2023: March 27 - May 19 & Sep 26 - Nov 18
2023: March 27 - May 19 & Sep 26 - Nov 18
Meet Mission Farrier School Graduates from around the globe. Got questions? Feel free to reach out. Especially if one is located in your area. You are invited to join the Mission Farrier School community.
(All are Practically Living Legends! List is alphabetical)
Graduate of Mission Farrier School 2012
Read Liselle's insightful article Mystery of the Lost Shoe. She's posted several excellent blog entries on her website.
The 8 week program I completed with MFS provided me with a superb foundation for the beginning of my farrier career. A low student to instructor ratio, comfortable and safe forging/shoeing stations, and excellent quality of instruction are only a few of the benefits of this school. The hands-on trimming, forging and shoeing skills I practiced, along with a comprehensive introduction to anatomy, pathology and biomechanics enabled me to "hit the ground running" in the one-year apprenticeship I secured following school. Mark Plumlee taught me that farriery is both craft and science, and that to be successful in this career I must continually challenge myself to continue learning, continue practicing and to think outside my box. Ten years later, I enjoy an overflowing practice, love every minute of my job, and regularly encounter new situations that remind me how much more I still have to learn. Thanks, Mission!
- Liselle Batt
Liselle owns Western Maine Farrier Service, a mobile farrier practice offering balanced trimming, conventional forge-fit shoeing, as well as glue-on composite shoes and boot-fitting. She is a 2012 graduate of Mission Farrier School in Washington State, has served as secretary and past president of the Maine Farriers Association, and is currently accredited through the International Association of Professional Farriers (IAPF).
In addition to her ambulatory practice, Liselle owns Butterfield Farm, an off-the-grid solar-powered horse farm and trailer-in farrier shop providing short-term therapeutic board for horses suffering acute and chronic pathologies like laminitis or founder and white line disease. In her non-existent free time, Liselle enjoys procrastinating weeding the garden with shameful amounts of trail-riding on her quarter horse and Arabian geldings.
Learning to ground tie will be a huge asset on these Draft horses. But understanding horsemanship will be your future.
This is how you will learn and bond a horse to stand while you do your work. Horsemanship! - S.E.
I was referred to Mission Farrier School by a longtime farrier. When I called him and asked where I should go to school to become a certified farrier his reply was “Give Mark Plumlee a call, he is running a School that is leading the farrier science protocol.”
At that time, I had no Idea or even heard of for that matter “Natural Balance”. Mark and I had met once many years prior when he was shoeing Pat Davis’s horses in Adams on the B.L Davis Ranch where I was employed. Thirty years had passed since we met and I already knew the legacy of Marks farrier work.
I was not looking for a stamp or traditional training in the farrier sciences, I was looking for better workmanship, horsemanship and knowledge of equine podiatry. The cutting edge of evaluating locomotion combined with knowledge and horsemanship was exactly what I was presented while attending Mission Farrier School. No other educational process prepares one for the challenges they will see head on while beginning your career as a farrier.
Both Mark and Karen have an ethical commitment beyond reproach. You will understand even more the connection they have with life in Christ as it also pertains to your everyday business and horsemanship. Being connected is a big part of a farriers life, you will see what others cannot and fix what others don’t have knowledge of.
In the cowboy traditions there are good, bad and ugly. I have seen them all with an open mind and developed into a farrier with knowledge, skill and horsemanship.
Evaluate, comprehend, develop, emulate and respond all have great meaning in what you learn as you grow in this rewarding field of Farrier Science.
- Sam Ely CBT, LSHM, CFP
Grays Harbor County, Washington
Graduate of Mission Farrier School Spring of 2016
My name is Greg Gill, I graduated Mission Farrier School in the Spring of 2016, and eventually worked for Mark and Karen as an assistant instructor for a year.
At this moment in time I service Grays Harbor County Washington and I have a client base of about 300 horses.
Here is what MFS has done for me. When I showed up at school, I had a pick up truck, and the basic farrier tools needed to attend school, as well as some horsemanship skills, and a little experience in barefoot trimming. Over the next 8 weeks I was completely immersed in anatomy, hoof function, general horsemanship, round pen theory, and forge work. I got to work on a number of laminitis cases, and helped a lot of horses get comfy. Mark focuses on "doing something FOR the horse, and not TO the horse", and sometimes doing something FOR the horse takes trying new things, and thinking way outside the box. MFS helped me learn to think outside the box in order to make a more comfortable horse, and if I get stuck on a difficult case and can't seem to make the progress the horse needs I've always been able to call Mark and talk over a game plan on how to get a better result.
Along with learning the skills needed to apply different therapeutic systems to the horse, I learned how to get along with young horses who didn't hold still, old horses who couldn't hold their feet up very high or for very long, and troubled horses who just didn't like farriers or the shoeing process very much. We often ended up shoeing the horse loose in the round pen, and I've used that skill a lot over the years. I think learning to get along with the horse and the owner has been one of the biggest ways MFS has made me successful in the farrier industry.
