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The purpose of this page is to show the serious prospective student why Mission Farrier School  should be their choice of farrier schools.  This page is not meant to disparage any other farrier school.  In that spirit, we intend to set forth our positive attributes without pointing out other horseshoeing schools shortcomings.  Any comparisons to be made will have to be made by the prospective student hopefully in a spirit of searching for the best fit of horseshoeing schools for the student.  Of course we believe that we teach the best horseshoeing school/professional farrier education program in the country, and we have a pretty darn good track record to prove it.   Mark has been teaching modern, updated and relevant farrier science longer than anyone.  And being a third generation horseshoer and former rodeo cowboy, Mark has lived it and taught it from both sides, so he understands the issues better than most. 


We've heard it said, "what's wrong with the way we've always done it"?  Well, the "way we've always done it" is part of the reason we have navicular horses at age 7.  The "way we've always done it" has lead to long toes and low heels.  And the "way we've always done it" isn't really the way we've always done it.  Before the advent of keg shoes in the early 1900's, back when horseshoers were blacksmiths, horses didn't have distorted long pointy toes and under run heels, because blacksmiths hand forged shoes to a healthy foot that had more overall mass behind center and less overall mass in front of center.  Due to unsound shoeing practices, many of today's horses have just the opposite.  The health of the foot is in the back of the foot.  (Continue reading below for more information on this). 


Your Horse shoeing school education will cost you time and money  -  Let us set you up for success by giving you the best farrier science and horse shoeing education available.  If you know what you are getting into, if you are looking to become a professional farrier, if you will commit to working hard, then we hope you will choose Mission Farrier School We're looking for a few serious Farrier, Pre-vet, Veterinary and Equine Animal Science students who want to make a difference.
We teach only 4 sessions per year and our class sizes are limited.  We wish you all the best in your search for your farrier education.



Qualifications: The qualifications of the instructor are very important in your choice of farrier schools.  

Mark Plumlee is the Owner and the Instructor at Mission Farrier School.  His qualifications are unique in that Mark has 6 certifications through three National Farrier Associations.  This gives him the ability to teach tried and true methods which are in the horse�s best interest.  His certifications are:

CJF: Certified Journeyman Farrier, through the American Farriers Association

RJF: Registered Journeyman Farrier, through the Guild of Professional Farriers


And the following 4 certifications through ELPO, Equine Lameness Prevention Organization

LS-HMC: Live Sole Hoof Mapping Certification, (research on identifying the internal structures of the hoof through landmarks on the bottom of the foot).

CNBB: Certified Natural Balance Barefoot Trimmer,

CNBF: Certified Natural Balance Farrier

CLS: Certified Lameness Specialist

As well as a Farrier Educator and Clinician in Modern Farrier Science.

In addition to his certifications, Mark's Natural Balance experience dates back to its inception.  Mark was privileged to travel with Gene Ovnicek back in the early 1990's as Natural Balance farrier science first emerged.  He is an examiner, educator and contributing member of ELPO, the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization.  Mark currently has 5 educational DVDs available, and has been a pioneer in Natural Balance farrier education for over 15 years. 

Having taught initially at the community college level, Mark has taught horseshoeing school from both the traditional perspective and the natural balance perspective.  This gives his students a unique opportunity over all other horseshoeing schools

Mark has taken the natural balance farrier science and has successfully integrated it within a traditional farrier school education.  He has given talks and clinics on all aspects of Hoof Health for over 15 years. 

No one is better suited at bridging the gap between the old and the new.

Set yourself up for success!

Get the best horseshoeing school education available at Mission Farrier School. 
Continue reading for more detailed information on Mission Farrier School and Mark Plumlee.

Mission Farrier School:

Is dedicated to offering a common sense approach to the maintenance of the equine hoof, drawing not only on Natural Balance Farrier science, but also on traditional craftsmanship, forge work, and the increasingly improved technology available in the farrier industry today.

Recognizes the importance of good, traditional craftsmanship and forge work, and both are an important part of the curriculum.  To be a true professional, students must be proficient at the forge and anvil.

Is the first formal Horseshoeing School in the world to teach Natural Balance Farrier Science, now recognized as the most meaningful hoof science available.  Other schools have tried to incorporate Natural Balance shoes into their curriculum, however what has been misunderstood is that it�s not just about a shoe, it is about hoof preparation, minimizing distortion and healthy foot function.  It�s about understanding the biomechanics of the foot and maintaining proper equilibrium around the coffin bone.  The correct shoe is just a tool.  Natural Balance hoof science is simply using the natural foot as a model for identifying what is different in domestic feet, then addressing those needs appropriately.  What students learn at Mission Farrier School puts them far ahead of graduates from other programs in both knowledge and skill. 

