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Main bodies work to maintain and improve farriery

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 be

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 is

having feet trimmed or being shod; the four year plus training equips the farrier well.

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

and seminars

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 currently available.

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 horses.

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