MY name is Samuel Phillips, and I am a second-year student on the Farriery Upskilling Programme at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), Enniskillen ca-mpus. I am from County Armagh and I was raised around horses. My grandfather had thoroughbred horses and at home we now have a range of horses, including hunters and all-rounders.
After being brought up around horses I always knew I wanted to work in the equine industry. I did one week of work experience with my local farrier and I knew then that farriery was the career for me. My local farrier told me about the farriery course in Enniskillen. Once I had gained the entry requirement of two years as a farriery apprentice I took the plunge and started the Farrier Upskilling Programme at CAFRE Enniskillen campus.
The course is part-time but full on. We cover a wide range of practical shoe-making skills as well as theory, including the principles of farriery, principles of equine anatomy, physiology, static and dynamic conformation, injuries, ailments, and diseases affecting the foot and limb.
The Farriery Upskilling Programme at Enniskillen campus is for working farriers, to allow them to gain the Worshipful Company of Farriers Diploma (DipWCF).
The course is designed to produce qualified professional farriers who are competent in all aspects of hoof care, including the selection, fit and application of horse shoes. The course is delivered over two years and we attend tutorials (forge work and classroom) two days a month.
I have had the opportunity to develop my networking skills by attending the various farrier seminars run by expert farriers and vets covering topics such as laminitis and foot balance. My eyes were also opened to the extensive nature of the equine industry when I saw the wide range of businesses and professionals at the Enniskillen campus Careers Day.
Currently, I am most interested in remedial farriery techniques and working with race-horses. I love the mix of forge and classroom-based work within the Farriery Upskilling programme, and I would highly recommend the course to anyone hoping to progress within the farriery profession.
I find being a farrier to be an incredibly rewarding job and I take great pride in my work.
My advice to anyone looking to start out in the profession would be to make sure you really love the work – if you don’t love it you’ll not do it. I would also recommend that those looking to start farriery get out with a qualified farrier to see the ins and outs of the job.
n Further details about the Farrier Upskilling programme and other equine courses at CAFRE can be obtained at www.cafre.ac.uk
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