Offers an intense 8-week program, teaching the most up-to-date and relevant  farrier science in the country, with leading edge professional farrier instruction.  Scientific research plus thousands of horses have shown us the merit of using the natural foot as a model for addressing the needs of the domestic foot.  No, we don�t ride wild horses, but wild or domestic, they are all born the same.  It�s what happens next that changes everything.

Mission Farrier School is not an easy program, and a telephone interview is required prior to acceptance.  It is important that students are specifically looking for what we teach, and it�s important that their farrier education is a good fit for them as well as for us. This is not a continuation of high school, and it is not a community college course.  It is a serious  horseshoeing school farrier education program with an emphasis on in-depth equine science.  You will come out of this course able to shoe a horse and able to communicate at a professional level with veterinarians and other professional farriers.


Course Outline:  Yes, you will learn how to trim feet and nail on shoes, but you will also learn:

* how to succeed in business

* the biomechanics of the lower limb

* accurate, relevant hoof science

* the anatomy of the lower limb, tendons, ligaments, bones, joints

* and how it was designed to function

* the importance of a heel first landing

* determining breakover

* what the pivot point for forward movement means to your horse

* how to identify distortion

* how to evaluate lameness

* how to assess anterior/posterior balance

* how to assess medial/lateral balance

* what goes wrong and why

* regular shoeing, performance shoeing, therapeutic shoeing

* application of the EDSS, SoulMax, Clog, and DNP therapeutic systems

* how to correctly understand and trim feet

* understanding the merits and challenges of barefoot

* how to trim for barefoot maintenance and performance

* what shoe to use and why

* how to use the forge and anvil

* how to properly shape keg shoes

* hand forging shoes

* and how to communicate all this to your client.

(See course outline for more specifics).



Our graduate's success speaks for its self and for us.  90% of our students remain in the profession 3-5 years after graduation.  The national average hovers around 7%.  That's quite a difference.  Why?  Because Mission Farrier School teaches meaningful hoof science.  You will know how to meet the needs of a foot and how to communicate that information to the client.  The horses tell the truth, and they will thank you.  When you have a proliferation of lameness like navicular disease as early as 6-7 years of age because 'it's the way we've always done it', there comes a time that we need to reexamine how horses are being shod.  Traditional or 'conventional' farrier science has become part of the problem. Shoeing a distorted toe, produces a lever on the dorsal aspect of the coffin bone and this puts the navicular region, impar ligament and collateral ligaments of the coffin joint under stress.  This will lead to lameness issues in the majority of horses who work or perform.  100 years ago farriers were not shoeing a distorted toe.  Horses were vital to the family farm and the economy of the land, and farriers hand-made all shoes.  As mechanization and the automobile came upon the scene, society's dependency upon the horse all but disappeared.  What also disappeared at that time were farriers who actually understood the biomechanics of the lower limb and how it was designed to function at a high level of soundness.  It was with the advent of the keg shoes, or 'ready-mades' as they were called, that implied that the shoe was ready to nail on in its present shape.  These keg shoes carried a more pointed toe, and horse shoers began to shoe the grown distortion.  Thus the beginning of rampant navicular disease in the equine population. 


The people who come to our program are looking specifically for what we teach and are very focused.  The average age is 37, though we've had them as young as 17 and as old as 63.


Goes far beyond conventional farrier science, and it will be our goal to not only produce professional farriers, but equally as important, to produce men and women who are driven to become professional horsemen.  If you can aspire to become a good horseman, you can't help but become a true professional and a better farrier.


Will give you the knowledge you need to recognize the needs of the equine foot.  That knowledge will not only help you attract a better clientele, but will also help you to become more successful in your business. You'll know how to prepare a foot for barefoot trimming, regular shoeing, performance shoeing and therapeutic systems.


Class sizes are limited.  Small class sizes mean a more personal touch to teaching and to your learning.  Mission Farrier School is a private vocational school, and has the highest success rate in the nation of graduates staying in the profession.


Mission's priority is not in graduating large numbers of farriers, but rather in graduating a few, very good men and women who can meet a horse's hoof care needs, and discuss those needs with the client.


MFS students start shoeing live horses the second day of class, under Mark's careful supervision.  All live shoeing.  Cadaver work is only used during dissections.   


