It must be time for the competition season as there’s been a sudden run on stud holes. From a farrier’s point of view it’s reasonably easy to put them in although it’s important to make sure the hole is the right size and the thread is true.

The difficult bit is putting in the stud when you’re at a competition as I observed today at a hunter trials. I watched a competitor pick out the cotton wool which she had packed the hole with to keep it mud free, re-tap (threading) the stud hole and then screw in the stud. It took twice the time it takes to groom and tack up a horse. What a palaver.

There must be an easier way? I’m going to research it and just maybe there’s an opportunity to invent a better system. If so, perhaps I can make my millions!

Speaking of which, everyone seems to believe that a farrier is loaded. Perhaps in the old days they were, but costs have risen so much and farriers have had to absorb them to a large extent, considerably eroding profit margins. It’s probably the same for many professionals.

There’s no doubt about it, lots of people are feeling the pinch as everything is so expensive now. Farriers, along with other professionals, have to be sensitive to the price. Anyway, money is definitely not the reason I’m training to be a farrier. I intend to be a gentleman farrier, shoeing three to four horses a day and then returning home for a leisurely early finish. Well, that’s the plan anyway!

The Farrier Training Agency (FTA) has just been OFSTED inspected and was found to be inadequate! I am extremely disappointed by the score awarded. They were found to be lacking vision, insight and leadership. One thing that has not changed is the high standard that we have to achieve to become a farrier.

The examination standards are maintained separately and so there is no difference between the quality of farriers qualifying today as there was five years ago. Instead, the system of back blocking (making students repeat a college block again, thereby adding a further six months to their apprenticeship) as a punitive measure, was brought into question as well as the instances of bullying and humiliation which the FTA failed to follow-up on.

They will have a period of time to address OFSTED’s concerns, which I am sure they will, and it will result in our training programme being modernised in line with current day practices.

Amongst other things, I am hopeful that I will be allowed to type my assignments in future rather than writing them by hand which would be a massive relief as I have the hand writing of a spider on acid!

Until next week,

Roland

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