If a farrier school isn’t right for you, you still have choices. Informal farrier training is one such choice. Do you know a farrier who might be willing to show you the ropes? If so, all you need to do is work up the courage to ask this big favour. If he or she responds with a “yes,” you’re in luck!
Finding a farrier trainer
Since it is a lot to ask someone to teach you this trade (teach you properly, that is), your greatest likelihood of a yes is via personal connection. Now, what do you do if you don’t happen to personally know a farrier? You’ll have to dig a little deeper through your connections. Ask friends, relatives or co-workers if they know one. If so, there’s your connection. Since you don’t know the person, it may be tough to ask, but if you adopt the “It never hurts to ask principle,” it’s not a big deal if they say no. And if you do get a “no,” it’s no problem. Just tell them it’s no big deal and that you thought you’d ask just in case. No harm done! And you’ve even made a new connection in the field that might come in handy down the road.
Sweetening the deal
Offering your labour to a farrier would make his or her job easier and improve the likelihood that you’ll receive an affirmative response. Can you take care of the animals or do some other maintenance tasks? If there’s a vegetable garden, can you help out with that? Think about any way you can offer your assistance, then make sure to mention it.
If you can’t find someone to apprentice you, ask around and find someone who is willing to let you shadow them. Just by standing behind a farrier and watching him or her at work you can pick up a lot. Of course, to actually learn the trade you’ll need the hands-on experience, but you can pick up a lot of knowledge just from shadowing.
You can pay that farrier who you were shadowing, or someone else, to show you the hands-on stuff. You’ll learn quicker than someone who has never seen a farrier at work so you won’t need as long to train. You can then proceed to take some farrier courses or attend horseshoeing school if it feels right for you. Otherwise you can keep on training informally.