Horses are a big industry up in the great white north and there are several major schools that train the farriers who service them. As a practical consideration, Canada is a big country and unless you’re very fortunately located close to the school of your dreams, you’ll have to think about moving to pursue your education. Fortunately, many schools also have or have connections to some kind of accommodation. Here’s a quick guide to what Canada has to offer aspiring farriers:
Alberta Foothills Farrier School provides an intensive five-day farrier course that teaches the basics of hoof mechanics, trimming and shoeing. Conformation, lameness issues and proper trimming techniques are taught as well as cold shoeing. Practical work is emphasized. There’s a maximum of five people per course so that students can receive one on one instruction. For further information, see the website at www.foothillsfarrierschool.com.
Lakeland College’s Continuing Education program offers two weekend-long farrier courses: Basic Hoof Care for Horses and Introductory Farrier. Both are designed for people who just want to learn proper hoof management. The Basic Hoof Care course teaches anatomy and physiology, equine disease and conformation, as well as how to trim and balance a hoof. It’s a prerequisite for the Introductory Farrier course, which adds education in hoof conformation, movement analysis and shoe shaping. Visit www.lakelandcollege.ca/academics/continuing-edu/course/con_ed05021103.aspx to learn more.
Olds College has an Advanced Farrier Science Certificate as part of their Animal Sciences program. The course is designed for future professional farriers. It covers anatomy, physiology, welding and forging as well as trimming and shoeing with handmade shoes. Business skills are also incorporated into the course of study. Students can expect field trips and practical work in addition to theory. Upon successful completion of the program, students have the option of taking the AFA certification exam. There are prerequisites: students must take college courses in math, biology and English to qualify. The website www.oldscollege.ca/programs/animal-sciences/advanced-farrier-science/index has more details.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University runs a nine-month Advanced Farrier Training Certificate program for students interested in becoming professional farriers. The program progresses through three levels: Basic, which covers anatomy, forging and trimming; Intermediate, which extends student knowledge of forging, physiology and shoeing; and Advanced, which introduces lameness, equine diseases and podiatry to the curriculum. The college recommends that graduates do further practical work with qualified farriers to gain experience. Working farriers interested in learning or developing a specialized skill can also be accommodated in the program. General university admission requirements apply. See www.kpu.ca/calendar/2013-14/trades/advancedfarriertraining-cert.html to learn more.
Maritime Farrier School has a 12-week program that introduces potential farriers to the basic skills needed to successfully trim and shoe a horse. The course uses both theory and practice to teach anatomy, biomechanics, horse handling, tool safety, gait irregularities and corrective trimming and shoeing. Classes take place in the shop as well as on the road and at the school’s home riding facility. A Grade 12 or equivalent education is required, although interested people can apply as mature students. For more information, visit www.maritimefarrierschool.com/index.html.
Farrier Clinics Ontario runs 1-5 day clinics for students at a variety of skill levels. Each clinic is individually tailored to what the student wants to learn, from beginner classes for owners wanting to trim their own horses to advanced sessions for working farriers who’d like to learn specific skills. Five-day courses are offered for people interested in becoming professional farriers. Clinics are limited to 1-2 people per clinic and accommodations are available on site. The school also travels to do group clinics. The website www.farrierclinicsontario.com has the details.
Prairie Farrier School offers 12-16 week courses designed for people wishing to make their careers as professional farriers. Students learn anatomy and physiology, forge and welding techniques, lameness issues, trimming, basic, corrective and therapeutic shoeing. Business education as well as horse handling and tool safety are a part of the curriculum. Classes are lab as well as lecture based, and involve field trips as well as guest lectures. Class size is limited. Their website is www.prairiefarrierschool.com/index.htm.
Each program is unique and looking at what each has to offer gives potential students the chance to evaluate what they want out of their education. Program directors, teachers, students and graduates will all be able to give you an idea of what your experience there could be like and whether the school will fit your needs.