Since attending MFS I have always had horses to shoe, and great clients to work for. It's hard to beat a job where you get to drive around, drink coffee, help out horses, and visit with good people every day.
Mark and Karen at Mission Farrier School have been a huge encouragement in my life and they gave me a career that I enjoy every day. - Greg Gill
Choosing Mission Farrier School was the first, and continues to be the best decision I've made for my career as a farrier. Being able to map feet, and promote healthy hoof function are the most valuable tools I have in my toolbox. This understanding enables me to help horses lead happy, healthy lives with increased comfort levels and successful careers- whether they are beloved pets or high level athletes. I am beyond grateful for Mark, Karen and my time at MFS.
- Dana Hall
You are invited to read Dana's excellent piece with her insight offered. Dana and her peers are the epitome of professionalism. Building a business takes strategic thinking. Whether you are new to the industry or a seasoned veteran, there's value in clicking through and read more of the Hooves For Thought series.
Sick Animals and Emergencies
Dear Prospective Farriers,
As a graduate of Mission Farrier School, I can confidently say that the education and training I received there has been invaluable in helping me to build successful farrier businesses in two different states. The school's curriculum and instruction in farriery is unparalleled, providing students with a strong foundation in the principles and techniques of the trade.
If you're looking for a way to make a positive impact on the lives of horses and build a successful business, Mission Farrier School is the perfect choice. Not only will you receive top-quality education and training, but you'll also have the support of experienced mentors throughout your career.
I highly recommend Mission Farrier School to anyone interested in pursuing a career in farriery. It has been a truly rewarding experience for me, and I believe it can be for you as well.
Graduate of Mission Farrier School 2017
The Pitfalls of Price Shopping
It’s difficult to put into words all the ways that Mission Farrier School impacted my life. Prior to farrier school, I held office jobs, got married, had two babies, did home daycare for six years, and then got another office job. I am a lifelong horse owner and lover. I got wrapped up into the world of barefoot trimming when I acquired a horse that refused to be shod. Sadly, but not inconsequentially, my barefoot trimmer got the trim all wrong, and I didn’t know enough about it until that horse went lame and got a diagnosis of navicular disease. This trimmer, when I called her to talk about the diagnosis, said to me, “well now YOU have a lot to learn”. Wow, was this prophetic or what? That was the last time I heard from that trimmer, and the one I reached out to next became a good friend and encourager. He took my horses x-rays to a farrier clinic so he could be sure about what went wrong and what he needed to do. Over time he was able to make my horse comfortable on the fronts, but then she had additional medical issues that needed to make me come to the decision to lay her to rest. I acquired another horse, and put this horse in boots. My trimmer showed me how to take back his toes so that the boots would fit more comfortably all through the cycle between trims. Then he started suggesting I learn how to trim for myself, and encouraged me to learn to trim as a career change. It was inviting because my office job was so boring I felt I was withering away mentally and spiritually. I began the search for barefoot trimming courses.
I got very frustrated in my search as the barefoot community is very polarized, and each trimming instructor believes they have a special secret that other trimmers don’t know, or they have the BEST way to trim,…..yet, most courses consisted of online learning, and then a weekend or five day hands on instruction, or online and then years of apprenticing with their certified mentors. I wasn’t confident that I could present myself as a professional and do my best for horses with five days of training. Then I stumbled upon the Mission Farrier School website. I immediately read the whole website start to finish, and then practically cried. I understood this. I felt this on the inside. And right then I was able to understand how shoes held an important part in the whole picture, as a prosthetic that could be applied using the same balance parameters as the barefoot trim, and immediately make a hurting horse more comfortable. I called Mark on the phone and spoke to him about all my searching and my story.
I asked him if a 50 year old woman with a bad back could hold up in this career. His words to me I will never forget were “well, desire can accomplish a lot”.
And desire did! I felt the Lord start to line everything up in order for me to attend MFS. But it wasn’t without a fight. I had just gotten over a stage one breast cancer treatment of radiation, and not long after I met Mark on the phone, I was rushed to the hospital with multiple pulmonary embolisms in both lungs. I was told I would need to be on blood thinners for the rest of my life. Blood thinners don’t go well with knives, hammers, and horses feet. I was told by family to give up my plans. But the same day the doctors told me that my problem came as a side effect of a prescription I was taking as a preventative. So I told them, well I’m not going to take it then. The drug only reduces my chance of recurring cancer by 10 percent. Statistics said recurrence without the drug is 20 percent. Why do I want to take something that could kill me to prevent something else that could kill me by 10 percent difference? My oncologist said she would be ok with me if I stopped taking it and had my ovaries removed. I made plans immediately to schedule the surgery for the summer after graduating from Mission.
There are so many cool ways that the Lord lined things up for me at Mission. I was thrilled that Mark and Karen are Christians, and that there was student housing on site, and that I was sharing a room with two other ladies close to my age. I found a guy locally that was selling all his farrier tools, and I got a lot of good stuff including a pair of Lee Green pull offs that Mark secretly coveted.
