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Farriery is a skilled, regulated, profession dealing with the shoeing of all equine feet and making horseshoes. There are around 2,500 registered farriers in the UK working independently as experts in making and fitting horseshoes for all types and sizes of horses.
Farriery is regulated under the Farriers (Registration) Act 1975 and so farriers must train to become registered in order that they can be self-employed. Horses’ feet must be inspected and cared for regularly, as faulty feet or shoes can affect a horse's mobility, comfort and health.
Horseshoes can be made by hand or by machine and can be fitted straight away whilst hot, or later on when cold. Farriers are trained in fitting horseshoes and can adjust the fit of the shoes as required, depending on the purpose of the shoe. Some horses may have abnormal feet so will need a particular shaped shoe, whilst others may require specialist shoes for racing, or for walking on tarmac.
In order to prepare a horse’s foot and to fit a shoe, a farrier will:
Farriers work closely with horse owners and vets, and can have a variety of clients. As registered farriers work freelance, they spend a lot of time booking clients, which can include:
There are many opportunities for work as a farrier and demand for their services is on-going. Building good relationships with contacts and relevant experience can go a long way, and training to become registered is absolutely crucial.