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 schoolsshortcomings.
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 relevantfarrier 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.
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.
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 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:
– Certified Journeyman Farrier,
through the American Farriers Association
– Registered Journeyman Farrier,
through the Guild of Professional Farriers
the following 4 certifications through ELPO, Equine Lameness
– Live Sole Hoof Mapping Certification, (research on identifying
the internal structures of the hoof through landmarks on the bottom
of the foot).
– Certified Natural Balance Barefoot Trimmer,
– Certified Natural Balance Farrier
– Certified Lameness Specialist
as a Farrier Educator
and Clinician in Modern Farrier Science.
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 traditionalfarrier school education.
He has given talks and clinics on all aspects of Hoof Health for
over 15 years.
one is better suited at bridging the gap between the old and the
up for success!
Get the best horseshoeing school education
available at Mission Farrier School.
reading for more detailed information on Mission Farrier School and
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
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
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
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
§ -- 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
Outline: Yes, you will
learn how to trim feet and nail on shoes, but you will also learn:
* how to succeed
biomechanics of the lower limb
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
* what the pivot
point for forward movement means to your horse
* how to identify
* how to evaluate
* how to assess
* how to assess
* what goes wrong
shoeing, performance shoeing, therapeutic shoeing
* application of
the EDSS, SoulMax, Clog, and DNP therapeutic systems
* how to
correctly understand and trim feet
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
* and how to
communicate all this to your client.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
§ 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.
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.
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.
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
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
All students will have the opportunity to learn and participate in
round pen shoeing.
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
§ 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.
provider for, and licensed by, the Washington State Workforce
Training and Education Coordinating Board (WTECB) as a private
* Approved for
funding through Veterans Affairs, GI Bill.
Instructor Mark Plumlee:
* has 6 certifications
through three National Farrier Associations.
a CJF (Certified Journeyman Farrier)
with the American Farriers Association, a RJF (Registered
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).
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