We are living in an extraordinary time for farriers. Never have there been more opportunities to learn and improve upon your knowledge and skills.

Every weekend there’s a clinic where some incredibly knowledgeable farriers and equine veterinarians are sharing their knowledge. Conferences offering speakers with hundreds of years of hoof-care knowledge are plentiful and take place throughout the year. There are more farriery-related Internet discussion groups than you can shake a pritchel at. It takes just a few keystrokes to find hoof-care publications, articles, blogs, videos and webinars — some of which are even free.

More people are willing to share their knowledge and experience than at any other time in this trade. Despite the unprecedented access to knowledge, there are a number of highly respected people who are concerned about the direction the industry is heading. Hall Of Fame farrier Mitch Taylor is among them.

“It’s time for us farriers to step up our game,” the owner of Kentucky Horseshoeing School told attendees at this past winter’s International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio. “I’m tired of listening to veterinarians in the back of the room talking about how horseshoers are dumb and how we can’t get it. It is our job to understand anatomy, functional anatomy, biomechanics and also have the skill to be able to put something on that will marry up with the foot.”

Where is farriery going in the U.S.? Taylor and others believe it’s slipping away from farriers.

“One of the things I ask racetrack platers is, ‘When do you decide to put on an outer rim, an inner rim, a regular grab, an XT?’” Taylor says. “Nine out of 10 tell me, ‘I just do what the trainers tell me to do.’ People, it’s time for us to take hold of our trade, because it is slowly, but surely, being taken away from us.”

Do you agree that farriers are in danger of losing control of the equine footcare trade? Do you believe farriers need to establish quality and control standards before someone else does? Where do you stand on the issue of farrier licensing?

American Farriers Journal is conducting a survey to get a better understanding of how farriers across the country view the topic. We’ve received hundreds of great responses. Please take a moment to share your thoughts. The results will appear in the November issue of American Farriers Journal.