Stuart Muir - Certified Journeyman Farrier: Addicted to His Dream Job
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Posted by Megan Arszman
Just about little boy dreams of doing something with his hands growing up, and Stuart Muir was no exception. After owning his own pony at the young age of 10, Muir’s farrier, Brent Fury, invited him to give shoeing a try one day. He only trimmed one foot on his first attempt, but after that, he was instantly hooked. The native of Christchurch, New Zealand, spent every school holiday for free until he could start as an apprentice, all while soaking in as much as he could before he set out on his own and earned his New Zealand Farrier Certification in 2000 under Jury. “I was just addicted straight away,” says Muir. “I enjoy being able to rehabilitate horses and get them moving, back to competing, and performing at a high standard again.” In 2012 he earned a scholarship from the Equine Research Fund of New Zealand, which funded a trip from New Zealand to the International Hoof Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio, and then followed that with a 10-day externship under the tutelage of Scott Morrison, DVM, at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky that launched his career in a new direction.
Muir spent the majority of his career in New Zealand, but also shod horses for his clients while they were competing in Australia. He continued to learn as much as he could from some of the top professionals in podiatry, including Chris Pollitt, Grant Moon, Simon Curtis, and Ric Redden.
In 2012 he came back to Lexington to spend another 10-day externship with Dr. Morrison when an opening became available for a permanent farrier position at the Rood & Riddle Equine Podiatry Center. At the urging of Dr. Morrison, Muir applied and was able to get a visa, and then six months later he made the shift to America.
“In a lot of ways, America is really leading the charge for therapeutic shoeing,” says Muir. “As far as world leaders go, I think Rood & Riddle is leading the way in progressive podiatry for horses with the cutting edge technology and science that they use here. It’s a dream job, really—sometimes I have to pinch myself.”
Muir loves his job because he’s still learning new things everyday. “Every client’s story here just seems so technical, with so many small corrections and modifications we can make to help each horse. We’re just trying to modify and keep up with what we’re seeing when we’re examining horses’ feet.”
One tip Muir would like to share with horse owners is keep your horse on a regular shoeing cycle. “Keeping your horse’s hooves balanced is crucial to any horse to perform at his best.” Also, keeping your farrier informed with any changes in performance is imperative to keeping your horse performing at the optimum level.
“There’s really a relationship between the trainer/owner and the farrier to keep open so that these horses remain as sound as possible,” he says.
In late May 2014, Muir did two days of testing for his Journeyman Farrier Certification with the American Farriers Association, the top qualification for farriers in the USA and respected worldwide. After passing the written exam with a 93% he then had to forge a handmade Bar-Shoe in 35 minutes. The following day he was required to complete a full set of handmade shoes on a horse within 2 hours, earning his certification.
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