Farrier: A little known profession
There are over 25,000 farriers in the U.S. today. Farrier services are rarely advertised because qualified farriers are in high demand by the horse-owning public.
Qualifications to become a farrier are good physical strength and good skills of communication with the horse owners and vets.
To work as a farrier, one must be registered with the Farrier’s Registration Council, which means a person must complete a four-year Apprenticeship with an Approved Training Farrier (ATF).
Also, The Worshipful Company of farrier promotes the status of “Master Farrier”, so those farriers who have passed the higher examination within farriery can have another opportunity to display their excellence in the craft and increase their standing in the competitive business environment.
Farriers and blacksmiths are considered to be separate, but related trades.
Shoeing horses is one of the toughest jobs in the horse industry. The physical strain on the neck, shoulders, back, and knees can lead to many crippling effects.
One can get into the industry by doing an advanced apprenticeship in farriery with an approved training farrier. It takes 48 months to complete and includes training on the job and periods of studying at a college approved by the Farriers Registration Council.
Farriers are highly skilled in equine hoof care. They shape and fit horseshoes, clean, trim and shape the horse hooves.
Most farriers work eight hour days. They work mainly on racing, show and pleasure horses. The average salary is typically around $100,000+ per year.
The types of horseshoeing are hot-shoeing and cold-shoeing.
In hot-shoeing heating, the steel shoe in the forge before using a hammer to shape it makes the process much easier. Hot-shoeing bends easier and shapes better than cold-shoeing.
In cold-shoeing, one shapes the cold steel with a hammer, but no heat is used.
The hot-shoeing process smells like rotten eggs because the sulfur odor is released by microbes. During the fitting, the odor produced is the smell of sulfur gas from burning the rich connective tissue proteins of sulfur of the hoof.
Hot-shoeing also prevents White Line disease which is a bacterial infection that creeps into the laminae area under the hoof wall.
Thrush is the most common cause of a stinky hoof. Usually, the first signs are the smell but also the horse may favor his foot.
Thrush can be very painful for the horse, as the frog’s tissue becomes inflamed and overrun with bacteria. Typically, Thrush is characterized by a thick black discharge that smells like rotten dairy.
Thrush is easily curable with treatment within 6 to 14 days.
There is a horseshoeing school in Missouri: Heartland Horseshoeing School, Lamar, Missouri (417) 682-8484.