Advice From Rising Shoeing Star Winners

Rising Shoeing Star

The transition from a horseshoeing school student to a full-time farrier can be rough, even for those who graduate at the top of their class. New graduates and those just starting their farrier business understand the challenges you’ll face, regardless of education and skill.

In 2008, American Farriers Journal established the Rising Shoeing Star award program. This program honors farriers for making outstanding career progress in their first 3 years out of horseshoeing school. Along with farrier industry suppliers, this program promotes the importance of education and encourages new farriers to succeed.

These former Rising Shoeing Star winners were once in your shoes and quickly realized they’d soon be out on their own. Here they share some advice based on their own experiences starting out in hoof care.

Q: What were the major obstacles you faced in getting started?

A: Establishing a balance between family and work was tough. It meant determining what I needed to earn to reach my desired standard of living.

— Mike Caldwell, Paso Robles, Calif., 2009 Rising Shoeing Star

A: My gender and age were obstacles. Some farriers and horse owners heard “19 and female” and didn’t want to give me a chance, even though I graduated at the top of my class.

Find the best farrier in your area for an apprenticeship and beg and plead to work with them.

It takes time and a lot of research to understand the market in the area where you want to work.

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Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson has been at American Farriers Journal for 17 years. She serves as an assistant editor and production manager for AFJ. A native of Wisconsin, she has written for numerous newspapers and magazines.

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