What should be the skill set held by a graduate of a farrier program?
AFJ Technical Editor Red Renchin raised this question, as well as the ire of many readers, in his late August blog post (www.americanfarriers.com/ff/0914). In it, he approached the subject as the head of a multifarrier practice who took on several graduates over the years. To summarize this post, he longed for recent graduates he added to his practice to have more immediate farrier skills.
But within this topic, Renchin’s most controversial opinion was on the time invested on handmade shoes in the school’s curriculum. He sees a different route to proficiency.
“I think more of the student’s time should be under a horse learning to trim feet, shape keg shoes, nailing, clinching and finishing,” he says. “This means working on horse after horse until that student is proficient in those tasks.”
Someone’s experience with a handful of graduates doesn’t make an overwhelming argument. And a limited regional view doesn’t provide an accurate portrayal of what occurs at hoof-care schools nationwide.
However, I find his point about handmade vs. machine-made interesting due to the stance. He doesn’t view handmades as unnecessary in the age of machine-made shoes. Instead, he sees them as an advanced skill best learned on a “graduate” level.
According to Renchin, the novice upon entering the workforce won’t be trusted with complicated cases where the ability to make shoes is necessary. Instead, he predicts the typical graduate will encounter footcare needs…