Female Farrier: One of the Few

A farrier is unique career for animal lovers. They trim and balance horses hooves. It's also a job mostly done by men. There are very few women who do it because it's so grueling. But as Newschannel 6 found a Texoma woman is making a name for herself.

"It's one of the most physically demanding jobs anyone can try to do," said Nichole Smith.

Since he was a young girl, she's always loved horses, so she made a bet with her parents that if she went one year without watching television they would have to buy her a horse.

"A year later they were kind of stuck when I did it so they bought me a bunch of yearlings."

From then on began her obsession with helping and caring for horses.

"Our job (farrier) is to help them remain sound by trimming their feet shorter, doing what nature can't," said Smith.

Nichole has passed enough tests during her four years as a farrier to have a higher standing as a journeyman farrier. The American Farrier Association ranks a journeyman as the highest
certification. As a woman, that's rare.

"The last I checked there was less than 600 journeymen total. Probably less than 20 were women that are active members in the AFA."

And it's clear why. They spend a lot of time hammering, bending, rasping and much more grueling work to help maintain the horseshoe or put in a new one. Each session takes more than an hour of demanding work.

"And the horses aren't always perfectly still they move and it's very dangerous," she said.

Nichole and her husband Stephen Smith work with each other as co-owners of SS Horseshoeing. Stephen is currently working to maintain a journeyman certification. They travel across Texoma for their job.

This month Nichole will be featured on the front page of the American Farrier Association online magazine. Nichole is furthering her career as a student at Midwestern State University in hopes of attending Texas A&M for her veterinarian degree.

Crystal Hall Newschannel 6