The Worshipful Company of Farriers
Promoting the welfare of the horse since 1356
The Introduction to UK farriery took you through the training process for farrier apprentices.
Achievement of the Diploma means that newly qualified farriers have their feet firmly placed on the first rung of the farriery ladder. They have been judged by an eminent panel of examiners as competent to prepare a foot and, if required, to apply a shoe.
It’s worth noting here that not every horse is shod. For example, retired horses or brood mares may only need their feet trimmed; and some riders prefer to work their horses without shoes.
So, whether it’s for a trim or the application of a shoe, the best qualified person to do the work is the farrier.
The most critical aspect of farriery is preparing the hoof and Approved Training Farriers spend a great deal of time teaching apprentices how to assess a horse’s feet, and how to trim correctly.
The next level of attainment is the Associateship of the Worshipful Company of Farriers (AWCF) and is particularly concerned with corrective farriery. There are currently 183 Associates in the UK.
To attain the AWCF, candidates sit a written exam and also undergo three oral examinations, a practical test (requiring the fabrication of a shoe from plain steel) and the correct fitting of two corrective shoes; plus a test in the use of modern materials (for example, using acrylics to repair a damaged hoof).
The examination sets out to test forging and practical skills to the highest level. As there is no equivalent exam in any other country, it is quite common for farriers from abroad to attempt the AWCF.
The WCF often runs courses for Diploma holders to prepare them for the Associateship – an essential component of continuing professional development (CPD).
The highest level of qualification is the Fellowship of the Worshipful Company of Farriers (FWCF).
This denotes a very high level of achievement and the relatively small number of Fellows - 31 - is testament to this. The candidate must prepare a written original thesis for consideration by a panel of senior WCF examiners.
If the thesis is accepted, the candidate must then deliver a lecture to the examiners on a subject of their choosing with only 60 minutes preparation time. The examiners also require the forging of a corrective shoe from plain steel.
Foundation degree in farriery
It is important, also, to mention the new Foundation Degree in Farriery. This enables working farriers to improve their knowledge and ability via part-time attendance at Myerscough College over a three-year period culminating in the award FdSc.
The College and the Worshipful Company of Farriers have created the opportunity for the farriery profession to be given a vehicle for CPD and demonstrates that both institutions are moving with the times in terms of providing access to educational awards; a university degree gives farriers further currency to trade in an increasingly technical and education based world, enabling them to contribute to the furthering of education, research and development within the profession and the industry.
It is good to report that a number of qualified farriers have grasped the opportunity provided by the CPD syllabus to prepare for higher examinations and we can see a steady increase in the number of AWCFs and FWCFs.
Successful Fellowship candidates may, in due course, be invited to become members of the WCF Examinations Board thus maintaining the high standards set by the Company and keeping British Farriery at the forefront of the profession to the point where highly qualified British farriers are often invited to other countries to help elevate standards.
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