Becoming A Farrier



Farrier Certification.   To become a farrier in the U.S. does not require a certification. However, the American Farrier Association (AFA) does have a certification testing program for rating levels  The Arkansas Horseshoeing School teaches and trains towards the AFA certification standards and hosts AFA certification testing a couple of times a year.  After successful completion of any of the AHS courses, you receive a certificate of completion from the school.

The vast majority of graduates of horseshoeing schools who do an apprenticeship will succeed as farriers. There’s a pretty poor success rate for farriers who try to go straight from school into business.   We feel so strongly about the advantages of an apprenticeship that we’ll use our network in the field to assist you in finding one.

You can make a very good living as a farrier if you’re also good at running a business. The Arkansas Horseshoeing School includes business management in the course content, but we want to stress that you need to be a self-starter and willing to work hard.  If you want to join the ranks of farriers earning over $100,000, you’ll need to work long hours and then often go home and spend time catching up on your paperwork.

You have job security as a horseshoer.  As long as there are horses around, their owners will always need a farrier with the skills to care for their horse’s feet.   There will always be a demand for skilled, professional farriers.

You’ve probably got what it takes to become a farrier. People of all ages and with widely different backgrounds become successful horseshoers.   You need to be in reasonably good health (horseshoeing is physically demanding) and you need to be able to read and understand written material.  We hope you come to a horseshoeing school with a love of horses and a desire to work with them.   We can’t think of a better reason to become a farrier.

There’s no greater predictor of success than being very motivated and willing to work hard.  Add perseverance to that and you’re almost certain to have great success.   When you’re getting started your body will take some time to get used to the new activities, but it’ll get easier pretty quickly—your hands will toughen up, muscle memory will kick in and you’ll become much more fit with all the exercise.

Strength isn’t as important as you might think. Some people still have an image of horseshoers as the large, muscular blacksmiths in old pictures.   More and more women of average stature are becoming farriers and doing a great job.

Trying to rely on brute strength alone creates problems for farriers, putting more strain on their bodies and increasing the chance they’ll get hurt.   They’ll often create behavioral problems with the horses they work on as well.  At the Arkansas Horseshoeing School, we teach you how to “work smart” so  you get along with horses and preserve your physical health.

There’s a fair amount of classwork and studying involved in learning to be a farrier. Anatomy is an example of a subject that requires you to crack the books a fair amount.    You may not love this part of it in the beginning, but it’s essential to being a competent farrier.  Once it all begins to come together, for instance in therapeutic shoeing, you’ll find it very interesting.  Put in as much time as necessary with the books so you have the foundation knowledge you need.

If you want to be a farrier, you need to learn how to use a forge. There are a few people shoeing horses who insist cold shoeing is easier and just as effective as hot shoeing.   That’s not true.  Hot shoeing takes less muscle power because the shoe is softer and easier to shape.   More importantly, you can do a much more precise job of achieving a perfect union between the shoe and the horse’s foot.

American Farrier Association (AFA)  certification testing program for rating levels


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