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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 $64,686.00
  • Avg. Wage $30.13
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 1,700
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Blacksmith, Horseshoer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Other Trades and Related Occupations (7383) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Trades and Related Occupations (H523) 
  • 2011 NOC: Other trades and related occupations, n.e.c. (7384) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
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.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 08, 2016

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

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.

Other trades and related occupations, n.e.c.

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $16.03 $42.46 $23.70 $20.00
Overall $22.10 $42.46 $30.13 $27.00
Top $23.84 $42.46 $33.21 $33.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 08, 2016

American Farrier's Association (AFA) website:

Western Canadian Farrier's Association (WCFA) website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports 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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