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About 20 years ago, Jessica McGrane wanted to begin a career as a farrier. She asked West Chester, Pa., farrier Dave Werkiser if she could learn the trade from him. Werkiser admits that he was at first hesitant, having had some previous helpers join his practice, but leave just when they became useful.
Eventually he agreed and McGrane joined his practice. Over time, she proved Werkiser made the right decision, and McGrane has established a solid practice in Chester County, Pa. Over the years, the two have shared helpers who have gone on to also build practices or are still working with them.
Werkiser and McGrane shared their thoughts on the most important traits to uncover before taking on help. Along with fellow West Chester farriers Jason Hillman and Tanner Ernst, they identified four traits your prospective helper should possess.
McGrane says the potential apprentice should be someone who is comfortable around the horse. The group felt that because it is largely a combination of instinct and experience, it would likely prevent them from taking on the prospective farrier.
“It is hard enough to learn the trade to then have someone who is uncomfortable around the horse who lacks horsemanship,” she says. “Jason grew up on a farm, Tanner…