Farrier Science

Length of Program: 1 YearProgram Intakes: Fall Intake (September program start)September 2020


Farrier Science Certificate

Applications Open: October 1

Length of Program: 1 Year

Program Status: Open

The Farrier Science certificate program is one of a kind. The farrier program at Olds College has a fully equipped, state-of-the art farrier lab that has been referred to as the best seen to date by American Farrier Association examiners.

The farrier facility is equipped with 12 natural gas, 2 propane, and 4 coal forges, a classroom with computers and projector, and a 16 foot workshop trailer for industry field trips. Unique clinics with specialized farriers and product representatives expose students to new materials and techniques for applications such as performance or reconstruction.

Our Farrier Science certificate program is recognized as providing the finest farriery programming in North America. As one of the world’s oldest professions, farrier holds a certain nostalgia, however today’s students are trained to use the newest techniques and products that are designed to serve a rapidly growing and changing equine industry.

Our students benefit from hands-on working field trips to various locations such as:

  • Warner Ranch
  • Ya Ha Tinda
  • University of Calgary Veterinary program

Our Farrier Science instructors are industry leaders with their own farriery businesses. They are keenly aware of industry needs and trends and bring cutting-edge, real life experience into the farrier lab every day. We have built a strong reputation since the 1960s with a lengthy list of Farrier Alumni representing Canada in World Farrier competitions.

It is highly recommended that you take the time to investigate the Farrier profession and to job shadow or work with a Farrier. It is important to increase your knowledge and understanding of the industry, to recognize the physical requirements of the profession, and to ensure you feel you are a suitable candidate for the program. Typically, farrier students should be in good physical condition and the industry normally requires personal transportation with a vehicle.

What will you learn?

You will learn all of the skills necessary to be a successful farrier or blacksmith, including:

  • Customer service and client education
  • Trimming, forging and fitting handmade shoes
  • Equine anatomy and physiology
  • Performing modifications to machine made shoes in the forge
  • Producing useable forging tools for the production of horseshoes
  • Applying therapeutic and corrective horseshoes and appliances to the equine foot
  • Brazing and lap welding in the gas and coal forge
  • Welding using the manual arc process
  • Welding using the oxy-acetylene equipment
  • Building farrier and blacksmithing tools using the arc welding process and the oxy-acetylene process
  • Performing basic computer skills utilizing Excel software to create basic records and financial reports for an independent farrier business
  • Making sound choices in the safety and management of the horse
  • Performing different modes of restraint to safely control and work on horses to create a safe working environment
  • Applying horseshoes and shoeing techniques specific to the thoroughbred and standardbred industry

At the end of the course, students are also given the option to undertake the American Farrier Association certification exam.

View Program Outline

Program Details

Credential: Certificate

Length of Program: 1 Year

Method of Delivery: On-Campus

Program Intake:

  • Fall Intake – September program start

Program Dates: Please visit our Dates & Schedules page to confirm start and end dates of your desired program and confirm campus closures.  

Applications Open: October 1 for the Fall Intake.

Selection Process for Admission: First Qualified, First Accepted

Tuition, Mandatory Fees, Books, and Supplies: Please refer to the current Fee Schedule for details

  • Tuition: $5,020 / Fees: $1,480 / Books & Supplies: $3,580

* Please note that international students pay 3.5 times the domestic tuition amount. These fees are provided as estimates only for the purposes of budgeting. All students should refer to the Fee Schedule for the most accurate information and all fees are subject to change.*

Admission Requirements

  • 50% or better in English Language Arts 30-1 or 30-2

  • 50% or better in Math 20-1 or 20-2

  • 50% or better in one of Biology 20 OR Chemistry 20 OR Science 20

  • Meet the English Language Proficiency Requirement(completed at minimum 3 years of formal education taught entirely in English or provide the results of a recognized English Language Proficiency exam)

  • Submit an Applicant Questionnaire: The applicant is required to complete the Applicant Questionnaire and submit to Olds College. This is the applicant’s opportunity to demonstrate their experience and knowledge with horses to adequately cope with the course material. Students are also required to submit 50 hours of industry experience.

  • There is a strong demand for this program; therefore applicants should pay close attention to the admission requirements and submit documentation in a timely manner.

Academic Upgrading and High School Applicants: Applicants currently in high school or who are completing academic upgrading must submit proof of enrollment and any available interim/midterm marks. Final marks must be submitted within one month following the completion of the course(s) and no later than one month prior to the program start date.

Alternate Admission Option: Alternate Admission status may be offered to applicants who have not or will not complete one of the academic admission requirements. To be considered under Alternate Admission Status, applicants will be asked to provide the following:

  1. (Required) Transcript(s) showing any completed high school and post-secondary courses
  2. (Required) Letter of Introduction and Intent, outlining the following:
    • Introduce yourself
    • Indicate why you wish to enrol in the program
    • Elaborate on your career goals
    • Detail your experience relevant to this program and the industry
  3. (Required) A resume of your work history, extracurricular activities, volunteer service, etc. for the last 5 years
  4. (Optional) Include copies of any tickets and/or certificates you currently hold (e.g.: first aid, safety tickets, etc.)
  5. (Optional) Letter(s) of reference from current or past employers/coaches/etc. (maximum of two letters)

*Submitting Alternate Admission material does not guarantee admission*

Out of Province Applicants: Please refer to the Provincial Equivalency Chart for course equivalencies.

