Delaware, Ohio, shoer Dean Moshier has more than 18 years as a farrier and has served as a hunter/jumper judge in Florida and Maryland. In the third edition of our Getitng Started in Hoof Care (A Guide for the New Farrier), Moshier provided three tips for those looking to break in the the hunter/jumper.
1. Learn The Differences. Wisconsin farrier Red Renchin's advice of "learn how to walk the walk and talk the talk" is very true. Go to the hunter/jumper shows. Learn what the different classes are (short stirrup, long stirrup, etc.) and how differently they are judged (hunter vs. jumper and hunter vs. equitation) Learn the scoring system. If a horse is capable of scoring in the 80 to 90 range and he can't break a 70, it may not be the riding.
2. Find Out Who The Opinion Leaders Are. When I was shoeing a lot of Arabians, at several points I was asked to specialize in them. I had a barn that gave me rave reviews and it "got out" at the horse shows when they interacted with other colleagues. They also booked me to be their show farrier several times at one of the horse shows that they ran. Breaking into a specialty is based on who you surround yourself with. It is about being seen with the right people. Learning from a well-established farrier allows the client to see you being associated with him or her. Their respect for that farrier can be transferred to you if the farrier views you favorably.
3. Be Versatile. Most horses in any discipline are going to suffer from injuries, tendon strains, navicular and laminitis. All horses can have conformation and hoof distortions. Being the guy that can deal with problems and shoe the horse for its discipline are the most prized farriers.