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TOPIC: young farrier

young farrier 06 Jan 2005 18:21 #1

I guess this is a kind of question. I have been reading through forums gathering information while talking to my son. You all, kind of have a tendency to sound rather gloomy when referring to starting out, and since I'm the mother of someone who insist on doing this, its definately rather daunting. My son grew up in the 4-H horse project. Won tons of awards and state honors, all that stuff. Said from age 12 he was going be a farrier, at 16 he went with a couple different farriers on jobs for about a year&1/2, learned basics, could trim, but didn't do much with shoes, wanted more training. He took a distance course on farrier science for knowledge. Then he graduated highschool all kinds of people discouraged him, told not to be a farrier, so he went to college for two years in general ag and equine science. Worked at Wal-mart for a year, hated it with a passion. Took a job 800 miles from home on a ranch. They found out he had some farrier experience so he started helping the farrier with the ranch horses. Worked with him and another farrier for about 7 months. Now he is home and insists that farrier is the career he wants. He is currently enrolled in a 12 wk course at a local school and joined the AFA. Being a mom I want him to be happy, but reading these forums sound gloomy. Doesn't bother him though, he says time, hard work he'll make it. My actual question is now hearing this background can a young person make it as a farrier now a days? If so what else does he need to do? :confused:
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RE:young farrier 06 Jan 2005 19:41 #2

  • solidrockshoer
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After reading your post, I think your son will be a fine farrier one day! He might want to find a longer school to help him refine his skills. Experience only comes by doing and he sounds like he has made up his mind so I'd say "Go for it!" Tell him his mind needs to become a sponge and soak up all he can! The reason it sounds so gloomy is that lots of people jump into it because they have watched a good farrier work and they think,"I can do that, and do my own and my neighbors horses too then I'll be a Pro!" Your son also sounds like he is a Horseman, and too many that jump into this trade really aren't IMO. The Best of Luck to your son and tell him to read everything he can get his hands on and to read these boards and ask questions here and everyone will be more that happy to help! Again good luck! Gary
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RE:young farrier 06 Jan 2005 19:52 #3

This trade is hard, difficult, and dirty. It requires grit, brains and sometimes just plain stubborness. Does this sound like someone you know? :D He knows what he is getting into, and appears to be on the correct path to get there. This is a proud proffesion, and he will probobly be a member in good standing someday! Just out of curiosity, what school is he going to attend.
Jason Maki CJF
"Always listen to the experts. They tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it." Robert Heinlien
Jason Maki CJF, RJF
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RE:young farrier 06 Jan 2005 22:29 #4

Thanks, for the replies, they make me feel better.
"It requires grit, brains and sometimes just plain stubborness"
Yes, that is definitely him, you must know him!

He is also a horseman, I've seen him walk up take hold of horses that other people say can't be touched, and they calm right down for him. He has something that most people don't, when it comes to horses. He is in his 7th week at the Oklahoma Horseshoeing School in Purcell. Voc-Rehab would foot the bill for him there and its not to far of a drive from where we live.

I think he's about a year of college from also being able to get a BS in Equine Science. He's not sure wether he should work on that anymore or not though.
Again, Thanks.

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RE:young farrier 06 Jan 2005 22:57 #5

  • Donnie Walker
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Don't let anything stand in his way of completing his degree. He can shoe while going to college to sustain his passion. Don't let him become discouraged about pursuing the profession. Location will be a key factor to his success. In my area there are 25 farriers living within a 10 mile radius of me, and there are many more that I do not know. I can name another 30 in a 25 mile radius. The horse population is tremendous. He needs to conduct several surveys to determine the horse/farrier population in the areas of his interest. He might even want to specialize in a particular discipline, where his reputation will become a factor, and he will be "pursued" rather than have to pursue. There is a learning curve in any profession, and the ability to grasp lies strictly within the individual. As the medical profession evolves and Doctors advance in knowledge so will farriery and progressive farriers. Wish him luck.
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RE:young farrier 06 Jan 2005 23:47 #6

