How to become a Farrier

Farriers inspect, trim and shape horses' hooves and make, fit and nail horseshoes, or racing plates or 'tips' for racehorses.

Personal requirements for a Farrier

  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Good eyesight and hearing
  • Enjoy working with horses
  • Awareness of personal and industrial safety
  • Good hand-eye coordination.

Duties & Tasks of a Farrier

Farriers may perform the following tasks:

  • Inspect horses' legs and hooves while they are stationary as well as in motion to check for irregularities, interference, peculiarities in gait (how the horse walks) or abnormalities in size and shape of hooves
  • Talk to the horse owners or trainers to decide on types of shoes and nails required
  • Remove worn or faulty shoes and note wear patterns, foreign bodies, bruising, infections or deformities
  • Examine, clean, trim and shape hooves using knives, hoof cutters and rasps
  • Measure hooves, take a template of each hoof on a piece of cardboard and estimate the length of metal required for the shoes
  • Select and cut metal according to type, size and weight of shoes and type of horse
  • Hold shoes against hooves to determine the amount of shaping required
  • Heat shoes in a forge, shape them on anvils and hammer them to size
  • Place and nail shoes to hooves and check that clips and clenched nails are smooth and lined up with the walls of each hoof
  • Remove steel shoes from horses before they race, replace with light aluminium shoes or 'tips' and replace the steel shoes after the race
  • Work in the areas of corrective or surgical shoeing.

Working conditions for a Farrier

Farriers spend a great deal of time travelling to attend to horses, mainly in country or outer-metropolitan areas. Weekend and after-hours work is often necessary. They must work very quickly and have the ability to handle horses, which may at times be unpredictable or agitated. Farriers usually wear protective equipment.

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