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TOPIC: I'm interested in learning about being a farrier

I'm interested in learning about being a farrier 17 Jul 2006 03:38 #1

Hello! I have found an interest in becoming a farrier. Now, I do love horses, but I have no experience with them. I am also a female. Is it harder for a woman to do this type of job? I am looking into going to the Tuscon, AZ farrier school; anyone been there? If so, is it a good school to go to to learn this? And, is the farrier profession a good career to go into? What is the general salary? :confused:

Thank you!
Stacie
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RE:I'm interested in learning about being a farrier 17 Jul 2006 05:26 #2

  • Bill Adams
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Get several years experence with horses then think about Farriery. What I mean by this is to realy work with horses, learn to ride, own several, have hard times, get over it, then come back and talk.
The key word here is; years.
Bill

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:I'm interested in learning about being a farrier 17 Jul 2006 11:51 #3

  • holden_cj
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As a farrier and a horse owner and knowing how my clients are if you were to go into one of my barns and not now horses and there be havior they would tell you to pack up and ship out. The profession is hard hot work and can be very nerve racking when you are trying all you can and a horse is not responding to what you are doing. Also with farrier work untill you get enough clients you will have to work two jobs and that can get tough but as far as rewarding when you see a horse for the first time and the ower says no one can keep them sound and you get the horse to go sound it doesnt get a whole lot more rewarding then that. But i would agree that you need to spend sometime with horses and also ride with a farrier and see what it is all about befor you make that commitment.

good luck in what ever you do
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RE:I'm interested in learning about being a farrier 17 Jul 2006 13:11 #4

  • Mike Ferrara
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There are some things to consider about running your own business no matter what the business is.

Shoeing horses is hard work but I've had desk jobs and that was hard work too. I haven't been able to get any one to pay me very much for doing anything easy.

Is it harder for women? I don't know but, lets face it, we are put together differently. We're built differently and we think differently. Of course, that also means that there may be some advantages for women somplace in those differences.

The more knowlege and experience you have with horses the better but I don't know that I agree that you need to own your own. I go pretty far to get to some of my accounts and the animals that we own just tie me down. I'd get a lot more horses shod if I didn't have to be home as often. If you go to work for a while in a boarding/school barn you'll be exposed to (and maybe even ride) LOTs more horses and lots more situations in a much shorter period of time than you might by just owning your own...unless you go buy yourself 50 or 60 head. You'll also find that the experience that you gain working with the horse owning public in such a barn valuable for future reference. The horse business seems to pick up all the nut cases that slip past the music business. While we have ways of restraining hard to handle horses you can not, ever, physically or chemically restrain horse owners. In most areas you won't even get away with putting a lip chain on them. LOL

There's lots of questions to ask yourself. A few might be: How do you really feel about hot, heavy work that can be a little dangerous at times? Do you enjoy or are you good working with tools? My wife does a little blacksmithing from time to time but hasn't yet been able to condition herself for a big enough hammer to get much steel moved so she has to make small stuff from small stock. She may never turn many heavy shoes. Technique is more important than brute strength but a little strength is needed too and more than one smith has seriously hurt themself just swinging a hammer. What is it about shoeing horses that you think you would like or be good at...or not like or not be good at?

The money? Depending on where you work, what kind of work you do and what kind of demand there is for you personally as well as your own business skills will determine what you make. I know farriers who make what I would consider a lot of money but there are lots of us who don't. There are certainly higher paying professions out there. It's a trade and I think the average pay is probably comparable to other trades on the average. I think that you need a specialty to make the best money. It's pretty easy to find some one or a school to teach you to shoe a horse but finding a teacher and an open door to get started in one of the many specialties is another matter. Learning a specialty and gaining a reputation at it may take MANY years. In some cases who you know really can be more important than what you know. That's just life.

I didn't put this much thought into it when I first started. I was young, had done some riding, was working in a stable and some one offered to teach me. Lacking any better plans or offers, it didn't make sense to turn it down (I just didn't have anything better to do). I've since left the trade and came back to it. I don't think anything you learn ever really goes to wast and many of the things I learned in this trade all those years ago from, shoeing to welding to forgwork to countless other lessons has served me well over the years even when I wasn't shoeing horses for a living.

Most of us have to earn a living but no job or career needs to be permenant and you might as well have some fun with it. So many of us, including some who get filthy stinking rich, never learn to have fun while earning a living and lots of them don't look like happy people to me.
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RE:I'm interested in learning about being a farrier 17 Jul 2006 17:17 #5

Hi Stacie,

I think you've gotten some good advice so far. Here are a couple of my own thoughts as far as women in the farriery field-

If you spend any time on this board, you will see some outstanding women farriers posting their advice, so obviously, there are sucessful women in the field.

