Female farriery student calls for more women to enter the trade

Jacy Hawkins is trailblazing into the male-dominated equine industry by training as a farrier at TAFE NSW. Pictures: Supplied
Jacy Hawkins is trailblazing into the male-dominated equine industry by training as a farrier at TAFE NSW. Pictures: Supplied

TAFE NSW Richmond student Jacy Hawkins is trailblazing into the male-dominated equine industry and she is calling for other horse enthusiast women to do the same.

Ms Hawkins is studying a Certificate IV in Farriery to become a qualified Farrier.

With only seven per cent of Farriers in Australia being female, Ms Hawkins is encouraging others to turn their love for horses into a career.

She said that growing up, some of her fondest memories were made while around horses, and so she "decided to follow my interest and pursue farriery".

"I would encourage other women to take up the Farrier trade. The support from my TAFE NSW teachers and employer has been great."

A farrier is a specialist in equine hoof care and combines skills traditionally associated with blacksmiths, with veterinarian-related skills in equine anatomy. A farrier's work includes the trimming of hooves to balance the horse, improving their performance, and the application of various types of shoes.

All horses need regular hoof care, and with Australia having the second-largest thoroughbred breeding industry in the world, according to Agrifutures Australia 2019, there is a growing demand for people with specialist equine qualifications.

TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Horse Industry Studies, Karlene Triffitt, said equine-industry expert teachers ensure students gain the confidence and skills to launch their career as a qualified farrier, with many going on to start their own business.

"We know the industry needs qualified farriers who understand animal welfare and anatomy and can shoe horses and perform corrective shoeing across a range of disciplines," Ms Triffit said.

"TAFE NSW students have access to industry-standard equine learning facilities and a large farrier workshop equipped with gas and fire forges.

"TAFE NSW also prepares future farriers to succeed in business; many of our graduates are self-employed and make a good living caring for equine podiatry needs."