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How farriers’ registration act prevents cruelty to horses


Farriers are highly skilled craftsman.

THE state of farriery in Great Britain

through the 1950s, 60s and into the 70s

suffered from the post World War II decline

of the horse’s importance in both

commercial and agricultural sectors.

This resulted in many highly skilled

craftsmen leaving the trade.

Thankfully, there were some master farriers

who continued to practice and pass on their

expertise to their apprentices.

With the resurgence of the horse for

recreational use in the later 60s there was a dearth of well trained farriers, so many people attempted to do the job themselves, sadly at the expense of the horse.

As a result, the Worshipful Company of Farriers and the National Association of Farriers Blacksmiths and Agricultural Engineers, lobbied the government to bring about changes.

This led to the Farriers Registration Act of 1975 with minor amendments made in 1977 and 2002 to bring it in line with European Commission Directives.

This was and is an animal welfare act; ‘to prevent suffering by cruelty to horses arising from the shoeing of horses by unskilled persons; to promote the training of farriers; to provide for the establishment of a Farriers Registration Council to

register any persons engaged in farriery, and to prohibit the shoeing of horses by unqualified persons’.

It became law that all currently practicing farriers should be registered and all entering the trade complete an apprenticeship culminating in passing the trade test – the Diploma of the Worshipful

Company of Farriers.

The all time low standards of farriery in the 60s were turned around and the science of farriery is back on track promoting a high level of craftsmanship and theoretical


The particular issues the FRC has raised are:

Any EU member can establish themselves in another EU nation purely on the basis of six years experience.

That said, it is important to keep matters in perspective, there is no evidence of a flood of applicants as yet.

Should that change or welfare issues, or any other difficulties arise, such as wholesale abuse of the system, these will be reported to government departments and assistance requested.

This article first appeared in Horse Health Magazine, August/ September 2008


However, despite representations from all interested UK bodies, on the grounds that it could have an adverse effect on equine welfare and undermine the UK’s system of formal training, qualification and registration, the European Commission (EC) requires changes to UK farriery legislation.