SCURRY, Texas — For thousands of years, the craft of horseshoeing has changed the world. Yet, there is only one specialized farrier school in Texas where you can learn the ancient trade.
“It was just about as big as creating the wheel,” said John Burgin, the director of the Texas Horseshoeing School in Scurry.
Dating back hundreds of years BC, contraptions to preserve a horse’s hoof allowed for greater transportation and more efficient militaries that altered the course of the world. And though there is still a demand for farriers, there are few places where
You can get a hands-on education on how to shoe a horse safely and correctly.
“There is always a shortage of horseshoers,” Burgin said. “Even though it is above average pay, there is one drawback. It is hard work.”
If you drop in on the stables at the school, you will find students hammering away on an anvil, straining to position horses for shoeing and sweating profusely through it all. But just as it has been for centuries, the skill is invaluable.
“I would never take a chance on hurting a horse because I did not have the knowledge,” said Jeremy Monroe, a student and the trainer at Monroe Performance Horses in the Houston area. “(Burgin) breaks it down step-by-step on how to understand the horse, the foot, and understand where the shoe needs to be.”
Since opening the school in 1988, Burgin said he has hosted students from all 50 US states, every Canadian province, and 7 foreign countries to learn the craft thousands of years of technological advances cannot adequately replace.
“I cannot see how it is ever going to change.”
Burgin’s school is regulated by the Texas Workforce Commission. He believes the strict requirements and regulations for farrier schools are why he is one of the few remaining in the country.
Students stay in cabins on-site at the school for six-week periods and there are six groups a year with 10 students each for a total of 60 students a year. The day begins in a classroom studying in textbooks and horse anatomy models before heading to the stables for the physical aspect of the education.