Texas has a few school options for those interested in becoming farriers, and the state’s many farms, ranches and large breeding operations offer plenty of opportunity to put what you learn into practice. From weekend workshops for enthusiasts to undergraduate degrees, these programs will get you started in the field of farriery and blacksmithing.
Austin Community College
Austin Community College’s Welding Department has a range of courses on metalsmithing, forging, welding and toolmaking. These courses can be used towards a Certificate in Metalsmithing, or as part of a 2-year Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology. The Certificate is a 3-semester long program designed to give students entry level skills in the field of metalsmithing, while the Associate degree is geared towards students intending to pursue careers in welding and production. Visit http://www.austincc.edu/welding/index.php for more information.
Dallas Heritage Village
Dallas Heritage Village offers a two-day class on frontier blacksmithing basics including coal fire building and toolmaking. Classes run on weekends in four-hour blocks and have a cap of three students per class to allow for plenty of hands-on practice. Family classes are also an option. You can find their website at: http://www.dallasheritagevillage.org/Blacksmithing.aspx.
Sul Ross State University
Sul Ross State University offers blacksmithing as well as basic and advanced farrier training courses as part of their Equine Science program. The courses are comprehensive and include anatomy and physiology, lameness, trimming and shoeing techniques, forge work and horse handling. Students can use these courses towards a Bachelor of Science degree with a specialization in Equine Science. The program prepares students for careers in animal agriculture. See http://www.sulross.edu/section/32/animal-science.
Texas Horseshoeing School
Texas Horseshoeing School specializes in farrier work and horseshoeing under the direction of instructor John Burgin. The school offers three programs:
- Introduction to Farrier Science – a 2 week, 80-hour course that teaches comparative equine anatomy and physiology, as well as basic corrective shoeing with pre-made and also handmade shoes. A background in horses is “essential,” and the classes are designed to be practical.
- Intermediate Farrier Science – a 4-week, 160-hour course that covers the above, plus pathological equine conditions and more corrective shoeing.
- Advanced Farrier Science – a 6 week, 240-hour course designed to give its graduates entry level farrier skills including the evaluation of lameness issues and the selection of shoes for problem horses.
Read our Interview with John Burgin of the Texas Horseshoeing School to answer some basic questions about the school and how they operate. Visit the school’s website at http://www.texashorseshoeingschool.com.
For more information about program schedules, fees, accreditation, internships and continuing education possibilities, see the websites listed and contact the program directors. When you talk to any school, be sure to ask lots of questions to find the best match for you. Happy studying!
image 1: Wikimedia Commons; image 2: M. Franke (Creative Commons BY)