The American Southwest features a variety of opportunities for people interested in making horseshoeing a career. Many universities and colleges have farrier classes built into their programs, but there are also a number of private schools that specialize in preparing students for success in the farrier business.
Tucson School of Horseshoeing gives 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12-week courses. The 2-week option introduces the basics of trimming and shoeing, while the longer advanced courses are for those wanting to pursue a career as a farrier. At the end of the 8- and 12-week courses, students may attempt the written test for certification with the American Farriers Association and the test for the Brotherhood of Working Farriers. Classes combine theory with forge and field work. Students have the opportunity to learn to make and apply shoes for a range of disciplines and equine conditions. Training in horse handling, nutrition and business is also provided.
Feather River College offers a couple of farrier science classes as part of their larger Equine Studies degree. Students learn about anatomy and physiology, horseshoeing principles, common lameness issues and how to assess horseshoeing jobs. The courses are geared towards students interested in taking up professional jobs in the equine industry.
Merced Community College has an 18-week horseshoeing program at a beginner’s and an advanced level. The college combines weekly lectures and lab hours for practical instruction, in addition to field trips. The course includes instruction on trimming and shoeing, forge work, anatomy and physiology, horse psychology and work safety. Graduates earn a certificate of completion and a preparation course for farrier certification is also offered.
Students can access additional classes such as welding, horse husbandry and animal nutrition through the college. They can also use the program for credit towards an agricultural degree.
NOTE: as of April 2014, the course was not currently on offer, although their website advises potential students to keep checking back for availability.
Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School runs 8-week programs several times a year. The courses are designed for people interested in becoming professional farriers.
Work is focused on three areas: lectures, forge work and trimming/shoeing. Classroom lectures cover anatomy, physiology, conformation, gait analysis, lameness and best business practices. Forge work includes basic and specialty shoeing. The trimming and shoeing section of the course begins with the basics of horse handling and progresses to advanced shoeing techniques such as hoof reconstruction. The school’s forge area remains open seven days a week for additional practice time.
Red Rock Horseshoeing School runs 8-week Farrier Science courses that prepare students to become professional farriers. Classes are small (five students per course) and feature in-class instruction, practical work, visiting lecturers and field trips. Hands-on experience in forge work and practical horseshoeing is emphasized and training in all aspects of starting a business is also provided. Classes work towards certification with the American Farrier’s Association.
Mesalands Community College has a Farrier Science program with two levels of certification: an Associate of Applied Science degree and an Occupational Certificate.
The 2-year Farrier Science degree provides instruction on all aspects of a horseshoeing career, from anatomy to business management. Practical experience with horse handling, forging and welding, basic, therapeutic and pathological shoeing is provided.
The single semester Occupational Certificate teaches students the principles behind balanced trimming and shoeing and gives hands-on experience in forge work, welding and corrective shoeing. The course is designed to be equivalent to private programs at independent horseshoeing schools.
Utah State University offers semester as well as week-long intensive Farrier Science classes as part of their Equine Science and Management program. The classes are open both to students and to the general public. Lower leg and hoof anatomy is taught, as well as basic trimming, shoeing and forge work. Classes count for credit towards degree requirements if you’re a student. Their Equine Teaching and Extension Team also hosts clinics and presentations in the area for continuing education. See their website to find out more:
Most websites feature a more specific overview of the courses, as well as answers to frequent questions. Get in touch with program coordinators or directors for additional information so you can make the best choices to launch your career in the field of horseshoeing.