Farrier  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotFarriers are experts in the care and treatment of the feet and lower legs of horses. They remove worn or defective shoes from a horse and examine the hoof to detect bruises and cracks. They then select, fit, shape and nail a new shoe to the hooves.

dotAs more horse owners choose to keep their horses shoeless, farriers are having to expand their practice to cover and include general hoof care.

dotShoes are shaped using a swage (a stamp), forge and hammer. Farriers also know how to build handmade shoes and are knowledgeable in corrective shoeing.

dotAt one time, horse owners would bring their horses to the farrier or blacksmith shop to be shoed. Today, the trade has become mobile, with farriers traveling to the horse. They usually have a truck or trailer fitted as a mobile shop.

dotFarriers often work outside. They ply their trade at boarding stables, breeding farms, training stables, racetracks, farms and ranches. They are often in dusty or muddy environments and insects, odors and extreme weather conditions are par for the course.

Injuries are also common. Farriers suffer cuts, bruises, burns, mashed fingers, bites and kicks. You need to be physically fit for this job. Good eyesight, hand-eye coordination and agility are important.

dotMost farriers are self-employed, so you'll want to work on your communications and business skills. "Most farriers who fail in their own business do so not because they're poor farriers, but because they can't communicate well with their clients or because they can't handle the business concerns," says Danvers Child of the American Farrier's Association (AFA).

At a Glance

Fit horses with shoes

  • Farriers may need to offer more than just shoeing services
  • The American Farrier's Association has about 2,300 members
  • On-the-job training and certification is recommended