The Worshipful
Company of Farriers

Promoting the welfare of the horse since 1356

How to become a farrier


​​​​​​​Farriers prepare and treat horses' feet, so they can make and fit horseshoes.

What does a farrier do?
Farriers make and fit shoes for horses. They use some of the same skills as a blacksmith, but blacksmiths can only fit shoes to horses if they are registered as Farriers. Typically, you would:

  • discuss and agree the horse’s shoeing requirements with the owner
  • check the horse's leg, foot and hoof, cutting away any excess hoof growth and making sure the horse is properly balanced
  • choose the most suitable type of shoe for the horse's size, foot condition, type of activity and working conditions
  • make horseshoes by hand or machine
  • adjust the shape of the shoes, using a hammer and anvil
  • fit the horseshoes

You may also work with vets and equine hospitals to provide corrective shoeing and surgical farriery.
Most Farriers are self-employed, so you would need to organise your own bookings and order stock and tools. You also need to keep accounts and promote your business.

What do I need to do to become a farrier?
You need to be physically strong and have good practical skills. You also need to communicate well with horse owners and vets.
To work as a farrier you must be registered with the Farriers’ Registration Council. The only way to register is to complete a four-year Apprenticeship with an Approved Training Farrier (ATF).

Related skills
Business management
Physical fitness
Essential qualifications
Four-year apprenticeship with an Approved Training Farrier (ATF)

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?
You travel to customers' premises, for example farms, riding schools or stables. You would need a driving licence and a vehicle suitable for carrying around a mobile workshop, stock and tools.

Farriery is very physical work. It involves a lot of bending and lifting, and sometimes working outdoors in all weather conditions.