ANDREW POYNTON FWCF discusses farriery standards in the UK
WHAT provision is made for maintaining and improving farriery throughout the UK?
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the expected norm for all professions
today; that is regular refresher courses and information to keep the practitioner
up to date with the latest developments in their field.
In farriery the three main bodies associated with the craft, the Worshipful Company
of Farriers (WCF), the Farriers Registration
Council (FRC) and the National Association of Farriers Blacksmiths and Agricultural
Engineers (NAFBEA) jointly work together to promote and monitor CPD for farriers.
Farriers are encouraged to participate in a minimum of two and a half days per year
and since recording CPD began in 2007, there has been healthy uptake, with
increasing numbers of farriers involved.
The courses, clinics and seminars are many and diverse, including joint veterinary
and farriery seminars, practical trimming and shoeing clinics; other courses may
dedicated to new advanced specialist techniques. Farriers studying for the voluntary
advanced exams also accrue CPD credits.
The farriery training scheme in the UK is held in high regard the world over, attracting
voluntary candidates to attempt the WCF examinations, from the national standard
Diploma of the Worshipful Company of Farriers (DipWCF), through the Associateship
of the Worshipful Company of Farriers (AWCF) to the Fellowship of the Worshipful
Company of Farriers (FWCF).
So what benefit is all this to the horse and horse owner?
There are standards and education for all farriers; the DipWCF pass level standard
should maintain the majority of horses’ feet, keeping them sound, whether the horse
having feet trimmed or being shod; the four year plus training equips the farrier
Once qualified the farrier should continue to learn and gain further skill and experience
performing on a higher level.
When the owner, vet and farrier are faced with unresolved lameness, not necessarily
through any fault of the farrier, they can refer the case to a farrier holding the
AWCF, the qualification for remedial farriery.
This is not to be confused with ATF (Approved Training Farrier) which some farriers
place after their names. As stated the farrier has been approved to train an apprentice
and will have had to attend a course then demonstrate their ability to teach an apprentice,
a commendable task indeed, but not the higher qualification.
There are many courses, clinics
The FWCF is the highest qualification in farriery. Fellows will be involved in scientific
research and may be farriery examiners.
The parties involved with the horse may wish to work together on the case or independently
until all avenues have been explored and hopefully a resolution found.
The referral farrier’s role is to aid where possible and then ideally return the
case to the farrier or one who will maintain the work.
There is a system in place for the best welfare of the horse; it is important for
horse owners, farriers and veterinary surgeons to be aware
of this and to take full advantage of the skills and expertise of the professionals
The industry is well regulated and where sub standard work comes to light, guidance
and further training can be given.
For farriers to deliver quality work they need suitable working conditions and amenable
The responsibility of the owner to have the horse routinely attended at appropriate
intervals makes all the difference.
The system is in place for the best
welfare of the horse.
This article first appeared in Horse Health Magazine, February/ March 2009