International Applicants

Olds College welcomes applications from international applicants and those who have completed their high school education outside of Canada. Please note, it is still necessary to meet all of the noted admission requirements, including English Language Proficiency. Further information can be found on our website under International Students.

Career Opportunities

Olds College has a solid reputation working with employers in the industry! This directly translates into jobs for our graduates. Opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • Family farm/business
  • Local trimming & shoeing business
  • Specialty shoeing
  • Therapeutic & corrective shoeing (usually involves working with a veterinary clinic)
  • Performance horse shoeing (reining, heavy horse, dressage, jumping, etc.)
  • Working ranches, summer camps, outfitting guides, mounted units (RCMP), & racing industry.

Visit ALIS to find Occupational Profiles with current wages, industry trends and more!

ALIS Occupational Profiles

Admitted Students Information

Program Dates

Find out when your term start and end dates are, so that you know when you are expected to be in attendance. For more information, please review the Program Dates & Fee Schedule.

Class Registration

You will be registered into your classes automatically. This will happen approximately 1 month prior to the start-date for your program. You will be notified once you have been timetabled into your courses. You will be able to see your class schedule in your My Olds College account. If you need to make any changes to your class registration, please contact the Office of the Registrar.

Technology Recommendation

It is strongly recommended that you come to Olds College with the following technology:

  • A device capable of running Microsoft Office, preferably a laptop

As part of your student accounts, all students have access to Office 365 for the duration of their time with Olds College. To access this you just need to follow these steps:

  • Go to portal.office.com
  • Enter your Olds College email address and password
  • Once logged in there is a button on the right that says "Install Office Apps"

This will give you access to the full Office suite on your computer, for both Windows and Mac based platforms.

Materials & Supplies:

The materials on our tool kit list are to be purchased before starting the program in September.  Students also participate in field trips to supply stores at the beginning of the program. If you have concerns about tools, then please let our instructors assist you on the field trip.

Required items Tool Kit List

Information on other required textbooks and any further supplies will be provided as you attend each class. All books and supplies will be available during the first few weeks of classes in the College Campus Store.

Other Important Information:

  • Time Requirements: Significant time requirements will be needed to fully develop the skills needed to complete the program in a way to ensure that you are best prepared for a Farrier career following your studies.

  • Dress Code: You will be required to be outside during inclement weather and need to be dressed appropriately. We expect all students in the Farrier Science program to dress as equine industry professionals during class time; this includes long sleeved shirts that are buttoned, collared, or reach the neck and pants that cover the lower back.

  • Fitness: many first year students in our equine-related programs indicated that they wish they would have been better prepared for the physical demands of their program. We would like to remind you to perhaps work on your fitness by walking, running, and improving your upper body, lower body and core strength in the month before you come to College. Once here, you will be able to access personal trainers through the CLC Fitness Centre. Also ensure to work on grip strength and labour to develop calluses on your hands.

  • Additional Skills: This program requires you to have significant horse handling skills. You will need to be able to confidently work around horses. Lab activities are comprised largely of hoof care and trimming practices, manufacturing and modifying horseshoes. Shoeing horses at the college facility as well as at client properties will also be a large part of your practical training. Be prepared for long days as some destinations are some distance away. It is recommended that you devote your time here towards your program.

Ready to apply?

Visit our Admissions page for more info or go to Apply Alberta to submit an online application!

  • "The Farrier Science program is longer than others that are offered, so students have more to draw on when they’re finished. It takes a couple of years to get started in the business. The apprenticeship is good because you get a hands-on feel for the business. You find out exactly what it’s like to work as a farrier."
    • Brian Rusnak, Still Meadows Ranch

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you require industry experience hours?

The purpose of these job shadowing hours is to ensure that you understand the demands of the career and are better prepared to succeed in the program. It is of no help to you, nor us, if a student drops out of the program once it has started because the career isn't for them.

I am having a hard time locating a Farrier to complete industry experience hours - how can I find one?

Try searching the facility listing of your Provincial branch of Equestrian Canada - as any reputable equine facility would also have a qualified Farrier work from their facility. (e.g.: Alberta - Alberta Equestrian Federation, British Columbia - Horse Council of British Columbia, Saskatchewan - Saskatchewan Horse Federation, Ontario - Ontario Equestrian). If you are having problems locating a qualified Farrier, then please let us know.

Is Farriery a trade?

When you successfully complete the Farrier Science Certificate - you will graduate with a credential (certificate). Farriery isn't a trade recognized by various provincial apprenticeship boards, but is rather controlled through a professional organization known as the American Farrier’s Association (AFA). The AFA uses the terminology that you may be familiar with (apprentice, journeyperson) and it can lead to confusion.

Do I have to take the AFA exams?

We do hold AFA Certification tests at Olds College and students will have the opportunity to write either the Classification or Certified Farrier level - this depends on the talent and desire of the individual student. Pursuing the AFA levels (Journeyperson) also depends on the preference of the individual student. A number of our students build industry connections and pursue apprenticing with a CJF - while others choose not to and simply use the skills they've gained in the program to build their business.

When are classes scheduled?

Classes are scheduled between 8 AM and 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Many of our Farrier Science classes have their lecture components delivered in a 'working classroom' within the Farrier Lab.

Why do you require students to work on their overall fitness prior to attending the program?

Farriery is physically demanding! We encourage students to work on their overall fitness and core strength in the summer months before the program starts. Also ensure to work on grip strength and labour to develop calluses on your hands. Students will have access to personal trainers through the recreation facilities at the CLC to help improve fitness.