Course of Study
Unit 1. Introduction of the Course
An overview of the course content will be discussed. You will learn what competencies will be expected, and what competencies you may expect from the instructor. You will gain an understanding of the school operating procedures, which will better prepare you to meet your objectives. The philosophy and responsibilities of the horseshoer will be discussed so that you will be better able to determine what you may expect to accomplish during the course.
Horseshoeing is a viable, life long career, as well as a healthy and satisfying life style. The occupational opportunities as a professional farrier are excellent, and we will discuss how you can maximize your success potential.
Unit II. Anatomy of the Limb
Anatomy is the basic building block of horseshoeing. A practical understanding of the physical structures, particularly of the lower limb, is essential to your work as a farrier. You will be able to identify and list the structures of the limb.
You will be able to judge the relationship and the quality of the structures of the limb and hoof to help your determine the best method of trimming and shoeing to meet the needs of each horse.
Unit III. Functions of the Physical Structures of the Limb
The position, direction, and flight of the limbs are greatly influenced by the anatomical formation of the structures. You will learn the functions of the limb and hoof. You will be able to describe the functions of each and understand why changes in their relationship to each other, caused by internal or external factors, may cause faults in gait, injury, and disease.
Of particular interest and importance to you, the effects of shoeing on the form and health of the foot is fully discussed.
Unit lV. Conformation of the Horse
The skeletal and muscular makeup (conformation) of the horse is the key factor which determines what can be accomplished by shoeing horses, As a student of MSH you will be able to recognize and develop a standard as to what constitutes desirable conformation in horses, and why. You’ll be able to describe faults in conformation by your careful observation of the horse, which provides the basis for our shoeing rationale.
In particular, you will be able to identify faults in the position of the limbs and deviations in the form, or shape of the hoofs; practical knowledge you can put to work for you and help horses.
Unit V. Breeds of Horses and Conformation
Farriers need to know the differences in conformation of the various breeds. You will develop an understanding of why difference in conformation allows horses to perform their specific athletic activities.
Unit VI. Forge Work and Hand Turned Shoes
Successful farriers agree, proficiency at the forge is an essential and integral skill of the occupation. At MSH, forging is taught as the basic technology through which you may maintain, or restore the physiological functions and normal form of the foot, to the great benefit of horses. It is a technology that exits, is valid, and is measurable.
You will gain experience in the use of coal and gas forge, and the correct use of hand tools. You will gain experience in working steel at forging temperatures, and the techniques used to make hand turned shoes from bar stock. Some of the horseshoes you’ll make include plain plates, square toe shoes, reining plates, weighted shoes, shoes with heels, trailers, and clips, bar shoes, and others. You’ll also learn forge brazing and forge welding in addition to gas and arc welding. Further, you may concentrate on any specialty shoes you may be interested in.
You will gain an appreciation for the value of hand turned shoes, and have plenty of opportunity to develop your skills at the forge. All shoes are made of practical purposes, and you will have the satisfaction of nailing your shoes on live horses. You do not have to simulate anything.
Unit VIII. Principles of Hoof Reduction
Trimming hoofs to go barefoot, or preparing hoofs for shoeing involves much more than simply removing surplus horn. Accurate hoof reduction to balance the foot is truly the art of the farrier. You will learn to use the hoof trimming tools with skills and precision. You’ll gain an understanding of the principles and objectives of hoof reductions, and practice developing your skills by working with good horses at leading stables. We provide a regular farrier service to these stables just as you will do in your own practice.
All of the horses you work with are trimmed and shod for practical purposes; you don’t have to simulate anything. Working with mainstream horses in the horse world, you’ll gain confidence and valuable experience in correct and safe methods of horse handling.
Unit VIII. Fundamentals of Normal Shoeing
Horses are shod for all kinds of reasons. All must be shod in a way that maintains the normal movements of the foot and maintains the normal form of hoofs. You will learn methods of shoeing that contribute to the overall health of hoofs, and reduce the potential for lameness You’ll learn how to select the correct size and length of bar stock to make shoes which properly fit normal hoofs that have been trimmed and dressed. You will be able to nail and finish your work by using prescribed methods and tools. You’ll develop your ability and skill by working with an unlimited number of good horses.
Your learning experiences are further enhanced by having horses available to you on a one-to-one basis. That means you won’t have down time while sharing horses with others. You get to do it all and enjoy the satisfaction of completing your own work.
Unit IX. Corrective Shoeing
In a practical sense, all horses require corrective shoeing. Show horses, pleasure horses, trail horses, the equine athlete; all must be balanced in accordance with individual conformation and direction of their limbs.
Truly, the art and professional domain of the farrier is best demonstrated by his or her ability to accurately shoe and balance horses. Balancing horses for optimum performance and soundness is the ultimate purpose of the occupation, and receives the major emphasis on this course. As a student of MSH, you’ll be able to judge the direction horse’s limbs and feet may assume. You’ll develop the ability to trim and dress hoofs to compensate for faults in position of the limb. You’ll learn the uses of the most advanced methods of corrective shoeing and how these measures influence the stance and flight of the limbs. You will be able to select and apply the proper corrective shoes to obtain the desired result.
Unit X. Shoeing for Injury and Disease
A chief aim of shoeing horses is, of course, to prevent lameness. The familiar saying “no foot, no horse”, takes on special meaning when it comes to horseshoeing. Certain types of conformation and use relationships may predispose horses to injury and disease of the lower limb. Working together with a veterinarian, you will be able to recognize lameness by physical examination and your careful observation of the horse’s movements.
You will demonstrate your skill by applying pathological shoes according to the veterinarian’s prescription. Giving horse’s relief from pain and being part of the healing process is a rewarding and deeply satisfying experience of your work.
Unit XI. Manufactured Horseshoes
Making the work of horseshoeing easier, manufacturers are producing an increasing variety of styles and specialty shoes. You will learn to prepare and nail on factory shoes.
Using your forging skills, you will be able to take advantage of the convenience of factory shoes. You’ll be able to increase the use of factory shoes by modifying them for corrective and pathological purposes. You will be able to recognize the various brands and types of manufactured shoes available.
Unit XII. Professional Attitudes and Public Relations
Horseshoeing is really a people business. Marketing your skills through good public relations plays an important role in your success. You will be able to demonstrate your ability to handle horses by our patient, understanding (horse sense) approach to your work. As a farrier, you must recognize that you have a great responsibility to ensure that your horse handling and your work are in the best interest of the horse. More importantly, horses owners and trainers must share that belief, and have confidence in you.
You’ll be ale to demonstrate desirable attitudes toward the horse, owners, and other that are considered acceptable and advocated by established members of the profession. You will be able to identify your objectives and write your own personal plan to conduct your business affairs.
Apprenticeship Program (Optional)
Working on a one-to-one basis with a practicing farrier is a great way to help you warm into the business and gives you an excellent opportunity to develop and polish our skills under professional guidance.
The Apprenticeship Program is open to students who are interested and able to take advantage of this free service, particularly if you have a shoeing specialty in mind. There are no fees or charges, nor is participation in the program a requirement of graduation.