Working in Clark County: Chris Wilson: Farrier

By Mary Ricks, Columbian news assistant




Working in Clark County, a brief profile of interesting Clark County business owners or a worker in the public, private, or nonprofit sector. Send ideas to Mary Ricks: mary.ricks@columb...; fax 360-735-4598; phone 360-735-4550.

“I always knew I wanted to do what my grandpa did,” says Chris Wilson, a Ridgefield High School graduate who has spent 10 years as a farrier. “From the time I was very little I watched him work and never left his side. I learned the trade from him.”

Name: Chris Wilson.

Job/employer: Self-employed, Chris Wilson Farrier Service.

Age: 30.

Residence: Brush Prairie.

What a farrier does: A farrier is a specialist in equine hoof care, including the trimming and balancing of horses’ hooves and placing shoes on their hooves. I usually work six days a week, shoeing about 15 horses per day, all year long. A lot of my business is show horses.

Education/professional background: I graduated from Ridgefield High School. I didn’t go to a horseshoeing school. I learned the trade from my grandfather, Bud Wilson. I never left his side and watched everything he did. He made some horseshoeing videos and I helped him. He died of cancer in 1995. I was also an apprentice with other farriers for about two years.

Learning continues: I recently went to Missouri to take the American Farrier Association certification test. Farriers are not required to take the test but I wanted to be certified. Only about 600 are certified out of about 75,000 working farriers. I would like to take the journeyman’s test next. Someday I would like to open my own farrier school.

One word to describe yourself: Easygoing.

Most rewarding part of job: The most rewarding part for me is making horses physically sound — free from pain, comfortable, healthy. I work with four veterinarians and when they have a problem with a horse’s feet, we work together to solve the problem.

Most challenging part of job: Although it is a physical job, I don’t think there is anything challenging about it.

Best feature of my Vancouver/Clark County community: My work is close to home. I don’t have to go more that 15 miles from my house to work and if someone lives farther away, they come to me. I find it peaceful, calming, just me and a horse.

What would make your community a better place: I would like to see more youth involved in riding.

Favorite restaurant/pub/coffee shop/store: Mill Creek Pub and South Pacific Cafe & Lounge, both in Battle Ground.

Hobbies: Horseshoeing is my job but it is my hobby too. I compete in making roadster horseshoes.

Volunteer activities: I often volunteer at horse shows and rodeos at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds.

Favorite travel destination: My favorite place is hunting in northern British Columbia, Canada.

Most interesting book in last 12 months: I mostly read American Farriers Journal.

One thing you want to do this year: I would like to go to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev.

Something you want to do within five years: I haven’t thought that far ahead, but I would like to take more time for myself.

People you’d most like to meet: Craig Trinka, founder of World Championship Blacksmiths; Jim Keith, a farrier and manufacturer of blacksmithing tools; and country singer George Strait.

Chris Wilson Ferrier Service