Interview with Mark Plumlee of Mission Farrier School13
Tell me a little about your program and school?
Students learn basic barefoot trimming, basic horseshoeing, and advanced shoeing, with particular attention paid to therapeutic systems.
Mission Farrier School produces farrier graduates with the highest rate in the nation (90 percent or more staying in the profession three years or longer). Graduates are able to be successful because they exit class with an in-depth understanding of the needs and functions of the hoof and lower limb. The course outline includes the basic farrier science, plus:
- the biomechanics of the lower limb
- the anatomy of the lower limb, tendons, ligaments, bones, joints
- the importance of a heel first landing
- determining breakover
- what the pivot point for forward movement means to your horse
- how to identify distortion
- how to evaluate lameness
- how to assess anterior/posterior balance
- how to assess medial/lateral balance
- what goes wrong and why
- regular shoeing, performance shoeing, therapeutic shoeing
- application of the EDSS, SoulMax, Clog, and DNP therapeutic systems
- how to correctly understand and trim feet
- understanding the merits and challenges of barefoot
- how to trim for barefoot maintenance and performance
- what shoe to use and why
- how to use the forge and anvil
Mission Farrier School has been in business since 1996.
Who does the instructing and can you tell me about the instructors’ experience?
Mark Plumlee, CJF, RJF, CNBBT, CNBF, CLS, started Mission Farrier School in 1996, after teaching a conventional program at the local state community college. Plumlee has six farrier certifications from three national farrier associations, so is in a unique position to integrate traditional knowledge with more modern, centered farrier science, that focuses on achieving equilibrium around the coffin joint for an increased level of soundness in horses.
What is the student-to-instructor ratio?
Class size is limited to eight students. A telephone interview is required prior to accepting anyone into class. Class is held in a 36 x 72′ professional farrier shop. Each student is assigned his or her own work station, anvil, forge, etc.
It’s an eight-week course, 320 hours of instruction. Class meets Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Extra practice on the anvil/forge, and study is encouraged evenings and weekends. This is an intense, fast paced, professional program that requires a strong work and study ethic. We’re willing to do whatever it takes to see you succeed, but you, the student must be willing to focus, study and work hard. Plainly speaking, this isn’t a program for the lazy.
Do you track what percentage of graduates end up working as farriers? If not, do you have an estimate?
Ninety percent of our graduates are working as farriers. (The national average is just seven percent.)
Are supplies included in the cost of tuition and if so, do students get to keep the supplies?
Basic hand tools must be purchased from the dealer of your choice (see website or email for list). Forges and anvils are supplied during class. Books and several DVD sets are included with tuition and are the student’s to keep.
Does your program follow a standard curriculum set out by a farrier association that’s designed to help students achieve certification upon graduation?
We discuss certifications from three national farrier associations, the American Farriers Association, the Guild of Professional Farriers and the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization. We teach to all three, with an emphasis and encouragement towards the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization’s certification, as that certification is more meaningful to maintaining soundness in horses.
For more information on Mission Farrier School, visit www.missionfarrierschool.com.