Farriers' Roundtable

Q: If I graduated from a farrier school can I shoe all horses? How do I get to that point?

A: Being able to start your own shoeing business is one of the great selling points of farrier schools. In my experience, this is more of a fable than fact.

Most farrier programs provide the basics in anatomy, gait, forge work and some corrective or therapeutic theory. When you consider the average course is 12 weeks, and some as short as 4, it is impossible to provide enough skill and preparation to enable you to shoe all horses. In many cases, the graduates I meet are dangerous to themselves and the horse.

How do you become capable of shoeing all horses? From my 30-plus years in this business, I’d say you probably don’t want to shoe all horses. It is much better to narrow your focus to a certain style of shoeing, discipline or breed of horse.

To get to the point where you are shoeing a variety of horses, get involved with your local farriers association and work with experienced farriers who are doing the type of horses you would like to do. Associations are marvelous reservoirs of knowledge, skill, common sense and horsemanship. Hang around with guys who are doing the type of work you desire and practice the specific skills necessary to become competent.

People in our local and national associations are genuinely interested in seeing the quality of farriery improve and are willing to share their…

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