Farrier

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would make horseshoes and attach them to horses’ hooves. You’d care for animals’ feet and identify any health problems with their legs and feet.

You’d work mainly with horses but also with donkeys and mules. You’d need to have an interest in horses and understand their behaviour.

You would:

  • Discuss and agree the horse’s shoeing requirements with the owner
  • Check the horse's leg, foot and hooves
  • Cut away any excess growth on the hooves and make sure that the horse is properly balanced
  • Choose the most suitable type of shoe for the horse's size, foot condition, type of activity and working conditions
  • Make horseshoes by hand or machine
  • Adjust the shape of the shoes, using a hammer and anvil
  • Fit the horseshoes

You may also work with veterinary surgeons and equine hospitals to provide corrective shoeing and surgical farriery.

As a farrier, you would use some of the same skills as a blacksmith, though blacksmiths can only fit shoes to horses if they are registered as farriers.

Most farriers are self-employed, so you would need to organise your own bookings and order your own stock and tools. You would also need to keep accounts and promote your business.

Working conditions

Hours

Your working hours would vary according to the needs of your customers, and may include some weekends.

Environment

Farriery is very physical work. It involves a lot of bending and lifting, and sometimes working outdoors in all weather conditions.

Travel

You would travel to customers' premises, for example farms, riding schools or stables. A driving licence is necessary, and you will need a vehicle that is suitable for carrying around a mobile workshop, stock and tools.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working with your hands
  • Caring for animals
  • Being physically fit
  • Budgeting
  • Working with numbers

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You need an advanced apprenticeship with an Approved Training Farrier (ATF). You need at least five National 5 qualifications (SCQF level 5).

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths

You will also need

A farrier must be registered with the Farriers' Registration Council (by law). In order to register you must first complete an advanced apprenticeship with an Approved Training Farrier.

A driving licence is usually required.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show work with horses, animals and the rural environment, such as:

  • Skills for Work Rural Skills (SCQF level 4)
  • National Progression Award in Horse Care (SCQF level 4/6)
  • National Certificate in Horse Care (SCQF level 5)