For thousands of years, the craft of horseshoeing has changed the world. Yet, as reported by Dallas, Texas-based WFAA, there is only one specialized farrier school in Texas where you can learn the ancient trade.
“It was just about as big as creating the wheel,” says John Burgin, the director of the Scurry, Texas-based Texas Horseshoeing School.
Dating back hundreds of years, contraptions to preserve a horse’s hoof allowed for greater transportation and more efficient militaries which altered the course of the world. Though there is still a demand for farriers, there are few places where you can get hands-on education on how to shoe a horse safely and correctly.
The shortage of farriers has been ongoing, with increased demand for a college education and a push towards automating many aspects of the workforce.
“There is always a shortage of horseshoers,” Burgin says. “Even though it is above average pay, there is one drawback. It is hard work.”
If you drop in on the stables at the school, you will find students hammering away on an anvil, straining to position horses for shoeing and sweating profusely through it all. Just as it has been for centuries, the skill is invaluable.
“I would never take a chance on hurting a horse because I did not have the knowledge,” says Jeremy Monroe, a student at the school and the horse trainer at Monroe Performance Horses, near Houston. “(Burgin) breaks it down step-by-step on how to understand the horse, the foot, and understand where the shoe needs to be.”
Since opening the school in 1988, Burgin has hosted students from all 50 US states, every Canadian province, and 7 foreign countries to learn the craft thousands of years of technological advances cannot adequately replace.
“I cannot see how it is ever going to change, ” Burgin says
Burgin’s school is regulated by the Texas Workforce Commission. He believes the strict requirements and regulations for farrier schools are why he is one of the few remaining in the country.
Students stay in cabins on-site at the school for six-week periods. There are six groups a year, with 10 students each. The school day begins in a classroom studying in textbooks and horse anatomy models before heading to the stables to practice the horseshoeing and blacksmithing techniques the students have read about.
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