Everyone has natural strengths and weaknesses. Women typically will not be able to match the menfolk in strength and endurance, but some certainly can condition themselves to the point where they can handle the work. We also have some physical traits that help us such as a lower center of gravity and often a smaller stature. You just have to strengthen whatever weaknesses you have and accommodate what you can't change. :)

As far as experience with horses, Mike gave some great advice and know that being a horsewoman will make you a better farrier and being a farrier will make you a better horsewoman. :)

In addition to immersing yourself in a horse/stable environment, educate yourself on horse behavior; really study about the horse, not just training and stablekeeping and husbandry. :)

Good Luck!!
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RE:I'm interested in learning about being a farrier 17 Jul 2006 20:56 #6

Thank you for the great advice! I was also wondering where would be a great place to go to school. I was thinking somewhere close to home, but if I really want to excell in this profession, I would be willing to travel. I was looking at the Kentucky school, any thoughts on that?

I am willing to do hard work; both of my previous jobs I hated. I worked in two small animal clinics, one was a full run veterinary hospital and the other was a spay/neuter clinic. It was fine when I first started working, but then I learned that I hated being indoors ALL the time and in cramped quarters. It drove me nuts!! And both only dealt with small animals, mainly dogs and cats. Boy, those animals sure get annoying! :mad: I never got to work with large animals, which is what I primarily wanted to do. I did, however, got to go on a house call to assist in floating a horse's teeth. That was an amazing job right there! It was outside, with fresh air, and working on the most wonderful animal of all time! I wish I went on more calls, but that was when I worked at the spay/neuter clinic and the temporary vet specialized in horses.

I intend to learn all I can about horses, but I doubt I will be able to work with them in person. I guess the schools teach you proper handling if you are not familar with horses?

I am very excited to learn and make this work!

Stacie :p
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RE:I'm interested in learning about being a farrier 17 Jul 2006 21:06 #7

  • Jack Evers
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Do you have other animal experience to draw on? I met one lady farrier who said that the first horse she ever saw shod was in school, but she had worked as a zoo keeper and was quite familiar with animals in general. Otherwise you'd be well advised o ride with a shoer who is also a good horseman for quite some time.

Jack
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:I'm interested in learning about being a farrier 17 Jul 2006 21:28 #8

Well, I do have quite a bit of animal experience- I was in 4-h for six years and shown rabbits, pigeons, cavies, and was in veterinary science; I currently am trying to start a pigeon business (breeding and selling) and it has generated some interest; I still have rabbits, ducks, rodents, dogs, parakeets, etc., but no large animals! That is what I am most interested in too! :rolleyes: I just don't have the property to house livestock. But I am planning on relocated somewhere in the future that does. Unfortunately, when we moved into our current house, I was only 9, so :confused: .....

I will make it work though!

Stacie
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RE:I'm interested in learning about being a farrier 17 Jul 2006 23:12 #9

  • Mike Ferrara
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kingpigeon wrote:
Thank you for the great advice! I was also wondering where would be a great place to go to school. I was thinking somewhere close to home, but if I really want to excell in this profession, I would be willing to travel. I was looking at the Kentucky school, any thoughts on that?

I am willing to do hard work; both of my previous jobs I hated. I worked in two small animal clinics, one was a full run veterinary hospital and the other was a spay/neuter clinic. It was fine when I first started working, but then I learned that I hated being indoors ALL the time and in cramped quarters. It drove me nuts!! And both only dealt with small animals, mainly dogs and cats. Boy, those animals sure get annoying! :mad: I never got to work with large animals, which is what I primarily wanted to do. I did, however, got to go on a house call to assist in floating a horse's teeth. That was an amazing job right there! It was outside, with fresh air, and working on the most wonderful animal of all time! I wish I went on more calls, but that was when I worked at the spay/neuter clinic and the temporary vet specialized in horses.

I intend to learn all I can about horses, but I doubt I will be able to work with them in person. I guess the schools teach you proper handling if you are not familar with horses?

I am very excited to learn and make this work!

Stacie :p

I certainly do get some fresh air and see some nice country going from barn to barn. But... there are times that I get stuck for many hours in barns that are stuffy, sometimes very dusty (some barns have sand or limestone floors and I end up eating about 2 pounds of that junk for every horse that I shoe), cramped and even dark I set up my own lights but they just aren't ideal). No desk job ever had a more cramped or uncomfortable indoor environment than some of the barns that I have to shoew horses in. Summer of course presents differnt problems than winter.

