How to Become a Farrier

How to Become a Farrier
How to Become a Farrier

Becoming a farrier is a big commitment, so before jumping in headfirst, it’s best to do some thorough research and test the waters first. Josh Emsley, a full-time second generation farrier, writes that assessing oneself is an important first step before finding out how to become a farrier.

Is farriery right for you?

Four hours of farriery is equivalent to eight hours of hard construction work, so you have to know whether you’re up for the job. You also have to realize that this job brings danger since even friendly horses can be spooked. So if you’re working closely with horses, you better know what you’re doing!

For this reason, Emsley suggests asking a farrier if he or she can let you shadow them and help out with some basics of the farrier trade. Doing this will give you a good feel for what a typical day as a farrier is like. The initial months, year or even more will take a lot of adjustment as your body gets used to the physical work and new body positions that you’re working in.

Farriery is a tough physical job, but that doesn’t mean it’s limited to a particular type of person. Though a certain amount of fitness is required, men and women of all backgrounds become farriers, so as long as you’re motivated, work hard and love horses, you can too! If you’re still deciding whether to get into farriery or not, read “Is farriery right for me?”

Different paths to become a farrier

Legally working as a farrier in the UK requires accreditation through the National Farrier Training Agency (see their website for details). In other countries, accreditation is not required, which means there’s a much greater level of freedom in becoming a farrier.

Since farriery has become a more specialized trade than in years past, there’s more reason than ever to take the time to get quality experience before working as a farrier. Since it’s a hands-on job, experience is paramount. That initial experience is typically gained either through school or through an apprenticeship.

Farrier school

The level of experience you gain from a farrier school will be dependent on the length and quality of your program. Any experience you gain after that will be up to you. Read “How to choose a school” for more information, then browse through the school directory to find the right school for you. Remember that school is just a start to your experience.


If you have the opportunity to do an apprenticeship, it’s a good idea to do so as it offers an opportunity to gain hands-on experience and will make it easier for you to find work. Some learn how to become a farrier only by apprenticing while others do a combination of schooling and apprenticing or just schooling.

It’s important to note that if you choose to learn solely through an apprenticeship you’ll be learning the way one person does things and may pick up his bad habits. If you attend a school, that may be the case as well if there’s just one instructor, but if there are multiple instructors and you have the opportunity to attend different clinics and workshops you’ll be exposed to a variety of new ideas and methods, which will expand your tool belt of possibilities.

Apprenticing can be done at any point. Some feel that you’ll get more from school if you apprentice first (or shadow at least) since you’ll already know the basics and will be better able to understand what you’re taught from your own experience. Read the “Farrier apprenticeships” page to find out what to look for in an apprenticeship.


Though certification is only legally required to work as a farrier in the UK, it’s still a good idea to get voluntary certification even if you don’t need it since it assures a certain level of competence, which will make it easier to promote your services when soliciting potential clients—a bonus particularly when you’re first starting out. Be aware that not all certifications are considered equal, so visit the “Farrier certification” page to start your research into the different certifications and choose wisely.

Career vs. job

If you’re looking at farriery as a job rather than a career, the decision to become a farrier won’t require as much long-term foresight. But if you’re thinking long-term you’ll want to think of your longevity. It’s a demanding job, so the more skilled you are the easier you’ll make your life and the more you’ll appreciate your job.

Start-up costs

There are some start up costs to becoming a farrier. If going the school route, there’s school tuition and living expenses and transportation costs while in school. If apprenticing, living expenses still need to be taken care of. There are also a number of tools required to work as a farrier, though some schools may let you keep the tools you use while in school. Visit the “Farrier supplies” page to get an idea of how much you will need to spend in tools.

On your way

Once you’ve done your research to determine whether farriery is right for you and have assessed if you can fund the start-up costs, the next step is deciding how you’d like to gain the required knowledge and experience to become a farrier. Read through the “Education Guide” for ideas. All the best with your journey!

An informative video on how to become a farrier:

NEXT PAGE: What is farrier science >>

  • Akabar khan
    Akabar khan February 13, 2021 at 12:59 AM

    I am work as a farrier in saudi arabia but now i want to work in canada. Pls suggest me how to work in canada as farrier

  • Aaron
    Aaron February 13, 2021 at 1:02 AM

    I know i am capable of doing farrier work, what concerns me is how to get work…..any suggestions?

    • Katie
      Katie February 13, 2021 at 1:04 AM

      Just helping a friend of mine out with a career change. This was a concern he had. As a horse owner myself it’s all about trust and quality of work. Don’t wait for people to contact you, drop off your business card at local barns and tack stores. Visit horse shows – if a shoe comes off guess who will be there to put it back on just in time for the riders next round? YOU! Offer discounted rates to first time clients. When you are working on a horse and if the client is there, share your knowledge with them, have a treat for the horse, even if you’re just pretending get to know the horse and client Hope this helps.

    • Deez
      Deez February 13, 2021 at 1:16 AM

      Ask around

    • Tim
      Tim February 13, 2021 at 1:28 AM

      In reply to Aaron.

      If you have not been trained by a professional farrier, I would strongly suggest going to a farrier school. I went to Shurshod where I learned to trim, shoe and correct problems. I also learned ways to advertise my business that didn’t cost a lot of money.

  • Richard Gould
    Richard Gould February 13, 2021 at 1:03 AM

    Word of mouth is the best referral – offer incentives to current customers that refer you.

  • Marie
    Marie February 13, 2021 at 1:17 AM

    Are there any online courses? I am looking to do farrier work on mine own horses as well as my friends.

    • Tim
      Tim February 13, 2021 at 1:26 AM

      In reply to Marie.

      Marie, It takes time to learn how to properly trim a horse. Online courses cannot do justice to all the variables you may run into. I did not know half of the problems I have dealt with even existed before I attended Shurshod. It is well worth it to spend the time and money to learn first hand from professionals.

  • Katelyn Roeser
    Katelyn Roeser February 13, 2021 at 1:18 AM

    I live in CT and either there are no schools or I just can find them…. what else can I do ?

  • Mariah
    Mariah February 13, 2021 at 1:29 AM

    I am thinking of my near future career. I am undecided, but I want to do something that involves horses. I love horses and I think what the farrier does when he comes on out is amazing, and how fast he does it is so astonishing. Can someone give me a good career good enough for me?

  • Amanda
    Amanda February 13, 2021 at 1:30 AM

    I am looking for a basic 2 week, non-shoeing course in Wisconsin. We have been unable to get a reliable farrier out to our farm and I want to learn the basics so we can maintain our horses hooves. Does anyone know of any places? Or, does anyone know of reliable farriers in Central Wisconsin?

  • Mario
    Mario February 13, 2021 at 1:31 AM

    Yep number 10. It never cesaes to amaze me how many times in winter you pull up only to find some idiot smiling at you and saying (wail hosing the horse) just getting the mud off for you. so now you have wet legs, wet feet, wet muddy slippery ground, steam and thats not counting the minus 3 deg early morning start.

  • jessie
    jessie February 3, 2023 at 12:34 PM

    what are the Qualifications for a farrier

  • jessie
    jessie February 3, 2023 at 12:35 PM

    what are the job Qualifications of a farrier

Add Comment
comment url