A farrier is a craftsman who trims horses’ hooves to restore balance and prepares and applies protective, corrective or therapeutic horseshoes. A farrier’s salary is determined by a wide range of factors, including the farrier’s education and experience, training, location, types of clients and overhead expenses. Because a farrier is responsible for setting his own rates per shoeing session, he may adjust rates according to an individual client’s or business’s needs.
Overall Salary Range
The salary of a full-time farrier ranges between $24,000 to $100,000 annually, with a median salary of $58,536. Diversity in location, education, experience, training, overhead expenses and types of clients can have a dramatic effect on a farrier’s income. Farriers who work exclusively with thoroughbred racing or competition horses with highly specialized trimming and shoeing requirements earn significantly more than farriers who concentrate on companion or pet horses.
A novice farrier is an individual new to farrier work and whose experience consists of a standard six-week shoeing school. The novice farrier generally works under the supervision of a more experienced mentor to ensure no harmful mistakes are made in trimming and shoeing the horses. A full-time novice farrier begins work at approximately $24,000 annually and can improve to the journeyman level with additional training, experience and continuing education.
Journeyman and Master Farriers
Once a farrier reaches the level of journeyman through continuing education and experience, average salary increases to approximately $36,000 per year. When a farrier achieves the level of master, he can expect to earn an average of $40,000 annually. Salary for each level increases with each year of experience. Farriers who possess formal collegiate education or teaching credentials have an opportunity to earn even more.
Formal Education and Other Credentials
The most promising way for a farrier to increase his annual salary is through formal education in equine science. Farriers who hold a four-year B.S. degree in equine science from an accredited university can expect to add $5,000 to their yearly income. Farriers who go on to earn a master’s degree in equine science will possess additional diagnostic and therapeutic skills and can expect to earn an additional $8,000 yearly. Farriers with teaching experience and formal degrees often earn up to $25,000 more per year than their counterparts with similar farrier experience but no formal education or teaching credentials.