Worshipful Company of Farriers
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The Worshipful Company of Farriers
Promoting the welfare of the horse since 1356

Farriery and the Horse

The Well Shod Horse

The leaflet describes how to achieve the Well Shod Horse.


1975 Farriers Registration Act


"An Act to prevent and avoid suffering by and cruelty to horses arising from the shoeing of horses by unskilled persons; to promote the proper shoeing of horses; to promote the training of farriers and shoeing smiths; to provide for the establishment of a Farrier Registration Council to register persons engaged in farriery and the shoeing of horses; to prohibit the shoeing of horses by unqualified persons; and for purposes connected therewith. [22nd May 1975]"

Furthermore -

"1. Functions of Farriers Company

The Worshipful Company of Farriers (hereinafter referred to as the Company) shall have the general function of securing adequate standards of competence and conduct among persons engaged in the shoeing of horses (hereinafter referred to as “farriers”) and shall promote, encourage and advance the art and science of farriery and education in connection with the said art and science.

2. Farriers Registration Council

i. There shall be established a body called the Farriers Registration Council (hereinafter referred to as the Council) which shall be a body corporateperpetual succession and a common seal and shall have the general function of carrying out the powers and duties conferred upon it by this Act.

ii. The provisions of Schedule 1 to this Act shall have effect for determining the constitutionand powers of the Council and for regulating its proceedings."


In order to clarify the roles of the main governing bodies in modern farriery in Great Britain the Worshipful Company of Farriers, the Farriers Registration Council and The British Farriers and Blacksmiths Association - it is useful to firstly consider the edicts issued in the Act above.


The Worshipful Company of Farriers (WCF)

The Company can be viewed as the ‘head of profession.’  Historically the Company has overseen farriers and the welfare of the horse since the 14th-century and received its Royal Charter from Charles II.  It is, through the standard setting of the professional exams, the main awarding body for the three professional farriery standards – Diploma, Associate and Fellowship.  A derivative of this is an ongoing involvement with the three training colleges, the approved training farriers and Government bodies such as Ofsted, Ofqual, BHEST 1st 4 Sport and BIES to ensure that provision of training, education and funding for apprentices is industry appropriate.

As a City of London Livery Company, the Farriers Company also has a duty of responsibility to the City, being listed at no. 55.  Its structure of an annually appointed Master, plus Court of Wardens, Assistants, Past Masters and Company officials mirrors that of all Livery Companies.  The Court meets four times annually and there are a number of working committees which are answerable to the Court.  In keeping with the ethos of the City Livery Companies the WCF holds wider educational and charitable responsibilities, and runs a Charitable Trust which assists farriers and their families when in need.

Membership is by recommendation and approval of the Court. Liverymen stem from a wide range of backgrounds and professions, not only farriers and veterinary surgeons. 


The Farriers Registration Council (FRC)

The FRC is a regulatory organisation which was set up as a direct result of the 1975 Registration Act.  It is responsible for the execution of the Act and to carry out any disciplinary procedures as deemed necessary.  It is governed by a Council comprising of WCF representatives, elected farriers, veterinary surgeons and figures from the equine and rural development worlds.

The offices are based in Peterborough and run by the Registrar, his deputy and assistant registrars. Council meets three times annually, sets the overall policy and is responsible for executive decisions not delegated to its sub committees or offices.

The FRC is responsible for recruiting, retaining and reviewing approved training farriers and works closely with the training colleges.  It too is answerable to Government industry bodies.

The Council has the statutory duty of the consideration of possible cases of serious professional misconduct. This is a two stage process involving an Investigating Committee and a Disciplinary Committee. The Disciplinary Committee has the power to direct that a person be suspended or removed from the Register of Farriers. Anyone with a serious concern about the conduct of their farrier should contact the Council for details of the complaints procedure. All initial enquiries are dealt with on a completely confidential basis.

All persons (farriers) who shoe horses in Great Britain are required to register with the FRC.  As such, registration requires completion of an approved apprenticeship or period of training. Registration is extended to individuals from overseas farriers GB provided that they meet the required standards.


The British Farriers & Blacksmiths Association (BFBA)

Previously known as National Association of Farriers, Blacksmith and Agricultural Engineers, the BFBA was founded approx. 100 years ago to bring together various farriery and blacksmithing associations and unions.  Initially it included agricultural engineers and was called NAFBAE, but changed to BFBA.  It exists to represent and advance the issues and concerns of its members who are involved in the craft and industry as a whole, particularly on the regulatory bodies.  It also aims to encourage education, facilitate development and support members throughout their career.  The BFBA is allocated a few places on the FRC Council.

The Association encourages CPD by holding seminars, demonstrations, lectures, shoeing and shoemaking courses for all qualified farriers and apprentices. The Association aims to bring together farriers, veterinary surgeons, horse owners and horse related organisations at special events, thereby providing information and a wider understanding of the Craft, thus forming a good basis for working relationships.

The Association also awards Certificates, Medals, books and prizes for the competitions organised and run by its members at various venues around the country. Forge Magazine is published bi-monthly with articles written by leading farriers and veterinary surgeons. News in Forge ensures farriers are kept up to date with the latest information.

The Association has been involved in overseeing the design of the new farriery apprentice scheme and along with the WCF, organises Continuing Professional Development activities. The head office is at The Forge in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire. The Association is governed by an Executive Council, all members being farriers. 

Membership is not compulsory for farriers but is encouraged as it does provide some professional protection such as certain insurances, legal assistance and the support of industry professionals if disciplinary proceedings arise. Other benefits include a comprehensive range of insurance cover at discounted rates designed especially for farriers, and health care and pension schemes. A wide range of farriery and blacksmithing books together with health and safety posters are available for purchase from Head Office