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From 1915 to 1981, Illinois was I believe the first of only two or three states to have a licensing requirement for farriers. One of the requirements for a license was having completed a 3-year apprenticeship. Most farriers I spoke with who were affected by the licensing law had nothing good to say about it. They felt that it was unfairly applied and discriminatory. If you were friends with the examiner and/or they needed more farriers at that time, you had a much easier time of passing the test and being licensed than if you were not friends with the examiner or if they did not need more farriers — no matter how good you were.
In 1976, Walt Taylor, then president of the American Farrier’s Association, wrote in American Farriers Journal that licensing of farriers was “almost a foregone conclusion” and we might as well get onboard. Shortly after that, I wrote an article in AFJ in response, opposing licensing of farriers.
Farriers were an extremely independent lot, not wanting any regulation or government intervention, so a majority of the membership was against licensing on many grounds — among them: who would test for licensing; who would decide what the test was; and what would that test be.
In 1977, the AFA did not yet have a certification test. Now that the AFA certification program is more than 25 years old, it is a little hard to imagine, but in 1977 farriers who had established businesses for many years…