An article featured in an online edition of a Napa Valley, Calif., paper profiles farrier Matthew Frederick. It is a typical article that introduces readers to a not-so-common profession.

Also, this is a refreshing piece because Frederick considers himself to be "the luckiest man on the planet." He loves his job and the opportunity he has to develop theories on laminitis. Certainly his passion for farriery is an important driver for him. What's also important for Fredirick is the time he spends away from his job. He has a interest in model shipbuilding and history among other topics. One of his longterm goals is to build a ship model from scratch that is museum-quality.

The point I take away is that he loves his work, but he makes sure to invest time in non-equine pursuits. It is key to remember that no matter how much you like your work, if you invest all of your time into it, you will burn out.

The website HelpCenter.org offers these warning signs you are headed to burning out:

  • Feeling tired and drained most of the time
  • Lowered immunity, feeling sick a lot
  • Frequent headaches, back pain, muscle aches
  • Change in appetite or sleep habits
  • Sense of failure and self-doubt
  • Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
  • Detachment, feeling alone in the world
  • Loss of motivation
  • Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
  • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment

A few years ago I interviewed Massachusetts farrier (and current AFA president) John Blombach on the topic of burnout. “When you have burnout, you become disinterested,” says Blombach. “When you have someone with you that you are teaching, it sets a different pace.”

He also finds attending farrier conferences revitalizing. He warns that you must remain open-minded. You need to have outside interests to avoid burnout.

“If you eat, drink and sleep shoeing you are going to burnout and lose your family,” he continues. “It is really important that you have those outside interests that you can share with your family. It is hard for me to share my passion for farriery with my wife. She’s a horsewoman, but she doesn’t share the passion of being a shoer.”

Also, he says to schedule time away, whether a vacation or a mental health day. “We as farriers seem to beat ourselves to death and we don’t need to,” Blombach says. “Schedule time off.”