Should Your Kid Become A Farrier? Or An Equine Vet?

Let’s say you have a teenager who has grown up around horses and seems interested in pursuing a career in the equine industry. He or she has watched you succeed as a farrier and also has seen all the good work your family’s veterinarian has done to keep horses in good health.

So which of these two career paths might you encourage your teenager to pursue?

I started thinking about this a few weeks back when we were analyzing the data for the 2014 Farrier Business Practices survey that is complied every 2 years by the American Farriers Journal staff. (See Pages 18 to 26 in the 2014 November AFJ issue.)

Based on survey data gathered from our readers, the results show today’s typical full-time farrier has an average gross income of $103,598 per year. If you figure 30% of this income goes for supplies, that leaves about $72,000 in annual take-home income before taxes.

How Equine Vets Compare

By comparison, a survey done in 2007 by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) indicated the average earnings for their members in private practice was $114,820. This ranged from a high of $143,560 a year in a half dozen south central states to a low of $82,240 for equine vets working in the Pacific Northwest.

When it comes to starting salaries in the equine field, the economic falloff in recent years in the equine market and a lack of job openings has certainly had an impact. In a 2010 survey…

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Frank lessiter

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has spent more than 50 years in the agricultural and equine publishing business. The sixth generation member to live on the family’s Centennial farm in Michigan, he is the Editor/Publisher of American Farriers Journal.

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