Friend of farriers here!
GOOD farriers can always find work, and if you are also a reasonable sensible business person, you can make pretty good money.
The more education and professional certification you have, the better. Finding a mentor or acting as a farrier's apprentice after you attend a horseshoer's school is the best route in my opinion.
Network with all the other farriers in the area; they are your colleagues and support network, not your competitors.
The most successful farriers have good customer service skills.
The downsides -
You're self-employed. No benefits, no disability, no retirement. You ain't working, you ain't getting paid.
Physically extremely demanding. Most farriers I know have had at least one back surgery, it's a job that takes a big physical toll.
Can be dangerous. Even more than the wear and tear, there's the risk of serious injury from handling horses. The person who owns the horse that hurt you will feel terrible, and may send you a get well card or bring you a casserole, but they won't pay your bills while you recover. (See "self-employed", above.)
Your clientele tends to be, well, let's just say...eccentric.
I think being a female farrier is much more accepted than it was 20 years ago, there are a couple in my area who are well respected and have a good clientele. Some horsepeople prefer female farriers because of the stereotype that they'll be more gentle or sympathetic to the horses.
The biggest obstacle for a women wanting to become a farrier? Upper body strength. Even very fit, athletic women frequently don't have the upper body strength necessary and struggle during training and apprenticeship.
If you want to consider this as a career choice, I would spend some time at the gym with the help of a trainer getting stronger before you atttempt it.
Last edited by maura; 04-12-2013 at 02:10 PM.