Northern Illinois farrier Jamie Westland Wandell, 31, has had her own business since age 16 and is a third-generation farrier.
"There wasn't a time in my life I remember not having horses or ponies," she says.
During one summer vacation when she was 15, her dad got her up out of bed and put her to work helping him shoe horses, and she's been at it ever since.
Westland Wandell specializes in corrective shoeing.
"They say no foot, no horse because it is the foundation of the horse."
When a horse has problems in the hoof it can cause other problems throughout the whole body.
"If you have a good farrier, you can avoid those problems," she says.
She thought about going to veterinary school but opted to be a farrier instead. She likes that she can be around animals every day and help them stay healthy without having to take emergency calls at night.
The job of a farrier is very physical and Westland Wandell says the biggest mistake young people make is going to trade school without becoming an apprentice.
"You have to do it the way they did it 100 years ago. You have to go apprentice with someone," she says.
Westland Wandell went to shoeing school for advanced blacksmithing and she keeps up with the changes in the business and the anatomy of the horse by doing a lot of reading.
"Things get debunked and change all the time and I keep up with that," she says. “I actually change the way I do things.”
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