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Elise Umstead holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science from Colorado State University and learned her craft through Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre. Elise is accredited by the International Association of Professional Farriers (IAPF) and runs a thriving farrier practice in Virginia. She predominantly shoes sport horses but enjoys working in a variety of disciplines to include a significant clientele of BLM mustangs. She loves the dynamic aspect of horse shoeing and the constant growth of the industry.
Dedicated to continuing education, she has been awarded Top 10 most IAPF Continuing Education Credits for three consecutive years, a committee member of the IAPF Horse Owner Education Committee and recipient of the 2021 Rising Shoeing Star award.
Growing up I had a passion for horses; my dream from a young age was to become an equine veterinarian. I began riding lessons at the age of 9, competed in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) throughout my undergrad and worked
as a barn hand for extra cash. After college, I took a different career path working for a large-scale swine operation but knew I wanted to get back into the equine industry. A few years later, I attended a vet/farrier lecture at the Myhre
Equine Clinic in New Hampshire.
I remembered seeing farriers around barn in my collegiate days but had never considered that as a career option, I was immediately drawn in by the appeal of working with horses and running my own business. I never realized the affect a farrier has on a horse; farriery is so much more than trimming and “slapping steel on.” As a believer in education, I attended Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre to learn the basics of how to be a farrier and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
This is a hard job. It is physically and mentally demanding. Farriery is not a job for someone looking for a laid back 9-5. Like veterinarians, we work with people and their animals which can mean tough cases, tough horses, and tough clients. However, this job is incredibly rewarding. I have brought horses back from the brink, helped lame horses go sound and made incredible connections with the horses and people I work with.
Keep an open mind and do your own research. There is so much information out there, discover for yourself what works for you in your practice.
Farrier school is a foundation and a great place to start your education if you chose to attend.
Continue your education. Attend clinics and webinars, join the International Association of Professional Farriers (IAPF) or American Farriers Association (AFA) and work with as many farriers as you can. Each farrier has a unique perspective and style, you can learn a lot by watching and listening.
The first horse I ever worked on was a little mare named Ada. This geriatric school horse was assigned to four students (one student per hoof) as our first trim. I will never forget my legs shaking as I struggled to get into farrier stance, how awkward it was to hold my hoof knife and rasping my knuckles more than the horse’s hoof. It took 45 minutes to complete that one foot.
The first horse I shod was named Ms. Kitty, another ancient been there, done that mare. She had major arthritis and could only be worked with her foot inches off the ground. As a newbie farrier, trying to balance my own body with hers felt impossible. I had the terrifying task of placing nails into her hoof with one hand holding her foot off the ground and the other trying to swing the hammer. More nails entered my hand than the actual hoof. I remember my classmates watching and offering words of encouragement. After 30 minutes, I had nailed my first shoe.
Aaron Hill APF-l is the owner of Hill’s Farrier Service based out of Weston, Ohio. He’s an Accredited Farrier through the International Association of Professional Farriers (IAPF), a graduate of Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre, and a recipient of top ten most continuing education credits in 2018, 2019, and 2020 through the IAPF. Aaron is constantly striving to improve his farrier skills, credentialing, and mentoring programs through the IAPF. He finds working with fellow colleagues to share knowledge and differing perspectives to be most rewarding
I chose a career in farrier work for many reasons. First and foremost, the love of the horses. Second the wonderful mental and physical challenges this job brings daily and lastly, I saw a need for competent farrier work where I live.
The best advice I can give is to find a group of fellow farriers and work together often as it opens your mind to different perspective. Also, if you’re just getting started find a mentor, someone that has a practice you want to model your own business after.
The first horse I put shoes on was during farrier school. A horse named "Heathen" he was a great teacher.
Ryan is an Equine Science Master and graduate of Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre. A proud member of the IAPF (International Association of Professional Farriers). Ryan truly embraces working as a team with clients, other farriers, and veterinarians.
He has been in the industry since 2008 and has been operating a successful business since 2012. Dedicating himself to countless hours of continuing education with the philosophy of shoeing the “whole horse” Ryan’s has a passion to work on and help correct difficult hoof related cases to improve comfort and quality of life for the animal. He has also incorporated the use of PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) therapy in his business to treat his client’s horses on a cellular level to promote natural healing. Ryan is always looking for ways to better himself with continuous education to learn and implement the latest techniques the industry has to offer to better his craft for his clients and horses.
I choose this career because of the ability to have such a unique job making horses and clients happier on a daily basis is extremely rewarding.
I would advise someone to never give up bettering your craft and to always continue learning. The more knowledge obtained the more rewarding this job can be.
I was 15 years old doing a career based senior project in high school. The idea of being a farrier was so new to me, but the excitement outweighed the challenge. Never take mentors for granted, I was extremely fortunate to have someone willing to teach me with patience and kindness at such a young age. This is an experience I will never forget.