum has been given the green light by the institution’s senate. Classes begin Oct. 26, 2020.
Gerard Laverty, KPU’s farrier instructor, revamped the 30-week program to include 360 hours of built-in practicum and another 1 ½ months of field work.
“I designed it with an eye toward eventually having a full-blown apprenticeship for farriers in Canada,” he says. “The student will be going out for 6 weeks with a farrier in the field after 16 weeks of being in the shop here to get those basic skills so that they can pull shoes, clinch, finish off nailing and maybe do a barefoot trim.”
Laverty’s goal is to produce useful helpers for farriers who need apprentices and willing to provide further practical training.
“Hopefully, that is going to give them an introduction to a farrier who’ll take them on as a training farrier in a full-blown apprenticeship,” he explains. “So, it’ll be a slightly different animal.”
Among the more important features of the redesigned curriculum will be student created portfolios.
“Being able to track the practicum is kind of what sold it with the university,” Laverty says. “It’s one of the hot topics in advanced education these days. Students will have to submit video, photographs and written descriptions of what they’ve encountered out there in the field. That will be their evidence that, ‘Yes, I’m actually working on horses every day and learning about how the business is run, engaging with clients and seeing how my practicum farrier runs the business on a day-to-day business.”
KPU’s farrier program has come a long way from the brink of elimination in just a short 12 months. Three months after the announcement that it would be closed down, the school reconsidered its position because of a strong campaign of letters from several concerned parties.
“This time last year, I was down in the dumps because I was told the program was being cut within 3 months,” Laverty says. “I got news that the Walla Walla program was toast. So it seemed like we were on the back side of the best days of farrier training in North America.”
Today, it’s a new beginning for KPU’s farrier program.
“It’s going to be exciting to get it all put together,” he says.