One thing that I never really understood. I've been doing this on and off for over 25 years and I've never been in a barn that had a place for a farrier to work that's anything like what I think they should have. While some are clean with hard floors, decent light and even heated. They make you set up in the same isle that borders expect to use. That means that some one is inconvenienced, sometimes it gets dangerous with folks tramping arounf the corner laghing, joking or carrying stuff and you may not be able to work at all during peak traffic times. I work in one barn that has over 100 head. I know of at least 5 farriers who shoe there. You'd think they's have some places set up to work that wouldn't imconvenience their borders, get in the way of classes or endanger me. Wouldn't you?
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RE:I'm interested in learning about being a farrier 17 Jul 2006 23:23 #10

kingpigeon wrote:
both of my previous jobs I hated
You will most likely hate your next job - be it farrier, dentist, receptionist, teacher, or whatever. It is good to do what you enjoy but better to enjoy what you do.

Stacie,
Where in AZ are you? I am in Mesa/Gilbert and can introduce you to some farriers who can really show you what it's like to be a full-time farrier. I am just a hobby farrier, so you wouldn't learn too much from me.
Cordell Rogers
CPA, MAcc, not yet CF
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RE:I'm interested in learning about being a farrier 17 Jul 2006 23:48 #11

cordell_rogers wrote:
You will most likely hate your next job - be it farrier, dentist, receptionist, teacher, or whatever. It is good to do what you enjoy but better to enjoy what you do.

Well, that maybe so, but I would rather be my own boss! I don't think I could be cramped inside all day, sitting at a desk, or working at a store. Atleast I'll be around something I have a general interest in and hopefully will learn something new every day rather than the same, boring work I have done. And I love to travel! I love visiting new places and such. I just think it will be an ideal job for me!

Stacie,
Where in AZ are you? I am in Mesa/Gilbert and can introduce you to some farriers who can really show you what it's like to be a full-time farrier. I am just a hobby farrier, so you wouldn't learn too much from me.


Well, I don't think it will make much of a difference- I am in Kingman :(
Not such a nice place to experience much career wise, but I am trying.
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RE:I'm interested in learning about being a farrier 17 Jul 2006 23:54 #12

Mike Ferrara wrote:
I certainly do get some fresh air and see some nice country going from barn to barn. But... there are times that I get stuck for many hours in barns that are stuffy, sometimes very dusty (some barns have sand or limestone floors and I end up eating about 2 pounds of that junk for every horse that I shoe), cramped and even dark I set up my own lights but they just aren't ideal). No desk job ever had a more cramped or uncomfortable indoor environment than some of the barns that I have to shoew horses in. Summer of course presents differnt problems than winter.

One thing that I never really understood. I've been doing this on and off for over 25 years and I've never been in a barn that had a place for a farrier to work that's anything like what I think they should have. While some are clean with hard floors, decent light and even heated. They make you set up in the same isle that borders expect to use. That means that some one is inconvenienced, sometimes it gets dangerous with folks tramping arounf the corner laghing, joking or carrying stuff and you may not be able to work at all during peak traffic times. I work in one barn that has over 100 head. I know of at least 5 farriers who shoe there. You'd think they's have some places set up to work that wouldn't imconvenience their borders, get in the way of classes or endanger me. Wouldn't you?


Yah, I would think they would provide you with better working conditions! Have you mentioned anything to them? Or would they get so offensive they would fire you? I know if I had a farrier come and tell me that he would like better accomodations, I think I would have enough common sense to do something about it. Just make his job a little easier. :p
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RE:I'm interested in learning about being a farrier 18 Jul 2006 02:58 #13

  • Gary Hill
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9 out of 10 people that build barns forget about a place for the farrier! Ya think that someone that designs barns would actually work in one at least once in their life. My bride wants to move closer to her work, so if I have to move again , I am going to build the ultimate barn for a farrier! The blueprint is in my head being adjusted all the time. Hey Kingpigeon, get yourself a job at a horsebarn and start shoveling and you will work your self around horses as you learn daily. Good Luck! Gary
"As I see it, winners get the money - while losers talk of "individual goals" and similar stuff." Tom Stovall
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RE:I'm interested in learning about being a farrier 18 Jul 2006 04:28 #14

Wow, geez, good luck with building your ultimate farrier barn!
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RE:I'm interested in learning about being a farrier 18 Jul 2006 06:33 #15

In the stable we built on our farm in Iowa that we just moved from had a 20x20 area (including the aisleway) in the end where I had it set up for shoeing ours. Good lighting and concrete floor. It was real handy. Whoever shoes for the new folks should have a nice place to work if they don't stack something in there.

Sigh, I miss my stable. :(
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