Friday, May 06, 2016

British Minister Meets with Farriers on Future Registration, Discipline Changes for the Profession

DEFRA Minister George Eustice, MP can't take his eyes off the horseshoe he forged at the anvil with help from Simon Moore, FWCF, during an informal meeting with farriers and industry stakeholders in Cornwall last week. Eustice is working on possible changes to the farrier education and apprenticeship system in Great Britain through Parliamentary reform of the Farriers Registration Act. (Photo via Mr. Eustice)
On Friday, April 29th, George Eustice, a Member of (British) Parliament and Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) visited Bridge Farm in his home district of Cornwall in southwest England.

Mr. Eustice met with local Approved Training Farrier (ATF) Simon Moore, and his apprentice, Josh Ellery, along with a number of other local farriers and farrier industry representatives. His goal: to discuss some of the challenges facing the farriery industry.

George Eustice is a Member of Parliament
and Minister of State at DEFRA,the British
equivalent of the USDA.
The key point in the discussion between farriers and the government minister was the introduction of a "Farriers Bill" in Parliament, which will reform the current Farriers Registration Council (FRC), the administrative office in charge of enforcing the Act of Parliament known as the Farriers Registration Act (1975), which has been amended or updated at several points in its 40-year history.

Officials on hand to chat with Mr. Eustice included Ginny Ifould (Registrar of the Worshipful Company of Farriers) and Tony Charlwood (Chairman, FRC).

The discussion focused in particular on the FRC's investigation and disciplinary committees, and the disciplinary process. The FRC disciplines both people accused of illegal farriery and its own members, who may be charged with misconduct.

The meeting was not limited to dialogue, however; the Minister rolled up his sleeves and tried his hand at making a shoe.

George Eustice said, “It was really good to visit Bridge Farm, to not only try my hand at making a horse shoe, but also to hear the issues that affect the profession and how the Government may be able to help.

"I have met with the Farriers Registration Council previously and support the introduction of a bill to Parliament enabling the reform and modernization of the FRC, and its disciplinary process.”

Farriers in Great Britain are regulated by the Farriers Registration Act, which strictly limits who may shoe a horse. The allowed persons are:
  • Registered farriers;
  • Approved farriery apprentices or persons attending a Farriers Registration Council approved training course;
  • Veterinary surgeons;
  • Trainee veterinary surgeons working under the supervision of a veterinary surgeon or registered farrier;
  • Persons rendering first-aid in case of emergency to a horse.
The Act's purpose is to:

Under the Act, the definition of farrier is:

Because of the wording of this statement in the government documentation, "barefoot trimming"--i.e., trimming that is not in preparation for the application of a shoe--does not fall within the definition.

In recent years, there have been some conflicting opinions over this, in terms of defining exactly what a "shoe" is, and whether it includes modern materials such as glue-on hoof boots and hoof tape.
The formal education of farriers is the province of the Worshipful Company of Farriers (WCF), the extension of an historic trade guild that began in London in 1356. 

Upon the completion of their educations, farriers must pass the "Diploma" examination of the WCF. However, the college educational process is a combination of the WCF's coursework with a coordinated four-year apprenticeship, where a student farrier works under an established professional who has attained "Approved Training Farrier" status by the FRC.

To learn more about the ambiguities of horseshoeing in government policies and legislation:

British Barefoot Hoof Tape Controversy Escalates: Advocate Pledges Legal Assault on Farriers Registration Act, Council, and Illegal Farriery Charges

History: 1960s Racetrack Horseshoers Union Court Case May Have Inspired Propaganda Film

Australian Farriers Seek Regulation of Profession in New South Wales

UK Farriers Registration Council and Act information

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