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Licensing has a long and divisive history within the farrier trade.
In the eyes of many, the art and science of farriery needs some form of regulation to ensure consumer and equine protection by improving the standards and quality of footcare. The consequences are dire, they say, if the industry fails to act.
“As sure as there is a tomorrow, if we don’t recognize the imperative to professionalize our practice, someone else will,” says American Farrier’s Association (AFA) founder Walt Taylor of Albuquerque, N.M. “There is an opportunity to get outside ourselves and our collective ego and make a positive change for the future. The keys are professional education and training, minimum standards of practice, objective testing and credentials that reflect our skills and knowledge. These are the factors that make us recognized and accepted as professionals.”
Others don’t see it that way. They argue farriery is one of the last trades that’s a true representative of the free market system in this country. They argue that the market should dictate who is performing quality equine footcare. Those who fall short will be naturally weeded out.
“The best method of ensuring good quality work is to institute a free and open forum where the reputation of people’s work is supported or impugned by owners, trainers, farriers, riders and anyone else employing their services,” says Bill Walker, a Manchester, N.H., farrier. “Good people with good skills need to be free to enter the market, practice their skills, and remove or replace…