What Does A Farrier Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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The farrier usually travels to farms and trims and puts shoes on horses. They usually have clients that they see regularly.

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Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

A farrier is also called a blacksmith and this person specializes in foot care for horses. Farriers trim horses’ hooves and make horseshoes for them. They diagnose hoof issues such as abscesses and bruises. They visit each horse once every four to six weeks. This job can be done at local farms, breeding farms, or in show horse stables. A farrier needs to understand the anatomy of a horse’s foot to make sure that they maintain the proper shape and length.

What they do

The farrier usually travels to farms and trims and puts shoes on horses. They usually have clients that they see regularly.

Trim Horses’ Hooves

The most important part of a farrier’s job is to trim the horses’ hooves every month. Horses’ hooves are similar to fingernails and they constantly grow. Without proper trimming, they can cause a horse to be unable to walk properly. The farrier will trim the outside and cut out excess, much the way that people take care of their fingernails.

Make, Mold, and Put Shoes on a Horse

Many horses wear shoes. Some are show horses or have a job that requires a shoe and others need the shoes for support. The farrier makes the shoe by heating it up and shaping it to fit the horse. They use nails to fix the shoe to the horse’s hoof. Some specialized shoes require glue and there are a lot of different techniques that a farrier can use to shoe a horse.

Meet with a Veterinarian

If a horse has a lameness issue, the vet will often meet with the farrier to make a plan for treatment. Some illnesses, such as founder, require specialized shoes to help the horse heal and be more comfortable. Other times, radiographs show that a horse needs to be trimmed or shod differently because of an injury or another issue.

Keep Records and Bill Clients

Most farriers are self-employed and they need to keep accurate records and bill clients. They should keep records on the horses so that they have them if the horse has an issue down the road. The farrier and the vet will work together and review the horse’s history to diagnose a problem.

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What is the job like


You get to work with horses

If you like horses, you will get to work with them every day. You are doing a job that is critical to their health and survival.

You get to be outdoors

Farriers do not have to spend hours inside behind a desk. They are outside or in a barn every day.

You will meet a lot of people who love horses

You will meet a lot of people because horse farms are busy places.

You get to make horse shoes

If you enjoy welding, you will love being a farrier. You use a forge to heat up metal shoes and then you use your tools to shape them so that they are perfect for the horse.


You spend a lot of time leaning over

You have to lean over most of the day to work with the horse’s feet and this can be hard on your back over time.

You might work long hours

In the spring and summer, horses’ feet grow more than they do in the winter. You might have to trim them more frequently. If you have a busy show farm as a client, you might work long hours during the show season.

Where they work

Racing stable
Breeding farm
Large animal hospital

Most farriers work for themselves and they travel to their clients’ farms every day to trim and shoe the horses. Some farriers have large farms that are clients and they may travel an hour or two to work for the day. Farriers also have jobs in large animal hospitals and in-house for very large farms. They might work for a breeding farm or a racing stable.

How to become one

Step 1: Go to Horseshoeing School

Most farriers work for themselves so it is not a requirement to go to a farrier school. However, it can help to jump start your career. You can check with the American Farrier Association to find out where there are certified programs. You will learn all about the anatomy of a horse’s foot, which is important for your job.

Step 2: Become an Apprentice

Most farriers start out as an apprentice or a helper to an established farrier. You will learn from this person and you will usually round up the hooves after they are trimmed. The farrier will give you responsibilities and teach you what you need to do to branch out on your own.

Step 3: Find Clients

Many farriers begin to take on their own clients while they are still apprentices. You can slowly build your list of clients as you transition from being an apprentice to having your own business.

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Builder

People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

You can read more about these career personality types here.

Farriers love horses. They are energetic, strong, and confident and they love to solve problems. They need to look at a horse and know how the shape of the hoof should be. They are creative and detail-oriented, and they love to build. They are often competitive and attend farrier competitions. They also need to be organized and plan their schedules. They are usually self-employed.

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