Becoming a Farrier
By Eric Hammer
If you love horses then you may want to consider becoming
a farrier. For those who have never heard the term before, a
farrier is the person who applies horseshoes to the hooves of
a horse. While business was obviously much more common 100 years
ago, it is still a very big business as horses are still commonly
in use for recreation and sports in the United States today.
In fact, there are approximately 9.2 million horses in this
country and they all need talented people interested in becoming
a farrier to put their horseshoes on them. Of course the job
isn't only about putting on the horseshoes. It's also about knowing
something of horse anatomy and health so that you can talk with
the veterinarian about the problems the horse is having.
Farriers are a mixed bunch with some being extremely cagey
and refusing to help the next generation to learn about becoming
a farrier. However, others are happy to talk about their trade
and will generally take you under their wing if you express a
genuine interest in the business.
How Much Can You Make?
The typical salary for a farrier is about $40,000 per year.
However, for farriers who work with thoroughbred horses, where
the work needs to be done to perfection, the salaries can easily
hit the low six figures. Starting salaries by contrast can be
as little as $24,000 per year.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
Keep in mind when looking at becoming a farrier that the job
entails knowledge of a number of disciplines. You need to know
something of veterinary medicine, something about blacksmithing
and a lot about the business of dealing with a horse's hooves.
Remember that being a farrier can be dangerous work. Horses
are powerful animals and if they kick you while you are trimming
their hooves or putting their shoes on, you can be severely injured.
Therefore, make sure wherever you work as a farrier that they
If you prefer to do something other handling hooves but still
want to work with horses, consider being a groomer as that profession
will also give you contact with the animals while not requiring
as much specialized knowledge.
Qualifications / Requirements
You need to check with your state licensing board to find
out the details of getting a license to become a farrier. Some
states do not have any requirements at all while others will
require tests, sometimes both practical and written. In general,
you don't have to have a college degree, though if you are sure
that becoming a farrier is something you want to do, it can be
helpful to have at least some college as this is something many
employers will look for.
Go to horse farms where people ride horses for recreation
or visit race tracks. Talk to the farriers there. Find one who
is willing to mentor you in the business (it can take a bit of
effort as some farriers prefer not to share their knowledge with
anyone). Once you understand the basics, apply to a farrier school
and you can then learn everything you need to know.
Check out these helpful resources to find out more about becoming
and Hoofcare Resource Center - Look for the educational resources
and farrier schools links.
Farrier School - While they are trying to sell you something
at the end (the services of the farrier school), this is also
a great introduction to becoming a farrier.