Saturday, August 20, 2005

Farrier Schools Meet in Oklahoma City; Educators’ Alliance Formed

Farrier Schools Meet in Oklahoma City; Educators’ Alliance Formed

A two-day meeting has just closed in Oklahoma City, OK; Can you say “American Farriers Education Council”?

Let’s just call it AFEC.

Many pundits on the sidelines of farrier politics thought that when Oklahoma State Horseshoeing School owner Reggie Kester called a meeting of school owners and instructors, the result would be a massive attack on the American Farrier’s Association, whose task force on education and registration in early 2005 was highly critical of the farrier education system in the U.S.

Instead, the reports from Oklahoma yesterday and today were optimistic and encouraging. “This is the best thing that could have happened,” beamed Doug Butler PhD FWCF, author of Principles of Horseshoeing III, the textbook used at most farrier schools around the world. “It brought these people together for the first time in years and they are working together for the benefit of education. I am very excited.”

According to Dr. Butler, 16 farrier schools were represented; a total of about 25 people were in attendance.

AFEC certainly did vent its frustration over recent negative publicity, but most instructors are long-time members and supporters of the American Farrier’s Association and are hoping for improvement in relations following the AFA’s mid-year Board of Directors meeting in Omaha in early September, which will include an open forum on farrier education and licensing. AFEC’s frustration is outlined in a list of 16 resolutions related to AFA politics and makes clear the AFEC stand that blanket criticism of farrier education will not go unanswered.

According to Chris Gregory FWCF of Heartland Horseshoeing School in Missouri, there are 47 farrier schools in the US. Hoofcare & Lameness has identified 24 private schools and 11 college/university-affiliated schools that offer courses aimed at complete beginners. Our criteria was that a school be “brick and mortar” and teach a residential horseshoeing course. There are a few schools that we just don't know much about. Other schools teach only advanced courses or short seminars as enrichment for working farriers; still others teach night courses for horse owners who wish to learn to care for their own horses. We also found two schools that teach horseshoeing by distance learning (aka “correspondence course”). In the fall of 2005, two new farrier schools will open in the USA that will teach new ideas in farrier science, such as barefoot hoofcare, hoof boots, and plastic horseshoes.

Officers of the new association are Reggie Kester (Oklahoma State Horseshoeing School) President; Bob Smith (Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School) Vice President and Spokesperson; and Susie Goode (Tucson School of Horseshoeing) Secretary-Treasurer.

Among the accomplishments of the group, in addition to the formation of the association and the hashing out of a list of resolutions related to AFA politics, were the resolution that member schools would adopt the use of a standardized curriculum based on the new edition of Butler’s textbook. He will work with AFEC to create testing modules to monitor students’ progress through the lessons in the book.

Another key development is the addition of continuing education events to attract graduates back to their alma mater farrier schools for upgrading of skills or certification levels on an annual basis.

For more information, please contact Bob Smith: 916 366 6064. I was not there so I can’t answer your questions.

I am posting an image file of a press release and resolutions from AFEC and hope it is readable. if you click on the image, you will go to a photo page and in turn can scroll through both pages of the news release and view the resolutions.

--Fran Jurga