Frequently Asked Questions:

How did you get into your trade?
Where did you learn your trade as a farrier?
How long was the course?
What is the difference between a farrier and a blacksmith?
Does shoeing/trimming hurt a horse?
How far will you travel?
Do you charge by time or by the service provided?
How long does it normally take?
Do you do specialized and/or therapeutic shoeing?
What types of shoeing do you not do?
I'm a client and my horse just lost a shoe, now what do I do?
Will you shoe a non-client's horse?
Hot shoeing versus cold shoeing?
What is resetting/shoeing a horse?
Should my horse have shoes or go barefoot?
How many horses would you be able to shoe in a day?
How long do shoes typically last?
Do you tranquilize a horse?
Do you trim other types of animals as well?
Where do you get your tools?
Have you ever been injured by a horse?
How is your back?
Do you do any specific types of sports to help your body cope with the muscle strains of the job?
Do you have another job?
Do you make anything other than shoes?

How did you get into your trade?
By the end of high school, everyone is supposed to know what field they would like to get into. With having limited work experience, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do yet. So I sat down and made a list of things I liked and disliked about jobs hoping to come up with an idea. In grade 3, I read "The Hobbit" and loved the idea of blacksmithing. While researching the topic, I came across a farrier's website and found my dream job. I immediately enrolled myself in school and loved it.

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Where did you learn your trade as a farrier?
I attended the Canadian Horseshoeing School in Geulph, Ontario. The school is run by Pat Cullen. After graduation, I had a 3 year apprenticeship with Doug Buck. That is where I truly learned the trade.

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How long was the course?
The course is 15 weeks long in duration. It is designed to give you a taste of the industry. A way of seeing if you can actually physically handle the trade. The course is an introduction only. Afterwards you do an apprenticeship with an actual farrier.

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What is the difference between a farrier and a blacksmith?
A blacksmith is someone who works with metal.  A farrier specializes in shoeing/trimming horses only. In the "old days" a blacksmith did everything. It wasn't until later that the trades were split into a blacksmith and a farrier.

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Does shoeing/trimming hurt a horse?
No, it is similar to trimming your fingernails. Actually, humans are the only being that will allow something painful to happen and allow it to happen. If something hurts a horse, they bolt or do whatever they have to to get away from the source of pain. If I do my job right then it should never happen.

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How far will you travel?
My home base is Brantford, Ontario. I will travel one hour in any direction depending on how many horses there are to be done.

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Do you charge by time or by the service provided?
Normally, the charge is per service. A time charge may apply if I am working together with a veterinarian.

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How long does it normally take?
12 - 15 mins to trim all four hooves.
30 - 40 mins to reset the front and trim the hind hooves.
1 - 1.25 hrs to reset and trim all four hooves.
15 minutes to be added for each pair of new shoes (measuring & shaping the new shoes).

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Do you do specialized and/or therapeutic shoeing?
Yes. I use different types of shoe packing material, pads, bar shoes, acrylics, etc...

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What  types of shoeing do you not do?
I do not handle racehorses. I feel that is a specialized trade in itself.

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I'm a client and my horse just lost a shoe, now what do I do? Do I have to wait until our next appointment?
Absolutely not. Please call right away and I will try and come out as soon as possible, within reason.

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Will you shoe a non-client's horse?
It depends on the situation of the horse and my schedule for that day. I will only reset the shoe if it meets certain criteria and will keep the horse balanced. "Too many chefs in the kitchen will spoil the recipe." Each farrier has their own ideals and ways of doing things.

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Hot shoeing versus cold shoeing?
I prefer hot shoeing. But it is not always an option. It requires more time and equipment. Also, not every horse will tolerate the smoke or noise. There are several benefits to hot shoeing a horse:
* It is better for the hoof as it allows for a perfect fit between the shoe and the hoof. With the searing you can tell where there is a gap, where something could become lodged, which might cause the shoe to loosen. 
* Hot shoeing cauterizes the foot. The foot consists of little tubes that are side by side. This allows for moisture and dirt and get in there. Cauterizing seals the tubes and acts like a barrier.
* My best work has been done hot shoeing!

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What is resetting/shoeing a horse?
Sometimes at the end of a shoeing cycle (6-8 weeks) we are able to re-use the old shoes after we take them off to trim the hoof.  It is not uncommon for a shoe to last 3 resets but there are times when a pair of shoes have to be replaced every setting and times when they will last a more than a year.  It depends on many factors:  The movement of the horse, the amount of work it is doing, the kind of work it is doing, the terrain, habits of the horse and others.

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Should my horse have shoes or go barefoot?
There are many reasons people will shoe their horse.  Protection, traction, therapeutic and cosmetic reasons.  On a normal-footed horse you would most likely need shoes for the first two reason.  Either the work you are doing is enough that you need shoes to protect the feet from excessive wear and bruising or you need additional traction devices due to slippery, sloppy or icy terrain.

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How many horses would you be able to shoe in a day?
I can do more trims than I can resets or shoeing. For example, I could do about 30 trims in a day but only 10-12 resets (all 4).

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How long do shoes typically last?
It is not uncommon for a shoe to last 3 resets but there are times when a pair of shoes have to be replaced every setting and times when they will last a more than a year.  It depends on many factors:  The movement of the horse, the amount of work it is doing, the kind of work it is doing, the terrain, habits of the horse and others.

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Do you tranquilize a horse?
Absolutely not. I am not specialized in horse medicine. There are things that can go wrong and it should only be performed by a veterinarian. There is a gray line between what a vet and a farrier should do. This definitely falls under a vet's task.

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Do you trim other types of animals, as well?
Yes, I do. I am able to (and have trimmed) donkeys, mules, goats, lamas, ponies and pigs. I do not trim cows.

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Where do you get your tools?
I usually purchase my tools and supplies from Ward Farrier Supply in Rockwood, Professional Farrier Supply in Orangeville and Quick Feeds in Copetown, Ontario.

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Have you ever been injured by a horse?
Yes, there has been the rare case. Most times it was my fault due to lack of experience in handling that particular animal. I put myself into an unsafe condition. These were avoidable situations where I missed the signs the animal was giving and/or poor and inexperienced handlers.

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How is your back?
It is good. I am lucky enough to be gifted with a strong back and I am still young. This not a job you can do forever. It is a very physically demanding job.

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Do you do any specific types of sports to help your body cope with the muscle strains of the job?
I have been practicing Taichi for 4 years and Karate for 6 years now. 

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Do you have another job?
No, I am a full-time farrier. Blacksmithing is a passionate hobby of mine.

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Do you make anything other than shoes?
Yes, I do. I have made dragons out of old rasps, steel roses, a stand made for a trunk, different types of gifts and shoes. See photos on the gallery page.

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Page last updated 29 Nov 2009