Five Stages of Farrier Development

Each step on the ladder of a hoof-care career comes with its own set of characteristics and challenges

While farriery is an age-old and attractive profession, relatively little attention has been devoted to the professional development of farriers. Planning for professional growth is an important part of our personal and professional responsibility. Effective planning involves looking beyond the present and taking a long-term, holistic look at our careers. In order to succeed, we need to select those opportunities that will be most effective in helping us reach those goals.

Movement from stage to stage in a career is the essence of professional development. We move to each higher stage by meeting the developmental goals characteristic of the current stage we are in. Associated with each stage are identifiable characteristics, needs and challenges.

Here’s a look at five stages in the professional life of farriers.

Stage 1: Entry Farrier

This stage is the time when the individual first enters the farrier profession. During the first years as a new farrier, you are typically highly energetic and motivated to put into practice and apply all the learning and training you have acquired through farrier school and/or apprenticeships.

Not surprisingly, entry stage farriers encounter a number of issues, both professional and personal. Some professional issues that they struggle with include:

1. Competence.

2. Certification and credentialing.

3. Ethical and legal concerns.

4. Heavy reliance on external expertise for advice.

Personal concerns include:

1. Need for recognition.

2. Balancing work and personal life.

3. Financial strain.

4. Possible race/ethnic/gender issues.

Often, this is a tremendously challenging period for entry-stage farriers, because they…

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Esco Buff

Esco Buff, CF, APF, is a farrier in Web­ster, N.Y., and holds a PhD in bus­iness administration. He is a member of the Interna­tional Horseshoeing Hall of Fame.

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