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  • Writer's pictureBob Burdekin, AES, CHHP

Today's Young Farriers Need to be Mentored

Journeyman mentoring apprentice
mentor a trade

Young farriers today have much more information available within their reach than ever before, but it is not the same as an apprenticeship that is required in other parts of the equine world. I do believe that the need for a quality and viable apprenticeship program is long overdue in this country and implementing one is a much-needed fact.

People that have been in the industry for any length of time are all echoing the same point of contention and that is the quality of the horseshoeing that is surfacing throughout the entire country. Not only has it gone downhill way too far, but the ability of the trade to continue to pass on the age-old knowledge that comes from years of experience is nonexistent. I have heard that horse owners are switching farriers after two or three shoeing cycles due to the fact that they are not happy with the quality of the work or the results that they are not seeing in the horse’s performance.

There is a solution, but it will take a major mindset change within the trade itself. It is a topic that has been fought against for years in this country and I don’t understand why. If you want to become an electrician or a carpenter you have to serve a four-year apprenticeship. You work under highly trained and certified tradesmen that give guidance and share their knowledge. Not so in the farrier trade, anytime that the aspect of a national standard or an apprenticeship program is mentioned there is nothing in place but a solid brick wall.

My personal solution was to work with the Farriers Guild in England and be allowed to pattern a four-year apprenticeship program that was submitted to and approved by the state of California by the California State Apprenticeship Board. Under this state-approved program, trainees follow a definite program that allows them to progress and be guided by experienced and knowledgeable certified tradesmen. Their progress, just as in any other state-approved apprenticeship program, is monitored by the State of California and the business offering the apprenticeship program. At the end of the four-year program, the apprentice becomes certified through the trade and also by the State of California. I have put forth a solution while others only create roadblocks. Give it some thought.

Until next time…”Ride for the Brand”. -- Bob Burdekin


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