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What is a Farrier?

Farriery, or the shoeing of horses and similar animals, is an ancient craft, believed to have been practised first in the Roman Empire.

It is defined in the Farriers (Registration) Act 1975 as ‘any work in connection with the preparation or treatment of the foot of a horse for the immediate reception of a shoe thereon, the fitting by nailing or otherwise of a shoe to the foot or the finishing off of such work to the foot’.

A farrier is a skilled craftsperson with a sound knowledge of both theory and practice of the craft, capable of shoeing all types of equine feet, whether normal or defective, of making shoes to suit all types of work and working conditions, and of devising corrective measures to compensate for faulty limb action. Farriery is hard work and it is practiced on animals, some of which may be fractious. Shoes may be made from metal and from other modern materials such as plastics and resins.

A ‘Farrier’ should not be confused with a ‘Blacksmith’. A farrier works with horses but needs training in blacksmithing in order to make the shoe properly. A blacksmith is a smith who works with iron and may never have any contact with horses. The shoeing of horses is part and parcel of the blacksmith’s craft, so smiths may have been trained in farriery and may, therefore, shoe horses legally alongside blacksmithing, as long as they are registered as a farrier.