What farrier school to go to - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 08-18-2014, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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What farrier school to go to

I think this section works, but not 100% sure. It's the closest I could find that wasn't in the off topic area, and this is related to horses. You may want to skip to main question, the rest is just background, but whatever you want.

I'm seriously considering becoming a farrier right now. I'm just going into my last year of high school. I originally wanted to be an equine vet and had a good head start on that, but I decided another 8 years of school after high school wasn't for me. So I looked into other horse jobs, and decided I could be a farrier, and it sounds fun. Nice to be outside, still helping horses, make your own business, and have somewhat of your own schedule.

I've started watching the farrier any time he comes out to do the horses' hooves at the barn where I lease, he's really friendly and always shows me how to do different things. So I figure I've even got a tiny head start in that.

Now my main question, what farrier school should I go to? My 2 best options now I'm guessing are either stay in MN and go the the Minnesota School Of Horseshoeing and take the 24 week course for I believe ~$13,000 with an optional 400 apprenticeship program (why not, right?). Or I can move my plans for where I want to live in the future forward ahead of schedule, and go to the Kentucky Horseshoeing School, which seems to get quite a bit more in depth, but is also 36 weeks and costs $28,000 with a paid year-long apprenticeship. Differences I've noticed between the two are that the KHS uses cadavers and removed cadaver legs, but the MN school of horseshoeing prides itself on only doing live horse work. I like that about the MN one. But the Kentucky one seems to prepare the student much more for having their own business, they have things like public speaking and communicating with the vet and business strategies and other things like that. They also appear to teach sport-specific shoeing. The MN school seems to have one unit of public relations that helps you get the good farrier image, but I doubt they place as much emphasis.

I'm just not sure what level of school I need. Of course the Kentucky school would be better, but costs a bit more than twice as much, is much more involved and probably requires you to be much more serious about it (not that I'm not). Would I be fine with the Minnesota school, or if it's possible, should I go to the Kentucky one?
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post #2 of 16 Old 08-18-2014, 11:27 AM
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Another fellow Minnesotan! :)

A few years ago, I was in your same situation. I really wanted to like the Minnesota Horseshoeing School, but for me, it was not a good fit. A lot of their coursework is spent with coal forges, traditional shoeing techniques, and drive time to each location with horses. There is nothing wrong with that, but I was looking for a more challenging and progressive program.

I ended up attending Mission Farrier School in Snohomish, WA. It was a long ways from home in a town where I didn't know anyone, but it was definitely worth it. They have small class sizes, tons of horses on location, amazing instructors, and you work with other vets and established farriers. They have an emphasis on working with feet in wet environments (Minnesota!) and show you techniques to help keep them sound. You don't work on only healthy feet either - we had navicular horses, ringbone, sidebone, and at least 4 laminitic horses during my time there. What you can learn from these horses is invalueable. We only worked with live horses, but there was one dissection day that we had after we had learned all of the ligaments and tendons.

I'd suggest giving Anoka a call - they will give free tours of the school and you can meet the instructor. I was not able to visit Mission before enrolling, but you can still learn a lot about the school by calling. One phone conversation with Mark Plumlee at Mission and I was sold.

Once you are a farrier, Anoka is a wonderful supplier! I purchase most of my shoes and equipment from them - my anvil and forge are from there too. They can special order almost anything for you, and do not charge shipping if you pick it up, which is great considering how heavy anything farrier related is!

Feel free to message me if you have any questions about Anoka, Mission, or farrier stuff in general - I would love to help you out. :)
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post #3 of 16 Old 08-18-2014, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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So would you say Mission sounds like a middle ground between KHS and and MNSH? I mean KHS gets really, really in depth to things even beyond shoeing/trimming, and quite expensive. But from the sound of it Mission does do more than MNSH, but not as hardcore as KHS?
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post #4 of 16 Old 08-18-2014, 04:52 PM
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Mission is a shorter program at 8 weeks, but they pack a ton of learning into those months. When you aren't attending the lectures and participating in forging exercises and working under horses, you are either studying, eating, or sleeping. It is very in depth and you will learn just as much, if not more, than any other course in my opinion. To keep class sizes small, they cannot allow everyone who wants to attend to enroll - you must pass a phone interview screening process to be accepted. There sometimes is a waiting list for accepted students too.

Another PRO for Mission is that room and board in a gender-specific bunkhouses is included with tuition. That alone saved me hundreds in rent and possible gas expenses (I didn't bring a car with me).
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post #5 of 16 Old 08-18-2014, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rialto View Post
Mission is a shorter program at 8 weeks, but they pack a ton of learning into those months. When you aren't attending the lectures and participating in forging exercises and working under horses, you are either studying, eating, or sleeping. It is very in depth and you will learn just as much, if not more, than any other course in my opinion. To keep class sizes small, they cannot allow everyone who wants to attend to enroll - you must pass a phone interview screening process to be accepted. There sometimes is a waiting list for accepted students too.

Another PRO for Mission is that room and board in a gender-specific bunkhouses is included with tuition. That alone saved me hundreds in rent and possible gas expenses (I didn't bring a car with me).
Well one thing I like about both the Minnesota and Kentucky schools is the internship/apprenticeship you can get to go along with it. It would help make a name for you to start with in the area, although that itself may not be too useful if you move. And I believe you that there's a lot in 8 weeks, but I tend to think the KHS will get a bit more in and better prepare me in those 36 weeks.

I'll have to make some calls.
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post #6 of 16 Old 08-20-2014, 09:18 AM
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post #7 of 16 Old 08-20-2014, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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The farrier I talked to yesterday said he went to Oklahoma, their courses are only 8 or 12 weeks. They don't include how to run a business type thing, but the farrier also offered to teach me that when/if I apprentice with him. I know he's good with the horses here, and he did mention that he's having to turn down new clients because there's so many terrible young farriers out here that have no idea what they're doing and have ruined their own reputations.

He was also very serious about it, I mean it's a career for most of your life, why shouldn't you be serious? He had some great stories about people that wouldn't show up for weekend work or would stop working after a short while and think they were ready. I couldn't even imagine that. If anything it would be hard to get me off of the apprenticeship and onto my own.
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post #8 of 16 Old 08-20-2014, 09:46 AM
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Apprentice with him. I'd have loved to have had the chance when I was younger but it was nearly impossible for woman back then.

Seems to be a lot of bad farriers up here too. Be a good one!
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post #9 of 16 Old 08-20-2014, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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He even offered a single day ride along thing whenever I want, just to see what a day's like. I should probably call that in soon, before winter.
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post #10 of 16 Old 08-20-2014, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
The farrier I talked to yesterday said he went to Oklahoma, their courses are only 8 or 12 weeks.
Oklahoma horseshoeing school uses STUDENTS to teach the weekly incoming new students. It's an assembly line. Not a place I could recommend.

Mission farrier school is not a "middle ground" between the other schools because they teach a whole DIFFERENT whole way to approach the horses foot than all the other, traditional schools.

So Trying to fit Mission into any place with the other schools would be comparing apples to oranges. I can't recommend any other school besides Mission except Cowtown horseshoeing school in Montana, It is a little school run by farrier Merlin Anderson . That school also teaches the same ,newer principles as Mission .It is a lot less formal than Mission and Merlin only takes a student or two on at a time but he is a good teacher and an upstanding guy.
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