Long gone are the days where farriers were middle-aged men. The farrier of today can be any age and any gender. Many cowgirls are drawn to this career with the promise of working directly with horses, flexible hours, and decent pay. The work isn’t easy, and definitely not for everyone, but for the strong-willed it can be a great path to pursue.
The Job Description
Farriers use a variety of tools to trim and shape the hooves of horses. They also adjust and apply horseshoes, if necessary. It is essential that they can successfully evaluate the horse’s gait and conformation in order to produce a correctly balanced hoof. The position is physically demanding and requires lots of bending, twisting, and lifting. Horse experience is needed, along with some sort of schooling.
Schooling & Training
There are many horseshoeing schools that educate inexperienced farriers in a reasonable amount of time. The American Farrier’s Association provides a list of recognized schools here. Newbies are also encouraged to apprentice with an experienced farrier. This allows them to sharpen their skills before venturing out on their own. In the beginning, those without a reputation might end up working on the difficult horses.
Most farriers are self-employed. This allows them to pick their own hours. Some choose a specific focus, such as barefoot trimming, special shoes, racetrack horses, etc… Find a niche in your market by offering something unique. Many farriers only work part-time and have careers in training, boarding, and other horse-related fields.
Based on the location of the farrier and skills, newbies working part-time can earn around $24,000 annually. Those experienced, in a booming area, and working full-time can expect upwards of $90,000 a year. Many factors come into play though, which often leaves a huge range in salaries.
If you enjoy working with horses and interacting with clients, becoming a farrier might be your true calling. The work is hard, but the payout can be great. Like running any business, you must be determined to succeed!