I won’t lie, about two weeks into school I was so frustrated with forging class I felt like walking all the way home. Mark can tell you how comical I looked at times at the anvil. But then I had a breakthrough and started to close the gap between myself and my class mates. And I was relieved at times that the recycle bin was on the opposite side of the shop, when I took me 20 minutes to pull off one shoe and my body NEEDED that little walk back and forth to the bin. And I can still hear his voice in my head when I’d get into a pickle and Mark would call out “Rachel, are you SAFE???” Ummmm….no? He would give my rogue horse to a larger male student, and I said that it felt like failure. Mark replied that I wouldn’t be working on those kind of horses. I use his logic throughout my business when deciding what clients to keep on my books.
The eight weeks at school flew by. We were kept busy working and learning from 9 am to 5pm each day, rain or shine (90% rain). We were allowed to practice forging outside of school hours. So pretty much any free time we had we spent exhausted and recovering. I made lifelong friends and had many experiences I’ll remember forever. I’m thankful for an education with the emphasis on anatomy and mechanics. We watched every horse walk before and after and learned about footfalls. We had many rehabilitation cases that just turned up during school. We had some problem horses that got help in the round pen. It was just an amazing time of learning and even when I hang up my apron for good I’m so glad I was a part of Mission Farrier School!
- Rachel Nydam
How do you briefly condense the greatest yet hardest two months of my life?!
For the past 12 years, I’ve consistently attended CE courses and expanded my practice. The one thing that has remained the same is the basic principles taught in class. Watching the horse move, understanding anatomy, and mapping the hoof to recognize distortions.
We were taught to think outside of the box with an understanding on hoof science. That teaching is priceless, it allows the student to be able to apply anything to the hoof with purpose. The horsemanship is an added benefit to understanding behavior and it also made me more of a patient and better human being. Getting under a horse the very second day of class was brilliant, perfect practice from day 1. Mark says we do things FOR the horse not TO the horse. This is the reason so many graduates are so successful!
- Jennifer Poulin
Tim Rogers, DVM
Performance ISELP member since 2020
Studied Veterinary Medicine - Equine at Colorado State University
2X Graduate of Mission Farrier School
Basic Course: Class of 2013
Advanced Course: Class of 2018
As a Veterinarian and a graduate of Mission Farrier School, I occasionally present talks to local horse owners. My favorite topic is "hoof balance" and how to evaluate a foot. People always want to know how they can tell if their horses feet are getting better or worse. Most suspect things aren't going as well as they should be but talking to their farrier doesn't often provide much clarity. So I teach them exactly what you learn in day 1 at Mission Farrier School, how to map the sole of a foot, how to find the internal structures of the foot from that process, and how to do a trim balanced around those structures.
After my last "hoof talk" my phone was ringing off the hook with owners wanting hoof consults from me ($150) and wanting to know where they could find a farrier to give their horse what I described as a balanced trim.
Sadly, though I live in a county with one of the densest and wealthiest horse communities in the nation, there is not a single farrier I can recommend who has the basic knowledge to do what is needed. What Mission Farrier School teaches is scientifically and anatomically-based farrier work. You not only get that, but you get tons of rehab experience, making rehabilitation decisions based on sound anatomical and biomechanical knowledge using the most modern materials and approaches. And that is on top of learning the traditional skills to shape shoes or forge them from raw stock.
The point of all of this is to say that no matter how saturated an area is with farriers, no matter how prestigious and expensive the horses, there is an incredible need out there for the type of knowledgeable graduates Mission Farrier produces. Because we specialize in sports medicine, we can't do our job effectively without a farrier who understands their work from a modern anatomically-based perspective. The need is so great that my clinic is planning to send our own person to train at Mission Farrier School. We are confident we can keep that person busy full time just off our current veterinary clients.
So, if you are shopping farrier schools, ask yourself what sort of farrier you want to be. If you truly want to help horses who are struggling and if working with veterinarians on tough cases sounds like a career goal, then I don't think there is any place BUT Mission Farrier School to receive your foundation education. No matter how "saturated" an area is with farriers, there is always a place for a Mission Farrier graduate and the unique knowledge they bring.
Sincerely, Tim Rogers DVM
“For me, Mission Farrier School is an educational facility that goes even beyond my high expectations.
I went to learn how to trim & shoe horses with the knowledge of the natural use of hooves in this domesticated world but learned so much more!
I have learned more than I thought possible about horses, their behavior, their feet and of course anatomy.
Also how to build a business, how to forge, how to deal with other professionals like vets and clinics. Natural Horsemanship is also a big part of the education.
It is a hands on education from day one, with loads of theoretical knowledge as well.
I still use all of this knowledge to this day.
Thank you for the warm and kind home you provided for me when I was on the other side of the globe, and if course the bases of all the skills I still use as a professional farrier in The Netherlands.“
- Jill van de Wetering-Rietman
Excerpt from HoofHugger.nl
Trimming & shoeing of horses & ponies with the knowledge of Mother Nature's logic, adapted to our domesticated horse.
To do something FOR the horse.