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Farriers trim horses’ hooves. When needed, they forge metal bars into custom-made horseshoes. They also shape commercial shoes to fit.

Also Known As


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) 
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Farriers care for horses’ hooves. They may apply horseshoes. Horseshoes can protect hooves, provide traction, or correct gait. In general, farriers:

  • Trim and shape hooves
  • Look for foot problems
  • Work with veterinarians to fix foot problems
  • Remove old horseshoes
  • Choose the correct shoes and size for the type of work done by the animal, the terrain, and the condition of the hoof
  • Make sure shoes fit well and shape them to fit
  • Nail or glue horseshoes to hooves
  • Work with acrylics and other glues and materials to rebuild hooves that have broken away or been removed due to disease
  • Advise owners about caring for horses’ feet

Farriers also may make tools to help with farrier work.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

Farriers work with horses from all industries including racing, Western riding, English riding, and pleasure riding. Farriers must provide their own tools. Most drive to clients in vehicles set up with portable forges, anvils, and other tools of the trade.

Farriers often work long hours. They mainly work outdoors or in stables. Farriers work year-round. There tends to be less work in the winter.

It takes about an hour to shoe a horse. Farriers must work with speed and confidence. At the same time, they must calm nervous or difficult horses.

The work is physically demanding. There is constant bending and heavy lifting. Injuries may result from kicks, bites, or burns from hot metal. Farriers may also be stepped on or pushed when working with difficult horses.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Farriers need:

  • Good judgment
  • Patience and perseverance
  • Physical stamina
  • Good eyesight and co-ordination
  • Communication skills
  • The ability to work alone
  • An interest in working with horses

They should enjoy:

  • Using tools for tasks that demand precision
  • Using standard techniques and methods
  • Finding innovative solutions to problems
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Minimum Education Varies

Farriers need to know:

  • How to get along with horses
  • Gaits
  • General horse husbandry practices
  • Horse anatomy and physiology as it applies to conformation (bone structure or proportions) and stance
  • How to shoe a horse to make up for or fix a deficiency in conformation
  • How to handle a forge and other tools of the trade

One method of learning the skills of the farrier trade is through 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 are often difficult to set up because of the unpaid time the farrier must put in to train someone.

Since most farriers work for themselves, they also must be motivated to succeed. They should read and attend clinics to keep up with new techniques. They should also have good marketing and business skills.

Related Education

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

Olds College

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Most farriers are self-employed. Many start out by working part time while doing another job. They go full time when they have built up enough clients. They may work in small shops or out of mobile units. They may travel to:

  • Breeding farms
  • Riding stables
  • Acreages, farms and ranches
  • Racetracks
  • Feedlots

Experienced farriers may specialize in a particular type of horse, like show horses, standardbred horses, or pleasure horses.

Advancement generally takes the form of building a larger client base.

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 [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industries listed above
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

American Farrier’s Association (AFA) website:

Western Canadian Farrier’s Association (WCFA) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. 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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