Starting Oct. 26, KPU Farrier Science students can participate in online learning, a practicum, and e-portfolios during their 30-week certificate program.
The goals of updating the program are for students to graduate with more experience working on horses in the field with industry professionals. As a result, they can be better prepared to move onto their own careers as qualified farriers.
Some changes were also made to accommodate for learning during a pandemic. To keep students and instructors safer, the beginning of the program has shifted online for the parts of study where in-person learning isn’t necessary.
“Because of COVID-19, what we’ve done is we’ve moved as much of the theory as possible into an online format,” says Gerard Laverty, instructor for the program and a farrier of 47 years.
He says this could include topics such as studying horse anatomy, physiology, and diseases.
“I don’t expect it’s going to be a tough transition,” he says.
From Oct. 26 to Nov. 20, students will attend Monday to Thursday online sessions to learn as much theory as possible while at home.
On Fridays, they will start to build their e-portfolios by “researching, investigating, meeting and talking to farriers, veterinarians, farrier suppliers, and other stakeholders,” reads the KPU program updates webpage.
Students will then start the hands-on, in-person learning in November, entering the workspace with a better understanding of the theory behind a farrier’s work.
They will be called into the farrier barn at KPU Tech to begin learning the physical process of working with horses and learn firsthand about the many details that go into the process of shoeing them.
“We are fortunate that the shop is big enough that with a reduced class size, I don’t think space is going to be a challenge at all,” Laverty says.
The plan is to limit the number of people in the barn to 14, even though the space is big enough to accommodate 50-60 people, he explains.
However, the learning environment will extend past the farrier barn and onto campus — a place that he describes as having controlled, ideal conditions with calm, easy-going horses.
To get students comfortable shoeing horses in more realistic surroundings, half of the class will go out to work with farriers in different environments while the other half remains in the barn.
After six weeks of that, the groups will switch places.
Brian Moukperian, Dean of the Faculty of Trades and Technology, explained in a KPU news release that a capstone project will also be added to the program.
It will be documented in the e-portfolios. By the end of their program, a student’s e-portfolio should provide a visual representation of their learning journey, says Laverty.
It could include a personal bio, findings, discoveries made while reaching out to industry professionals, and documentation of cases they’ve worked on or observed during their practicum.
“Anyone that would be thinking about pairing them on as an apprentice would be able to go to that e-portfolio, look at it, and see that progression,” he says.
With a practicum comes more experience, and with an e-portfolio that proves their hard work, skill, and knowledge, graduates should be much more prepared to enter the workforce, he concludes.
For more information on the Farrier Science Certificate program, visit their information page.