I doubt there is a profession whose practitioners are more passionate about what they do than farriers. While passion fuels our drive, it can only be sustained for so long. As odd as it sounds, we need to take time away from clients’ horses to sustain our passion for farriery. Eventually, with no breaks, that passion can turn sour, wither and die.

I find there are common signs for farriers that it is time for a break. The first is a grumpy attitude, which begins with your family and then extends to your clients and their horses.

Next is a loss of patience with the horses. A simple nuzzle is taken as an affront. When asked to get over or to pick up a foot, the horses are never fast enough. Burnout usually includes your body as well as your brain. What you need is a break and now is the perfect time to do it. After a long hard summer, like we have just had, a bit of diversion is beneficial for both body and spirit.

A break doesn’t simply mean a vacation, but also finding what I label a “sub-passion.”

For me, I have decided that this winter I want to become a better photographer. I recently bought a DSLR camera to supplement my old point-and-shoot. The plan is to take some formal classes, network with other farrier-photographers, have some fun and improve my skills. I have already started and am looking forward to this winter.

While I have my shutterbug fixation, I was curious about what other folks in the farrier community do in their off times. In networking with other farriers I am constantly surprised at the variety of interests of the people I have met.

One of the questions I like to ask when I meet other farriers for the first time is, “What do you do for fun?” Often the answers I get are very interesting. With farriers, sometimes the answers dovetail with the farrier profession like blacksmithing, or bit- and spur-making. Other times the answer is a complete surprise like flying, ballroom dancing, painting, singing and many others that aren’t associated with someone who shoes horses.

I’d like you to post a comment below and share your passion outside of farriery. What do you turn to when you need a break?