Verge Meets: TikTok star Sam Dracott

From the farm to five-star events. Verge chats to TikTok star Sam Dracott on how he quickly rose to social media stardom, what daily life is like as a Farrier, and his scary encounter with a Shetland Pony…

 

How long have you been a Farrier?

I have been a qualified farrier since 2013, so that’s 10 years, and then the four-year apprenticeship, so that’s 14 in total.

 

“It’s a wild feeling to get these numbers on TikTok and how many people have seen my content, I really don’t take it for granted. I was in the top 10 for the most viewed video of 2021, then most viewed of 2022.”

 

How long does the Farrier training process take?

It’s a four-and-a-half-year apprenticeship but then prior to that, there are several entry courses which might either be three months or up to two years depending on your GCSEs, so in total, it can be up to six-and-a-half years – quite extensive!

 

What do you enjoy most about being a Farrier?

Every day is different. I never know what to expect until I get to the job and can all depend on the horse’s needs and its shoeing style, and even down to how the horse’s mood is on that particular day. What’s nice is that I have my regular clients and I’ve got to know them really well, so it’s a combination of regular access to the same horses and clients but also, every time I go there it’s slightly different, so in that aspect it keeps me on my toes.

 

Does the shoeing process cause any pain to the horse?

A massive no! The shoeing process does not involve any nerve endings and is basically just a giant version of our fingernail – and there’s no nerve endings in our fingernails. The horses feel the sensation of what we’re doing but there is no pain element at all.

 

Have you had any funny or scary incidents with a horse?

It’s something I don’t share often as it’s pretty embarrassing – it was both scary and funny but I try to play down the scary bit because it involved a Shetland Pony… I was on a job and a lady was struggling to catch this Shetland, so I went to help her, half cornered it, then it started running straight at me so I thought I’d try and catch it and grab my arms around it. Big mistake, I’m 6ft 1 and this tiny pony that wasn’t even waist height dragged me round the field with me hanging off the side of it. Eventually my arms gave way and my shoulder popped out, dislocating it. It wasn’t funny at the time as it hurt so much, but looking back and knowing I was dragged around by this little pony makes me laugh now. Don’t try that at home guys!

 

“I have no idea what I would do instead as I’ve never given it a thought… maybe a pilot would be quite cool?”

 

What types of horses to you specialise in the most?

The majority is polo, but I also cover pretty much everything else, from show jumping to eventing, to dressage and riding schools. I also shoe a couple of heavy draft horses that pull logs, as well as some horses that do carriage driving, but predominantly polo.

 

Do you think you’ll always be a farrier and if not, what do you think you’ll do instead?

Yes, I will always be a farrier as that is pretty much all I know, and I know it inside-out. I have no idea what I would do instead as I’ve never given it a thought… maybe a pilot would be quite cool? I’d get to fly around and see some cool places and do some travelling.

 

How long does it typically take for you to create a video for TikTok?

Not long at all really. Where I’ve done this skill for so long and the horses are typically a one-time shot, initially I make sure I choose the right horses for filming. All I have to do is set up the equipment and film. It’s pretty much all in one take and because of that, I’m lucky that I don’t have to do much editing. While I often use the same horses, sometimes they’re not in the mood for filming which can subsequently make the video no good!

 

What are the weirdest comments that you get on your videos?

I get lots of people saying that I look like Johnny Sins or Jason Statham which is quite funny – I think I look more like me than them! A lot of people say funny stuff like the hoof looks like it’s made of coconut; others comment wanting to know what it smells like. To be fair, most are questions based on the process itself – sometimes the way they phrase their questions is quite funny though.

 

What’s the most views you’ve had on one TikTok?

The most views I’ve had on one video is 309 million, which is 5 times the population of the UK and absolutely wild when put into that context. That video was only posted in August last year and then officially awarded the UK’s Most Viewed Video of 2022 with 273 million views at the time – pretty nuts!

 

“I love the fact I’m showing people that the trade is still very much alive, as well as what actually goes into it and how much training is involved – just showing that there is much more to it than people realise.”

 

 What milestones have you hit through TikTok – i.e. followers, likes, views etc?

Firstly, it’s a wild feeling to get these numbers on TikTok and how many people have seen my content, I really don’t take it for granted. I was in the top 10 for the most viewed video of 2021, then most viewed of 2022. I’ve also got a few videos that have reached well over 100 million and one that’s at about 300 million now. I have around 4 million people following me on TikTok, as well as just hitting 1 million subscribers on YouTube.

 

What’s the coolest thing to come out of being a social media star?

Probably the coolest thing is attending some amazing events that I get invited to, opportunities that I wouldn’t normally get from the day-to-day job. I recently went on ITV’s Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh where I shod a horse in front of huge cameras and a big crew – certainly something that wouldn’t happen as a day-to-day farrier. I love the fact I’m showing people that the trade is still very much alive, as well as what actually goes into it and how much training is involved – just showing that there is much more to it than people realise.

 

Where do you see yourself going with social media?

Ultimately, I think I’d like to continue going as I am really. It seems to be working well and people love to see the content and just generally be educated on the trade. I would like to eventually travel with it, see the world and see how it’s done differently in other countries and how different the horses might be, but other than that, I want to continue going as I am.

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