What is a Farrier?
Farriers are part blacksmith and part veterinarian, specializing in equine hoof care and the anatomy of the lower limbs in horses. They are able to watch for signs of disease or other health-related issues such as lameness, and can intervene before a major problem occurs.
While this career is not as prevalent as it once was when horses were used as work animals, this trade is still highly respected and continues to be a necessary part of equine health.
What does a Farrier do?
Farriers are professionals trained to handle horses and fit shoes to their feet. Shoes must be regularly removed, replaced, and inspected in order to keep the feet healthy. Horses typically require re-shoeing every six to eight weeks.
Fitting a horse with shoes requires a lot of patience and strength, as horses are very large, powerful animals.
Before beginning, a farrier will evaluate the horse’s gait, hoof balance, and conformation. They will then lift up the hoof, take the old shoe off, clear out any caked-on mud, trim the hoof, cut out excess hoof walls, dead sole, and dead frog. They will also inspect the general health of the foot.
The horse shoes are fitted uniquely to each animal. A farrier shapes the shoes through cold shoeing (where the metal is beaten into shape while it’s cold), or hot shoeing (where the farrier forges the shoes while the metal is hot).
Improperly fitted shoes can cause a lot of damage to a horse, likewise the right shoes can drastically improve a horse's well-being.
What is the workplace of a Farrier like?
Being a farrier is a very physically demanding job that requires a certain level of strength and fitness. Farriers spend most of their day either outdoors or in a barn, working side by side with horses.
They stand for long periods of time lifting and bending over a horse’s leg. It is said that four hours of farriery is similar to eight hours of construction work.
Some horses can be a bit more temperamental and difficult to work with, which will require more time. Farriers can also specialize in different types of shoeing for specialized horses, such as jumping horses, racehorses, or gaited horses.
Farriers are also known as:
Horseshoe Maker Equine Hoof Caretaker Journeyman Farrier