Farriers provide an important service for horse owners and finding one who is properly qualified is essential.
This niche trade, which uses fire and steel, is still in great demand throughout the country.
If you decide the time has now come to embark on horse ownership, then you will inevitably require the services of a farrier.
Horse farriers are part blacksmith, part vet, and very much a specialised trade in their own right.
They have good knowledge of caring for the animal’s lower limbs, as well as the skills to make or custom-modify shoes for a perfect fit.
Not all horses need shoes, but many do.
Examples of reasons they may be needed include heavier workloads, hard or abrasive surfaces, additional traction, or they may have an issue that a shoe can help to address.
Even if the horse doesn’t need shoes, their hoof care is still very important.
A farrier's routine work is primarily hoof trimming and shoeing, for which they have special tools.
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Generally, it is important to trim each hoof so it maintains its proper orientation to the ground.
Becoming a farrier is like any other trade, involving a four-year apprenticeship with on-the-job training as well as TAFE classes.
Farriers need to complete an apprenticeship so they can learn about the anatomy of the horse and the mechanics of its legs.
TAFE NSW specifically point out that it’s essential “you have access to farriery facilities with industry standard tools and equipment” during the Certificate III course.
They also say that students “learn how to handle horses and equipment safely, use a forge, weld using metal arc, gas metal arc and oxy acetylene, use power tools, use, maintain, repair, and manufacture hand tools, establish foot care and shoeing plans for horses, and keep records” since many of them will be working for themselves once they are qualified.
Due to the very specialised skills and knowledge required to do the job properly, it is important that you ensure the farrier you hire is a qualified tradesperson, or working under the supervision of one.