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Thursday, January 17, 2008

British Government Seeks to Count, Quantify Hoof Trimming in Lead Up to Regulation of New Paraprofessional Group

A nation with one of the most standardized farrier programs in the world--and an Act of Parliament to back it up--is looking at natural hoof trimmers in preparation for a possible national training and registration program. Equine dental technicians are also on the list of “new paraprofessionals” under scrutiny by LANTRA.

Lantra Equine and Professions Allied to Veterinary Science Industry Partnership Manager, Lisa Jarvis said: “We estimate that around 500 dental technicians and barefoot trimmers work in the UK, but it is an emerging area and very little is known about it.”

Lisa adds: “In order for Lantra to work with the para-professionals and (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Defra to develop frameworks for training and qualifications we urgently need equine dental technicians and barefoot trimmers to take part in this research.”

The agency has invited people currently making a living as natural hoof trimmers to fill out a survey form about their background, training, horse skills, and levels of expertise at trimming.

The survey questions are grouped into eight main themes:
· Current numbers employed in the industry
· Entry route into current job role (i.e. school, college, university)
· Training route used (length of training, type of training, accreditation)
· Predicted numbers entering the industry
· Job roles – tasks, competencies
· Business – number of clients and horses treated
· Membership in organizations
· Interaction with other professionals (e.g. veterinary surgeons, farriers)

Farriers in the UK are regulated under the Farriers Registration Act, a national law enacted by Parliament in the 1970s. The Act specifically outlaws the shoeing of horses by anyone who is not a qualified farrier listed by the Farriers Registration Council.

Barefoot trimmers have been able to work on horses for pay in Britain up to this point because they are not performing farriery, i.e., applying shoes. According to the Farriers Registration Council (FRC), farriery is defined in the Farriers (Registration) Act 1975 as ‘any work in connection with the preparation or treatment of the foot of a horse for the immediate reception of a shoe thereon, the fitting by nailing or otherwise of a shoe to the foot or the finishing off of such work to the foot’. In the future, in other countries and in other legal documents, farriery may be re-defined as “trimming and/or shoeing”, or it may continue to migrate into two distinct professional groups.

Click here to view the survey (but don't fill it out unless you live in Britain and are a hoof trimmer).

1 comment:

Transylvanian horseman said...

That sounds just like Britain: regulate everything. My experience as a horse owner in Britain is that, in the area where I lived (Oxfordshire), there was a shortage of farriers. Therefore the farriers (with their convenient legal protection) behaved like a mafia, charged enormous prices, turned up as late as they wished, and one was lucky if all four shoes stayed on for two weeks. That is not to say that there are not some excellent farriers in Britain too. However, it would be a breath of fresh air in Britain if the Farriers Registration Act were repealed and replaced by a tiered systen (as for professional engineers) where the basic level farrier has completed a 3-month American-style course. It would increase choice, make it easier to join the profession, and pull the rug out from under an anti-competitive monopoly. Oh, yes, and American techniques are probably well in advance of the old 1950's craft skill approach to farriery used in Britain.