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Farrier licensing adopted in the United Kingdom 30 years ago boosted the careers of shoers there, according to Simon Curtis, a prominent U.K. farrier who often speaks at conferences and clinics in the United States.
“Licensing has been an advantage to farriers, and you do not hear them calling for its repeal,” Curtis says.
“From a commercial point of view, it has created a closed shop. And with the rapid expansion of horses in the U.K. during the past 20 years,” he adds, “there seems to be a shortage of farriers in most areas. Prices were lower than in most of Europe prior to the Act, but now they seem equal to or above most European countries.”
Beyond higher prices, Curtis says, the advantages to farrier licensing include more status, higher shoeing standards and improved communication. “With all of the farriers registered,” he says, “it’s easy for anyone to contact every farrier in the U.K.”
The disadvantages, he says, are an annual fee of about $200 and more bureaucracy, “with new rules continually interfering in our lives.”
The Farriers Registration Act of 1975 mandated the registration of farriers in the U.K. through an act of Parliament. The law makes it a crime for unregistered persons to shoe horses or prepare equine feet for the direct application of a shoe.
The trimming of hooves that will not be shod is not covered by the law.
Administration of the law is overseen by the Farriers Registration Council (FRC), which…