Solid Advice for Young Farriers

Here are answers to frequently asked questions often asked by newcomers to the business

During last winter’s 4th International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, two veteran farriers tackled a few of the most frequently asked questions about the footcare industry. This unrehearsed, fast-paced session sparked a number of highly interesting views for attendees.

In the fourth in this series, Russ Vanderlei of Northwoods, Ill., and Mike DeLeonardo of Salinas, Calif., disperse valuable advice on helping young farriers get started in the industry.

Q: A young farrier is doing lots of backyard horses, but wants to move into specialized shoeing. How can he do this?

Vanderlei: He needs to find a farrier who specializes in the kind of horses he wants to do and introduce himself. Do this by saying, “I’m a young farrier and this kind of work is what I’d like to do. Since you seem to be the top hand in this area in this specialty, can I apprentice with you?”

Tell the farrier that you will do whatever he or she wants if they’ll teach you the ropes. If someone asks me this kind of question, I’ll say, “We’ll be at John Smith’s barn on Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. If you would like to come by, you’re certainly welcome to join us for the day.”

They need to recognize their strengths. Some work better in the fire than under the horse. Others know how to work in the fire, yet prefer to modify keg shoes rather than forging handmade shoes. While there’s no easy answer, farriers need to work in…

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