Careers for fragile bodied individuals - The Horse Forum
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  • 5 Post By carshon
  • 2 Post By tinyliny
  • 3 Post By Acadianartist
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-26-2020, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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Careers for fragile bodied individuals

I've been working with farriers for almost three years now as an apprentice. It was going great! Then I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder which will end up giving me some pretty gnarly joint deterioration. According to my doctor, I'll risk accelerating the process if I'm too hard on them.

Because I'm not the smartest cookie, of course I'm going to continue my apprenticeship and give it a good college try, but I need a backup plan for when the inevitable happens.

Assuming they even exist, what are some low impact, cripple friendly, horse adjacent careers out there? I'd love it if I could keep working on something related to hooves and leg biomechanics. Is there a market for custom hoof boots or something similar?
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-26-2020, 09:29 AM
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Unfortunately, the very nature of all livestock management is physical. whether it be equine, bovine or porcine there is always a very physical aspect of that career choice. Even Vet Techs have a physical job.

I am unsure of your age, but I can tell you that I will be 50 years old in a month. I have spent my entire life playing sports, riding horses, learning to trim my own horses and doing anything and everything I could outdoors. We have a few beef steers and four horses. My physical life has caught up with me as I age - I have had 4 knee surgeries on the same knee (the first one at 18) and have had my first hip replacement in March 2020. Waiting on my second hip replacement hopefully later this year. Knees will be after that. All of those replacements are due to severe Osteoarthritis -at 49. The pain I manage on a daily basis is not something I would wish on anyone else. I honestly don't know how those with cancer or other horrible diseases cope.

Your body has to last you a lifetime - take care of it. Not just because pain sucks but the cost of repairs is not cheap! My hip replacement left me with well over $10K in medical bills after insurance.

Maybe do braiding or blanket cleaning as a side job but find something less harmful to your long term health as your main profession.
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-26-2020, 02:43 PM
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The only thing I can think of is being an x-ray technician for large animals. They only need to carry/operate the equipment and direct the handler on how to position the animal.
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-26-2020, 03:14 PM
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I'm sure you have already considered this, but there is quite a bit connected to one's diet that can positively, or negatively influence joint health and inflammation.
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-27-2020, 05:43 PM
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Learn well, learn lots... Then teach! After being a farrier 20 years, I'll just say DONT just 'wait for the inevitable. It's hard on your body & if you're 'challenged' now, you will really regret it when the aging process also kicks in. And I know, that's not real to young people... Until one day you find 20 years have got behind you...
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-28-2020, 07:23 AM
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I think your options would be either be 1 - to get into the more theoretical aspects of horse care such as horse nutrition. This is an area I find fascinating, and farriers/trimmers quite often end up also being nutrition gurus since hoof health starts with diet. My trimmer has taught me more about horse nutrition than anyone else. Or 2 - you might be into the marketing side of things. You mention hoof boots - that is indeed an area where a lot of recent developments have been made, and likely there will be more to come as the average horse owner realizes that they can just slip on a boot on their horse's hoof when they ride rather than nailing on a metal shoe. Both these options require further training, however, so you might want to pick up some courses in relevant fields.
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-30-2020, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

I'm in my early 20s, so I have time to pick up other skills. It sounds like I'll have a few options.

I'm creatively driven, so I've been working on prototyping glue on shoes that can be easily custom fit to the individual horse. Too many times have I had to modify retail glue ons, or bring a whole plethora of glue ons just to find the most adequate, but never perfect fit... It's almost easier to shape and glue on an aluminum shoe.

If all else fails, I'd love to make mohair tack. Not only is it creative, but I could finally convince my husband to let me buy some pet Angora goats!
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