The Eastern and mid-Eastern states in the U.S. have a few different options for potential farriers to learn the trade. Some have close ties with veterinary colleges, giving students opportunities to gain experience working with the medical side of the industry. Continuing education and advanced placements are a feature of many of these schools, although the basics are usually covered for the novices, as well. Here’s a sampling of some of the courses available.
Kentucky Horseshoeing School is one of the largest farrier schools in the U.S., and offers a wide range of courses and continuing education. Its introductory 2-week trim course trains horse owners in the basics of farrier work, while the longer 12-week basic, 24-week intermediate, and 36-week courses are geared more towards students who want to make their careers as farriers. Anatomy, biomechanics, lameness, remedial and therapeutic shoeing, forge work, welding and industry education are all part of the course content. Clinics, independent studies and training for competitions are offered for the more advanced student looking to improve their skills. More information about the school can be found at http://www.kentuckyhorseshoeingschool.com/
Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine runs two farrier courses. The General Farrier Short Course takes 16 weeks, and the Advanced Farrier Course is 1 week in length. As part of Cornell’s Equine Hospital, students have regular interaction with veterinarians, and could be involved in special lameness cases referred by other local vets. Class sizes are small, with a maximum of three students at a time. The web address is www.vet.cornell.edu/education/farrier/
Far Hills Forge trains farriers wanting to improve on specific skills or prepare for certification with the AFA or BWFA, in addition to students wishing to pursue a career as a farrier. The basic program for people who want to learn the trade is six months and the advanced program for working farriers is one week. Class sizes are limited to only three students. The school also offers a video-based course that can be taken from home. Their website is: http://www.farhillsforge.com/farrierschool.html
Pennsylvania Institute for Horseshoeing has a 6-week basic horseshoeing course to prepare potential farriers for careers in the field. The school focuses on small class sizes and leans towards the practical, with 90 percent field study and 10 percent lecture. The basics of anatomy are covered, as well as trimming, shoeing, forge and welding techniques, gait analysis and horsemanship. Diplomas are issued upon successful completion of the course. Their website http://www.pafarrierschool.com/ has more details.
Forging Ahead is a farrier group offering internships to students. The student’s time is split between several farriers in the group, and can take place both in the shop and on the road. The group is involved with several equine clinics, and students have the opportunity to work closely with local veterinarians, including at the Marion Dupont Equine Medical Center and Virginia Equine Imaging. For more information, visit http://www.forgingahead.us/Internship%20Program.html
Meredith Manor Farrier School runs two training programs for students intending on becoming equine professionals. Their 12-week Shoeing Short Course includes education on anatomy, lameness, gait analysis, basic and corrective shoeing techniques and shoe making. The more in-depth 36-week Equine Science Master with Farrier Emphasis prepares students for certification testing. Each program requires additional course work in horse care and in areas of equine studies selected by the student. Both programs are intended for students who have some knowledge of the field already, although the individual introductory trimming and shoeing courses can be taken by anyone. See http://www.meredithmanor.edu/farrier/default.asp for further details.
There’s a variety of opportunities to explore in this part of the country. Talking to individual school directors, past students and instructors will give you a better idea of what each has to offer, and if each will be able to give you exactly the kind of education you’re looking for.
image 1: Wikimedia Commons; image 2: OliBac (Creative Commons BY)