  • T.N. Trosin
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I have to agree with Donnie, if it's the last thing you do as his mom keep your thumb on him to get his BS.
Sorry he's going to Purcell, but hopefuly he'll find someone to help him once he gets out of school. Actually he's got a good shot at making a farrier, but he's got to Get that BS degree. We all have only so many horses in us, when he's 50 and worn out he'll thank your for pushing him.
P.S. you can do well in this business, but you won't get rich.
Soliceter General Warning: This message may not have been spell checked for your protection
Just a piece of advice, think to yourself is this something I would say in front of a client, before your click the submit button.
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RE:young farrier 07 Jan 2005 00:32 #7

It is hard work, it is a craft that requires an artistic mind and also requires a scientific mind. When someone goes into this and it is all about the money then they are doing horses and horse owners a disservice. I wouldnt say we are being gloomy, more realistic and honest. Anyone can be what ever they want to be if they put there mind to it and work hard. Farrier work is a huge responsibility, "No Foot No Horse". Every horse is valued, from the free back yard horse who is someone's friend to the million dollar horse who is a big time competitor. Horses are liveing breathing feeling animals that trust us and deserve nothing but the best we can give them. So when someone comes into this trade, they need to keep in mind they are not working on a machine they are takeing on a huge responsibility, they are working on a gift from God. Sounds like your son would make a good farrier has what it takes and has a good mom that brought him up right.
Phil Armitage, CF
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"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it." Albert Schweitzer
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RE:young farrier 07 Jan 2005 01:51 #8

  • Mike Ferrara
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As one of the gloomy talking ones...I'd say that it sounds like he's going to be a farrier. I'm also with the ones that think he should get his're only going to bend over so many times and with no back and no brain you pretty much had it.

I can tell horror stories but I've missed the life I hade when I was shoeing full time since I stopped shoeing full time and I want it back...and I have a degree. I'll let it go for half price...for a limited time only.
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RE:young farrier 07 Jan 2005 05:14 #9

  • Rick Burten
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Just to add my two cents. I have a BSc. degree. Haven't used it per se in 25 years. I'm past the century mark, and by the time I quit(I can't/won't "retire") it will be of no real use to me. Its importance is that it furthered my overall education, helped me learn to find, process and apply a variety of information and like my farrier certifications, gave/gives me a sense of satisfaction in my ability to meet and exceed professional standards.

I agree with everyone else that your son should complete his college education. In the early years of his farrier career, he will face the more difficult horses and will run a greater risk of injury or disability. It is then that his college degree will be of the greatest market value as it will give him something to fall back on should he be unable to continue his career as a farrier. Or, should he decide, after being in the profession for four or five years, that farriery is really not for him, then too will the degree serve him well.

Rick Burten PF

In the immortal words of Ron White: "But let me tell you something, folks: You can't fix S-tupid. There's not a pill you can take; there's not a class you can go to. S-tupid is forever."

Je pense donc je suis
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RE:young farrier 07 Jan 2005 07:47 #10

  • Bill Adams
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Hello Mom,
If he liked ranch work and hated Walmart he'll do fine. Gota get the degree.
Encorage him to to travel around to get experience from many Farriers. The AFA even has a Farrier exchange program with Europe. Much easyer to do this stuff when one is young.
It may be a good idea to work for a couple of years in an area he dosen't want to settle in, so when he moves to where he wants to make home, he'll have the experance and credentials to start a solid practice.
I went to that school too, and I was able to become a Farrier anyway.
It's nice to see your concern and support, but don't show up at his first few clients with snacks or to check on him, kinda blows the whole tough guy Farrier thing.
My $0.02,

A rightous man regardeth the life of his beast. Proverbs 12:10
I don't give a damn for a man who can only spell a word one way. Mark Twain
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RE:young farrier 07 Jan 2005 21:40 #11

I think the Degree is important also, if for nothing else at least he will have better grammer and spelling when he gets on this forum and debates, asks questions and helps others. I went directly from high school to the military and wish I had a college degree, I think it is important running a business.
Phil Armitage, CF
AFA member 7480

"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it." Albert Schweitzer
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RE:young farrier 07 Jan 2005 22:59 #12

