Jessica Cahill couldn’t see herself stuck in an office all day.
The resident of Hallifax, Nova Scotia, has always loved horses and animals. The horsewoman had gone overseas to study in the Netherlands, majoring in international food business and agricultural sustainability. However, it was her first love – horses – that would prevail.
Cahill made a decision to follow her passion and searched far and wide in Canada and the United States for the right person to help her achieve her objective of becoming a farrier. She selected Aiken-based Doug Eidenier, a Hall of Fame farrier, and owner of the South Carolina School of Horseshoeing.
“It’s a long way from home,” said Cahill. “Doug’s school really stood out to me.”
But why would Cahill want to try her hand at making a living in what’s considered to be a male-dominated industry?
“There’s a lot of art, technique and science involved with being a farrier,” said Cahill. “I like the combination of the different variables. The job itself provides you with a great deal of flexibility and stability, allows me to work with animals, and that’s my favorite part.”
The opportunity to establish a relationship with clients and bond with horses also served as an impetus for Cahill to direct her energies toward becoming a farrier.
“It’s project work,” said Cahill. “It’s a project of the foot, the horse, and it’s over the horse’s entire lifetime. You’re maintaining the horse. The more I work with Doug, the more I know, the more I can analyze and evaluate and be able to prevent lameness.”
Cahill said she finds the idea of the profession to be extremely rewarding because it’s beneficial to the horse and the horse’s owner.
“It’s great to be able to see the results of your work,” said Cahill. “The job offers a lot of diversity, and you’re always learning something. Every horse is an individual.”
The opportunity to be a farrier will allow Cahill to establish her own clientele. She will be working with one of the most prominent shoers in Nova Scotia when she returns home. The majority of Cahill’s clientele will be within a two-hour radius of Hallifax.
“I didn’t want to work in an office job my entire life,” said Cahill. “You’re shaping the horse. You have a picture in your mind, and you want to bring it to the forefront. I wanted to work with my hands, and I like artwork. This combines everything. It’s the perfect fit. I have a really great foundation. I have it set up with the farrier at home and will be starting work right away, so I can keep it going forward.”
Ben Baugh has been covering the equine industry and equestrian sport for the Aiken Standard since 2004. Among the awards Baugh has won include the 2003 Raleigh Burroughs Award as the turf writer making the most impact on the Florida Thoroughbred Industry.