As the old saying goes, “No hoof, no horse” and thus the farrier was born. Dedicated to ensuring hoof health in equids across a range of disciplines, farriers are known to be hard-working, have an eye for detail, and have a love of the craft. Recently, we have seen a rise in women entering the workforce who are not only making a mark on the profession but on the horse industry in general. There is no accurate national employment statistics showing the breakdown of male vs. female farriers working today, but we know anecdotally that there are more female farriers now than ever before. This series will highlight female farriers who exemplify the values Mustad Hoofcare Group holds most dear: passion, innovation, commitment, and collaboration.
Jennifer Horn’s 30+ year career began in the early 90’s after her high school teacher recommended she consider farrier school. Jennifer knew she wanted a career in the horse industry but had previously assumed it would be in barn management or horse training. Immediately after graduating from Wolverine Farrier School in Howell, Michigan, taught by the International Hall of Farm farrier Robert Reaume, she was hired on by the Mackinac Island Carriage Tours shoeing horses for the carriage company and as a tourist attraction on the island.
Three years later, she moved to St. Marie, Michigan to build her own business. A sign of the times, she sent flyers to horse owners she saw while driving around and found that there was actually a high need for a farrier in the area which allowed her to build a dedicated clientele quickly. Since then, Jennifer has become certified through the American Farriers Association (AFA) as a Journeyman Farrier. Most recently she has become a Tester and Examiner for the AFA, which is both involved in certifying the next generation of farriers. Jennifer remembers when she was in farrier school the number of women going through the program was far fewer than what she is seeing now proving that the barriers that may have been keeping women from this career path in the past are no longer doing so now.
When she’s not shoeing horses, Jennifer has discovered a passion for blacksmithing. She explains that there are many commonalities between the two. And although she had never considered herself an artist, blacksmithing has changed that. She says that blacksmith work has transferable skills to the farrier work, lending itself to improve the art of farriery. What started as a hobby on the side has quickly become a pillar of Jennifer’s identity. She is well known for her blacksmithing skills and has built a parallel business to her farrier work called Daisy Hill Forge.
One of the things Jennifer is most proud of is the dedication she has been able to achieve in both her professional and personal life. Farrier work is inherently flexible as you often work for yourself and make your own schedule. Jennifer boasts that she has raised two fantastic children on her own and she attributes it to the freedom and balance being a farrier offers. Family is extremely important to Jennifer; it has pushed her to become the best farrier she can be and tackle any obstacles she encounters with tenacity. She lives by the word “Persistence”, a mantra her father held throughout their life. He, unfortunately, passed away last year so to honor and memorialize his guiding words, Jennifer had his penmanship tattooed on her wrist.
Jennifer is a farrier who emulates the dedication, passion, and commitment it takes to be a farrier and mother as many female farriers are. She also emulates the core values Mustad holds. Jennifer explains that there has never been a time that she did not admire Mustad’s dedication to its customers: farriers. She says, for this reason, she will always be a customer and more specifically “When I’m buying nails, I’m buying Mustad.”