Filling the Middle Ground in Farrier Education

Virginia practice offers innovative farrier internship program

Paul Goodness has long been a big believer in helping young farriers learn more about the trade. And now, he and his partners in the Round Hill, Va., shoeing practice, Forging Ahead, have taken that belief one step further by setting up an unusual apprentice program that some other farriers might want to look to as a good working model.

Actually, rather than referring to the position as an apprenticeship, Goodness prefers the term internship. He makes the point that it’s a more accurate description of what the program offers.

Filling The Middle Ground

“If you look at it in terms of a farrier’s eduction, what we’re doing is providing something for that intermediate area — after shoeing school, but before going out on your own,” he explains. “Schools are great, but here we can give someone some experience working with performance horses.”

The internship program is also set up with more established parameters than a lot of apprenticeships. It has a time limit (one year), provides housing and also pays the intern a monthly stipend.

Goodness says the program is aimed at bringing in interns from areas other than the Northern Virginia area, with the understanding that they’ll return to their home areas when the year is completed.

“Around here right now, we have a good balance between the number of farriers and the number of horses,” he explains. “There’s enough work for all of us. I’ve been places where there were too many farriers chasing the work. It…

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Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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