Never Stop Learning
With a successful career as a professional farrier, Doug Corey Jr. is now passing on his wealth of knowledge to future farrier. Doug still shoes a large variety of horses at Cazenovia College Equine Education Center and SUNY Morrisville. In addition, he travels the country as an approved tester for the American Farrier's Association and serves as one of their region's five directors. The AFA is a key organization that promotes farrier education throughout the USA. Doug is a firm believer that the AFA testing, community, and camaraderie can benefit anyone looking to forge a career as a farrier.
Be prepared for anything
Doug has lots of advice for the students he works with, “The first five years are the toughest. You’re hustling to establish your name and putting what you’ve learned into practice. You really have to be prepared for emergencies. If you mess up, bad news travels fast, and it can ruin your reputation.” Doug recommends the AFA certification, “It’s a great base to build upon.” The entire certification process is an educational experience. In my opinion, Doug says, It’s the only real standard we have in our industry. Successfully completing the Certified Farrier certification is an excellent base of knowledge to build your business on.
Get hands-on, real-world experience
“These days, anyone can watch an endless supply of videos on shoeing horses. But videos aren’t enough. I think you need to be around an educated and successful group of farriers to learn properly. Farriers who are always learning and striving to further their education are successful. These are farriers to learn from, and they are a supportive group. Hands-on learning is still the best education, and there is always something new to learn.
Doug will be the first to mention a degree is important, but it isn’t enough, and he recommends graduates spend their early days riding along with experienced farriers. “No school is going to teach you how to handle clients, and that’s a huge part of the job.” Not only can these experienced farriers teach you some tricks of the trade they will also teach you about client interaction and all that goes with it.
Get as much exposure as you can
Growing up as the son of a well-known farrier (Doug Corey Sr.), Doug was exposed to experienced equine professionals that helped him early in his career, “I learned a lot from my dad, of course, he’s had a huge impact on my career and where I got my start. When I started at Cornell in 1992, I met Marshall “Buster” Conklin CJF, Michael Wildenstein CJF, FWCF(HONS), and Dick Sears. Michael is the reason I am the farrier I am today. I learned so much from him during my time at Cornell. He has continued to help me throughout the years and pushes me to continue my education and challenge myself in my abilities."
Doug’s 30+ year career has exposed him to a wide variety of horses. “As a kid, we raised and showed Clydesdales. These horses are 18 hands high and 2200 pounds. It’s not easy fitting shoes on those breeds.” Besides Draft Horses, Doug has worked with Morgans, Thoroughbreds, Arabians, Quarter Horses, and everything in between. Doug laughs as he states, “Name a breed, I’m sure I have shod it.”
Find the right gear for the challenge at hand
Traveling all over the country, Doug mentions that different regions prefer different products, but the principles are the same. “Here in the Northeast, it’s wet and humid—and that affects the hooves causing them to spread wider. I dress them with clips and burn them to seal the hoof. I’m a reset guy, and my go-to horseshoe is the St. Croix Forge Eventer Plus. I like the heels, and it’s got more steel which allows me to get three or four resets.”
St. Croix Forge Eventer Plus
Doug uses the Delta Combo 5 Slim and then switches to a thicker nail for resets. On the western horses, with smaller feet, Doug likes to use the Mustad North American Slim Blade 5. When shoeing Reiners, Doug likes to use the 4.5 Slider nail and the Capewell 5 PS. The 4.5 Slider nail fits new plates very well, and the Capewell 5 PS fits into resets better. We all know that the holes expand as the shoe wears, and this combination takes care of the added space.
Mustad NA Slim Blade 5
Kris Kibbey is Doug’s Mustad rep for the Northeast. “I have a great relationship with Kris. If I’m at a school and need background info on anything, he’ll get it to me. He’s super responsive. He’s also great at introducing me to new products. He pushed me into trying the Heller eXceL Original rasp, and now it’s all I use. I like the wider blade and thinner steel. It never clogs, even in humid conditions.”
Kris Kibbey & Doug Corey Jr.
Keep growing and learning
At this point in his career, Doug says that working with different students is the most rewarding part of his job. “I was working with a young woman at SUNY Morrisville’s western summer riding internship. She took an interest in becoming a farrier, and at the end of it, she was able to drive her own nails for the first time. That was a big deal for her, and I was very proud of her. "It doesn’t matter how advanced you are in the farrier trade; never stop learning.”