  • Jack Evers
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Everything sounds good to me. He's done the work, he knows what it entails, and he's also a horseman. I would second him finishing the degree. The shoeing is a good way to help with college expenses. When I was in grad school, I could make more on a Saturday than my friends made in a week of flipping burgers. I have a PhD in engineering and have worked around the world with it but I never gave up horseshoeing and I eventually left engineering for it. As someone mentioned above, the degree requirements will compliment his shoeing. My degrees helped me and his are closer to the practice than mine were.
As a final thing, I am now in my late sixties, the retirement accounts are in good shape and I don't have to shoe, but I still do. I just love doing it although I have reduced my clientel to give me more time for my ranch and my own horses (the body also demands a little more recovery time than it used to).
From what you say, I think that he'll do fine.
Jack Evers CJF AFA#426

The best things about the good old days -- I wasn't good and I wasn't old.

The older I get, the more horses I shoe, the fewer things that I can absolutely, positively fix.
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RE:young farrier 09 Jan 2005 17:58 #13

I too agree, he sounds like he will actually make a horseman/farrier of which there are fewer and fewer of, thanks to the 'learn in all in 12 week' instant gratification programs out there..he sounds like he has the talent, the 'feel', and the determination to do what makes him happy. but that BS degree will help alot, with his business management, his pr ability, etc...I am starting my 45th year as a professional..I am 67 years old..I have also been a professional horseman all my life, training and showing top performance horses, so...if he has a feel for horses, then he will be at the top of his profession some day..he will KNOW what it takes, not just the theories, the fads, etc...and skill with handling the horses is paramount and will endear him to owners. (not to mention the animals!) Bad farriers are so prevelent in my area (central Tennessee) it sickens and saddens me. I have cut way way back on my clientele, as I try to retire but since I have specialized in founder and other serious lameness problems since the early 60's (started in my home state of Co. where I worked closely with the vets at the Littleton Large Animal Clinic - an invaluable experience), I have had no luck finding someone like this young man to take under my wing, would give about anything to locate one!!. Actually, I have not found anyone who can even balance a foot....I would like to sell/pass along my business/clients to someone I can trust to take care of these people, and because I cannot find someone with some talent, it's the only reason I have not stopped shoeing completely to take care of MY farm and ride my horses (and play a game of golf now and then!) I apprenticed in 1957 with a man of 75 who had been shoeing since he was 15..No one seems to want to apprentice anymore so hearing that your son has done so, enjoyed it, and worked at it gives me hope that I will soon find someone like him to pass this fine business on to. Please ignore any of the doom and gloom stuff. It's a proud profession, you meet lots of great folks and horses (as well as some bad, as in ANY line of work!) but you're independent, free as a bird, and respected and valued by most horsefolks who know.and, you can make a darn good living at it....I for one, applaud your wishes..ak
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RE:young farrier 10 Jan 2005 10:52 #14

Acientoaks, I bet you wouldnt enjoy golfing as much as you enjoy shoeing. Tenessee must be in big trouble if your the only one that can balance a foot. ;)
Phil Armitage, CF
AFA member 7480

"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it." Albert Schweitzer
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RE:young farrier 11 Jan 2005 03:25 #15

That reminds me Phil of something that happened to me this summer. New client called just got a horse his uncle was up from Tennesse to train it for him and they had to have shoes with borium cause they had to get this horse "lined out on the road". So I went, working in the driveway the little guy was pretty nice, when I pulled out my hoofstand to bring the foot forward and dress the flares, the uncle from Tennesse says, "what's that?". I told him and he said he had never seen one, the farriers that he uses "back, down home" don't have those, I told him he could take a little technology back to the Mtns. with him. Then when I lit the forge he about jumped out of his skin, and then when the hot shoes hit the foot I thought he was gonna tackle me, he didn't know what to think. I know there are some good farriers in Tennessee I've met some but that last couple of posts reminded me of the "Uncle from Tennessee" gettin the hoss lined out on the road. I still laugh about that. The good news is the Uncle went back to Tennesse and the owner built a nice little barn that I can shoe in and the horse is a peach, oh I guess thats Georgia.
Dave Purves CF :D
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers
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