Grace is set to forge ahead as a Farrier
Grace Stephenson set her heart on becoming a Farrier when she was just ten years old and she is now on the road to seeing her dream become a reality. With five years of job shadowing and experience under her belt, sixteen-year-old Grace, knows that a career as a Farrier is definitely for her.
Grace said: “I have been brought up with horses and working at the forge as my Dad, Richard, is a Farrier so I’ve been privileged to help him and develop my skills over the years. I love nothing more than to go out with him on jobs and experience the techniques and processes first hand.
“Although it is a male-dominated sector this doesn’t daunt me and my confidence is growing all the time, especially when it comes to making and firing shoes on the forge. I am completely at ease working with ponies and horses of all sizes, from Shetlands up to towering Clydesdales!”
After her GCSEs in the summer, of which Engineering and Design & Technology are her favourite subjects, Grace is planning to go to college to do a one-year pre-farrier course which is a required to further her students with a six-year apprenticeship. She is considering Myerscough, Warwick or Hereford Colleges.
Grace has already demonstrated her engineering talent after coming second in a national competition. This involved taking a 16mm square bar and shaping it into a cylinder. The task assessed Grace’s practical skills, such as her hammer control and use of a coke forge. Grace was delighted that her success was featured in an issue of the industry-leading Forge Magazine.
Grace has been learning about hoof anatomy, something that will be a key focus of the college course and apprenticeship. She will have the opportunity to put her knowledge into practise at college where there are opportunities to make and shape shoes from metal and then work with horses to put the shoes on, and take them off again.
At school, Grace chose Engineering as one of her GCSEs and this has proved invaluable in giving her a grounding in various techniques and a greater understanding of materials and metals.
Wendy Miller, Grace’s Engineering Teacher, said: “Grace has worked extremely hard in Engineering and has been especially interested in the material aspects of the course. She is very focused and I have no doubt that she will become a very proficient and sought-after Farrier as she has such a passion for horses and working with metals. It is most admirable that Grace is stepping into an industry with very few female Farriers and I hope she will become a role model for other girls who have an interest in working in an engineering discipline.”
Grace concluded: “I can’t think of anything better than working with horses and doing something that I enjoy so much. I have never seen myself in an office or working indoors and being a Farrier you get to work outside a lot, travel around and meet lots of like-minded people. It’s a very long apprenticeship to become qualified but when you are working with animals it is so important that you know exactly what you are doing and that you get everything right.”