Simply put, farriers take care of horses' feet. They trim and balance a horse's hoof to make sure that the shoes are a perfect fit. They must have a keen knowledge of equine anatomy and the physiology of the lower limb to care for horses' feet, and they must know how to care for injured and diseased hoofs. They can work on farms and ranches. They usually are self-employed and live in rural areas. Some farriers who work at racetracks can live in or near big cities.
What is the difference between a farrier and a blacksmith?
In Colonial times, farriers and blacksmiths were synonymous. In addition to making shoes for horses and caring for horses' feet, farriers made and repaired tools. Today, farriers specialize in horseshoeing and foot care for horses. Although blacksmiths can make horseshoes, they now mainly make and fix tools.
Because they are self-employed, farriers usually charge by the visit. Rates vary according to location. They can earn about $35,000 to $60,000 a year, depending on how much work they do.
If you are interested in becoming a farrier, you can attend a trade school. Most offer six-month programs in equine science with a concentration in anatomy, equine care, and forge work. Some schools also offer basic marketing skills for farriers. Knowing how to publicize a business is always a smart idea for those who are self-employed.
After completing the course, students can get certified through programs with the American Farrier's Association. For more information on becoming a farrier or to learn about school programs and certification, contact the American Farrier's Association at