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In the mid 1990s, Great Britain’s Farrier Registration Council granted American Farrier’s Association Certified Journeyman Farriers the right to gain full farrier registration and shoe horses in the United Kingdom. Now that move may come back to haunt them.
U.K. farriers are not allowed to practice unless registered. This is possible only after serving a 4 year apprenticeship and passing the exams offered by the Worshipful Company of Farriers.
In the remote northern area of Scotland where Stephen Jones lives, there’s currently an exemption from the farrier registration rules. Jones, who lives in Campbelltown, started doing his own shoeing 5 years ago. The nearest farrier, who was unregistered, lived 120 miles away, a 7-hour roundtrip drive.
Having lived on a livestock farm all his life, Jones knew the basics of shoeing and started working on his own horses. When neighbors asked him to do their horses, he decided to get some training.
“That was impossible in the U.K., as I’m 40 years old and running a farm,” he says. “There was no way I could afford to spend 4 years as an apprentice.”
With the strict U.K. registration system, Jones learned the only option was to take a shoeing course in another country. That’s when he realized that becoming an AFA Certified Journeyman Farrier would make him eligible for full U.K. farrier registration.
“This is a daft scenario,” he says. “I wanted to become fully qualified as a farrier, but it would be an impossible…