Students receive an in-depth study of the anatomy and physiology of the equine limb, and the biomechanics of how that limb was designed to function.  You'll discuss what goes wrong and why. 


Mission Farrier School is privileged to be able to teach dissections using equine limbs donated from caring veterinarians and horse owners from around our community.  This gives our students an opportunity to get a literal hands-on understanding of the tendons, ligaments, bones and joints of the lower leg, as well as really seeing and feeling the internal structures of the hoof.


Is a referral center for lameness rehabilitation cases from WSU School of Veterinary medicine, as well as working with clinic veterinarians from around the greater Northwest.


Students are included in all aspects of therapeutic shoeing.  They gain valuable hands-on experience through doing, not just observing.  If you can understand what it takes to get a severely lame horse healthy, you can better understand how to keep a healthy horse sound. 


Mission Farrier School occupies a  36' x 72' heated professional farrier shop.  Work environment is very important during the early stages of your learning.  The shop is equipped with professional grade anvils and forges, classroom lecture area, library of farrier reference books, assorted specialty tools for student use.


The vast majority of student shoeing is done on-site, at the Farrier School, in a controlled environment.  Weather permitting, occasional field trips are made to the local Christian Horse Camp, where Mission Farrier School also maintains the hoof health of their 70+ horses.


Has a large committed clientele that bring their horses to class for students to shoe.  This is vital to your education.  These clients have been with us for years, specifically because of the quality shoeing that we teach. 


Communication is an important skill in both getting and maintaining desirable clientele.  Many professional farriers lack the ability to explain a horse's needs to the horse owner.  They lack the tools necessary to explain what they are doing and why they are doing it, in language the owner can understand.  'Because that's the way we've always done it' is not an adequate response.  At MissionFarrier School you will learn (1) how to evaluate a horse's needs, and (2) how to communicate that information to the client.  Having the skills to be able to 'talk the talk' with clients, veterinarians and other equine professionals help make MFS graduates some of the most successful in the industry. 


Good Hoof Science, Communication, Forging Skills, Craftsmanship and Horsemanship.  We believe that these 5 things are the essence of true professionals.  Today's better informed horse owner expects his/her farrier to be not only knowledgeable about the foot, but to also be a good horseman.  Physical restraints or rough handling of horses never has a positive outcome for the horse, and usually has a negative impact on the farrier as well.


Teaches positive horsemanship over restraint methods.  We are grounded in the natural horsemanship techniques as taught by Tom and Bill Dorrance,  Ray Hunt, Buck Brannaman, and Jon Ensign.  Mark has extensive experience in round pen shoeing and believes that good horsemanship is helping a horse make a willing connection with the farrier.  All students will have the opportunity to learn and participate in round pen shoeing. 


Students will learn how to make this good connection with horses,  whether you have grown up around them or are just beginning.  It's never too late or too early, if you are willing to stay teachable.  This will pave the way to building a quality clientele that appreciates your professionalism.


Mission Farrier School discusses and encourages all types of continuing education as well as certifications through the American Farriers Association, the Guild of Professional Farriers and Natural Balance Farrier Certification. 


Your farrier education is just the beginning of your learning experience.  If you aspire to become a true professional, your learning will continue long after you graduate from school.  Our hope is that you will continue to build on what we have taught you throughout your lives and careers.  These 8 weeks are just the beginning of your education and we are committed to offering you the best beginning available.  We look forward to welcoming you into our program.



* Approved provider for, and licensed by, the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board (WTECB) as a private vocational school.

* Approved for funding through Veterans Affairs, GI Bill.


Owner & Instructor Mark Plumlee:

* has 6 certifications through three National Farrier Associations.


*  is a CJF (Certified Journeyman Farrier) with the American Farriers Association, a RJF (Registered Journeyman Farrier) with The Guild of Professional Farriers, and 4 certifications through ELPO: LS-HMC (live sole hoof mapping certification), CNBBT (Certified Natural Balance Barefoot Trimmer), CNBF (Certified Natural Balance Farrier), CLS (Certified Lameness Specialist). 


*  is a former Vice President and Certification Examiner for the Guild of Professional Farriers, and is an educator and contributing member of ELPO, the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization.  Mark currently has 6 educational DVDs available, and has been a pioneer in Natural Balance farrier education for over 20 years. 


17028 Trombley Rd., 
Snohomish, WA  98290
Phone: 425 890-3043
Direct E-mail