"So you think you're cut out to be a farrier do you?"
"Aye zurr, that oi does"
"Have you worked as a farrier before?"
"No zurr, oi hasn't"
"But you have shoed a horse?"
"Not az zuch zurr, but oi haz tald a dankey terr fok awf onze!"
A farrier is a specialised blacksmith who specialises in forging horseshoes and fitting them to horses. Whilst most blacksmiths in the age of the horse should be able to throw a horseshoe without too much difficulty the farrier is an expert and will usually only be found in places with a large number of horsemen.
As a result of their specialisation they often historically developed a sideline in veterinary medicine as it applied to horses (and modern farriers, whilst not medically trained, often have horse massage or physiotherapy skills) and other animal handling skills1.
In cavalry units the farriers were in charge of the care and replacement of the horses and traditionally carried an axe to dispatch crippled animals and recover a specified hoof from dead animals for inventory purposes.
Game and Story Use
- Fantasy RPGs — and novels for that matter — are notorious for ignoring the practical realities of taking care of horses and other mounts. Occasionally having a horse throw a shoe or getting a stone lodge in a hoof that needs to be taken care of could add a touch of versimilitude and perhaps some variety to an otherwise uneventful journey.
- The party is in pursuit of a villainous NPC. The players' instinct might be to go to the local tavern for information, but they might do better to pump the local farrier about strangers needing their horses re-shod.