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Occupational Profile

Farrier

Farriers trim horses' hooves and, when necessary, forge metal bars into custom-made horseshoes or shape commercial shoes to fit and suit a particular horse.

  • Avg. Salary $49,890.00
  • Avg. Wage $27.84
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
Also Known As

Blacksmith, Horseshoer

NOC & Interest Codes
The Farrier is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Blacksmiths
NOC code: 7266.1
OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to shape metal using power-forging machinery

METHODICAL

Interest in heating metal items in forges and in forge-welding structural components

INNOVATIVE

Interest in compiling information to forge special tools from metal and devise special jigs and fixtures

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 08, 2016

Farriers care for horses' hooves and may apply horseshoes for protection, traction or therapeutic gait correction. In general, farriers:

  • trim and shape hooves
  • look for any existing or developing foot problems, and work in co-operation with equine veterinarians
  • remove old horseshoes and select the correct shoes, shoe size and type of shoe for the type of work done by the animal, the type of terrain and the condition of the hoof
  • shape shoes (hot or cold) to fit a horse's hooves
  • nail horseshoes to hooves or glue shoes on if hooves cannot accommodate nailing
  • work with acrylics, other adhesives and materials to rebuild horses' hooves that have broken away or had to be removed due to disease 
  • ensure that shoes fit properly
  • educate horse owners about caring for horses' feet.

Shoeing a horse usually takes about an hour. Farriers must work quickly and confidently and, at the same time, reassure nervous horses and deal with troublesome ones.

Farriers also may fashion equipment such as hoof picks, fire pokes and fire shovels out of bars of steel.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 08, 2016

Most farriers drive from client to client in vehicles equipped with portable forges, anvils and the tools of their trade. They often work long hours outdoors or in stables.

The work is physically demanding, requiring constant bending and heavy lifting (over 20 kilograms). Occupational hazards include burns from working with hot metal and injuries resulting from kicks, bites, being stepped on or pushed, especially when working with unco-operative horses.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 08, 2016

Farriers need the following characteristics:

  • physical stamina
  • interest and good judgment in working with horses
  • patience and perseverance
  • good eyesight and co-ordination
  • excellent communication skills for dealing with horse owners
  • the ability to work alone
  • a willingness to keep up to date through professional development activities (for example, reading, attending clinics).

They should enjoy using tools to perform tasks requiring precision, using standard techniques and methods, and finding innovative solutions to problems (for example, dealing with problem horses).

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 08, 2016

Farriers need a working knowledge of:

  • how to get along with horses
  • gaits
  • general horse husbandry practices
  • horse anatomy and physiology as it applies to conformation and stance
  • how to shoe a horse to compensate for or correct a deficiency in conformation
  • how to handle a forge and the tools of the trade.

Since most farriers are self-employed, they also must be self-motivated and have good marketing and business skills. Farriers are required to provide their own tools (for example, an anvil, gas forge, hand tools).


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Another method of learning the skills of the farrier trade is to arrange an informal apprenticeship with an experienced farrier. The length of such a training program would depend on the person's skills and desire to learn. However, informal apprenticeships often are difficult to set up because farriers are paid for the work done, not the time required, and it takes time to train someone.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 08, 2016

Most farriers are self-employed. Many start out by working part time while employed in another job and go full time when their practice has grown sufficiently. They may work in small shops or from mobile units and travel to:

  • breeding farms
  • riding stables
  • acreages, farms and ranches
  • racetracks
  • feedlots.

Farriers work year round with working and pleasure stock and with race horses but there tends to be less work in the winter months.

Experienced farriers may specialize in a particular type of horse (for example, show horses, standardbred horses or pleasure horses). Advancement generally takes the form of building a larger clientele.

Farriers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 7384: Other Trades and Related Occupations. In Alberta, 79% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Very few Albertans are employed in the Blacksmiths and Die Setters occupational group.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 08, 2016

Farriers are self-employed and must pay operating expenses from their gross earnings. Their net earnings vary considerably depending on the geographic area and the farrier's reputation and business skills.

Farriers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 7384: Other trades and related occupations, n.e.c.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Other trades and related occupations, n.e.c. occupational group earned on average from $20.17 to $34.62 an hour. The overall average wage was $27.84 an hour. For more information, see the Other trades and related occupations, n.e.c. wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • Science
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Fabrication
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 08, 2016

American Farrier's Association (AFA) website: www.theamericanfarriers.com

Western Canadian Farrier's Association (WCFA) website: www.wcfa.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 23, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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