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Getting Off To A Good Start With Apprenticeships

A hands-on approach to learning from an established farrier is often the most effective way for a new farrier to learn the trade.

Paul Goodness, senior member of Forging Ahead, a group farriery prac­tice in Round Hill, Va., says most stu­­dents should arrange to do some kind of mentorship after graduating from a farrier school. His practice provides a 1-year internship program for new far­­riers.

“We can speed up young farriers’ careers by getting them out there and exposing them to all sorts of things they need to know to be a successful farrier,” he says. “It’s not just working with the horses, but also working with the clients.”

Farriery Is More Than Horses’ Feet

Farriery has many facets that must be combined for a successful business. A person might mechanically be the best farrier in a certain specialty, but if he or she can’t deal effectively with the public, scheduling or bookkeeping, the business could fail.

“Perhaps a client has spent the past 3 months trying to get her horse to a certain competition and it’s the biggest thing in her world right now,” Goodness says. “It’s our job to do our best to figure out how to help her get the horse sound enough or traveling properly to meet that goal. Clients appreciate someone who tries to understand their point of view.”

Managing and balancing a sched­­ule is another important aspect, Goodness adds.

“It’s crucial to show up on time and to realize that the clients have lives…

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Heather Smith Thomas

Heather Smith Thomas is a freelance writer based in Salmon, Idaho. She has been writing books and articles for nearly 50 years.

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