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It is my strong opinion that professional farriers should, and deserve, to be licensed to practice by statutory authority.
This conclusion was reached by me many years ago, shortly after the American Farrier’s Association (AFA) was started in 1971. In fact, this was one of the main topics of discussion that consumed a lot of early-day thought, energy and time. Even when AFA was more a gleam and a dream than reality, a way had to be found to separate the sheep from the goats.
There was a difference then. There is a difference now.
Robert Heinlein wrote in Notebooks of Lazarus Long “... A generation which ignores history has no past and no future.”
Substitute the word organization for generation in the quotation. The great majority of AFA members are young people, most of whom have been members for less than five years. To understand where we are now and where we might be in the future, it is important that we know where we have been.
In the mid-1970s, matters other than the licensing of farriers were more important to the fledgling association. Nurturing AFA through infancy and into adolescence required every cent of money and every minute of time available. To say “times were hard” is a gross understatement. Once the initial problems became manageable, attention could be turned to the next question: “What should make AFA members different from every other horseshoer?”
Back then, the AFA “motto” was “professional knowledge and skill to…