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Several AFA members took issue with an article by a school owner and responses from readers regarding the farrier education process
Editors Note: Since these three letters covered many of the same points, they’ve been edited for space considerations.
In the article in the March AFJ on “Evaluating Farrier Certification Testing” by Bob Smith, he states, “In designing a testing program, you must be careful that a test is not measuring the skills and knowledge that one would like to see, but rather the knowledge and skills that the participants possess.” Later in the article, he adds, “The AFA certification process is not a valid measurement of the skills possessed by the everyday professional farrier.”
It is my opinion that the test was never meant to be a measurement of the skills possessed by the everyday professional farrier. Instead, the AFA certification test was designed to create a credible standard and measure skills to that standard rather than to measure the skills of self-professed professionals in a dysfunctional industry.
By dysfunctional, I mean that horseshoeing is a totally unregulated industry where most schools are less than 90 days in length. There are no entry-level standards. There is no apprenticeship system in the U.S. to support short-term programs and there is a horse-owning public that is often unable to recognize substandard work.
At this point, the AFA certification test is a totally voluntary endeavor. It serves the major function of a goal achievement structure, an…