Learning Shoeing Firsthand

These farriers say apprenticing is definitely the way to go

A CARRYOVER. Mark Ellis liked this anvil so much that his former mentor Red Renchin let him take it when he went out on his own. “It’s not one that you can buy anywhere,” says Ellis. The anvil has three notches on one end that fit anything from a pony sized shoe to a much larger one. The notches are used for shaping shoes and turning heels. Because of these notches, Ellis can do most shaping and turning without using a turn cam or the horn of the anvil. The anvil stand has two drawers packed with shoeing supplies.

One thing's for sure in the farrier industry, there’s always something new to learn.

A good place to start learning is through an apprenticeship. “Nothing bad could possibly come out of being an apprentice,” says Mark Ellis, who apprenticed and worked with International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame member Red Renchin in Mequon, Wis., for almost 10 years.

This Butler, Wis., farrier and others highly recommend learning the business through apprenticing.

“You don’t get under that many horses when you’re at school,” says Ellis. “You need to get your hands dirty.”

Farrier Mike Ehlert, of Hartford, Wis., who was Renchin’s very first apprentice, agrees. “You have more of a hands-on experience when apprenticing.”

“You’ll get the opportunity to see a lot of different horses and a lot more day-to-day experience than you’ll ever learn in 12 weeks of school,” adds Hollister, Calif., Certified Farrier Mike Swartz, who attended shoeing school and then…

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