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I'm 19 years old, female, in college but kind of hit a wall. Due to some stupid political crap a few years ago my college plans didn't go as planned. I was accepted into Purdue's pre-vet program my senior year but couldn't go due to some tax gaffes and state residency problems. Indiana thinks I am a Florida resident and Florida thinks I am an Indiana resident. I'm in limbo. :/ I'm just kind of biding my time at a community college until Indiana decides I am a resident again. I'm not sure if it's late teenage angst or what but I am completely fed up with college and sick of feeling punished for something that was beyond my control. I'm having second thoughts on becoming a vet anyways. 8+ years is an insanely long time and I'm going to have college loans out the *** if I follow through with it. I don't like the college scene anyways. My farrier and I are pretty good friends and he's been talking to me a lot about how I should try becoming a farrier. I handle horses well and am physically able to do the work. He thinks I'd be great at it, and he says there should be more female farriers out there anyways. So, I've got some questions for any farriers out there... Where did you go to school? How long did it take and how much did it cost? How long did it take for you to become established and form a good clientele base? I know income will vary from location to location... but what is your annual income? (I'm not looking to become ms. money bags... I just want to be able to support myself with extra breathing room... if you know what I mean.) How many hours would you say you work a day? And how much of that is spent driving? If you could start over, would you be a farrier again? Do you, in any way, regret it? That's another thing making me second guess becoming a vet. I've met quite a few vets who say they wish they would have become something else. Thanks in advance.
I went to an intensive farrier school more than 20 years ago, so some of my answers won't help you as far as costs. When I went, I attended for only 2 months. It was a 6 day a week, 10 hours a day program (sometimes on Saturday we cut it to 8 hours). When class/shoeing stopped for the day, we'd go home, shower, fix dinner, relax for a short time, then go back to the school and work in the forge. People asked me what I did while I was in Oklahoma, and I could honestly answer that I didn't do a lot outside of school. Back in 1988 the program I went to cost $2,000, which included shared room but not board. Your real education starts when you get out of school. I am always amazed at horse owners that go to weekend clinics and know how to trim a horse. I still have to study crooked legs hard to figure out what is best for the horse. It takes about 5 years to develop a good business. Your first clients will be those who are looking for the cheapest farrier, never satisfied with anyone, have rank horses, don't like to pay promptly, and only get their horses hooves done once or twice a year whether they need it or not. I had almost 100% client turnover from year 1 to 5, but I have had a very loyal clientele since. When I became injured and was out of work for a few months I only lost 2 clients. One I had worked for only one time, and the other I was just as happy to lose. You can make a fair income shoeing horses, but don't depend on it as your only income for the first few years. You will find you are working for people that do not have all weather shoeing situations, and a week of rain or snow can kill your income. When I started I did tons of weekends and evenings. It really didn't matter to me since I had time off during the week. When I reached a certain level of clientele, I stopped doing Sundays and then eventually Saturdays, except for emergencies. You truck and continuing education will be your biggest expenses. You also have to realize that you have no tangible benefits. You must pay for your health insurance, you have no paid vacation, workman's comp, unemployment, retirement, or sick leave. You have to also think if having a family is in your near future. I did not have kids, and I am not sure how far into a pregnancy I could have shod, but if I had, and something had happened to my baby I am not sure that I could have lived with myself. I have recently given up shoeing full time. I am about 2/3 to 3/4 full time now, but I work every Tuesday and every other Friday in a farrier supply store. I have taken a lot of wear and tear on my body, and probably the most on my hands (you probably thought I was going to say back). Cutting back that much has done a world of good for my arthritis. I would hate to think I would be having to shoe horses full time when I was 60! I know at 19 you are not thinking of menopause, but believe when you do a physical job in the summer and the hormones start doing weird things, it cannot be ignored. I would say if you are competent handling horses, and even better at tolerating the check writers, you can do well. I would suggest that you ride with multiple farriers when you leave school. You can learn something from each one, whether it is in trimming, shoeing, business practices, client relations or a whole host of things you would never think about. I can say that I do not "love" horses like I used to, though I still own horses. My farrier's back does not appreciate a dressage sitting trot on my warmblood. Yes, I would do it again. I have written you a novel, and still have more to say. Please feel free to e-mail me. The American Farriers Journal has a list of schools in their Supplies and Services guide, and I can send you a copy if you need it.
No he doesnt. the farrier can as a rule refit the sneakers if they don't seem to be very worn. typically they cost much less to do that so if he's charging the equal then you're regularly getting new sneakers. If you're getting new sneakers always you have to be doing plenty of labor at the horse... Michigan the pony wears his sneakers inconsistently or is a heavier horse inflicting quicker put on. have a talk in your farrier approximately what he's doing in your horse and why, they honestly recognize you taking an curiosity in what they're doing for you.
Contact Hollywood Thrill on here SHes studying to become a farrier.. Shes full of lots of info!