Q. I have recent moved home and I am having difficulties finding a good reliable farrier. The popular ones have waiting lists for new clients and others keep letting me down. I have asked in local tack shops and feed merchants but with no luck. Is there an easy way to find a decent farrier as they seem to be like gold dust?

Richard Gowing, president of the National Association of Farriers, Blacksmiths and Agricultural Engineers, answers: For the welfare of horses, every farrier must be registered under the Farriers Registration Act of 1975, either byholding an approved qualification or by having approved experience (prior to the Act).

The qualification you should always look for when contacting a potential farrier is a Dip WCF (Diploma of the Worshipful Company of Farriers), formerly RSS (Registered Shoeing Smith). Higher qualifications include AWCF (Associate of the Worshipful Company of Farriers) and FWCF (Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Farriers).

It is worth noting that every qualified farrier carries an ID card issued by the Council every year on payment of a retention fee. Always ask to see the card before using a new farrier – it exists for a reason and you would be amazed at how infrequently clients request proper documentation.

The Council also provides a car sticker for the farrier’s van or car window, and the colour changes annually – an up-to-date sticker for the current year is blue.

The Council has recently issued new guidelines, which its members must follow. When you seek to employ them, they should inform you that it is your responsibility to provide the following:

  • A clean, dry standing area, with good light and a non-slip surface, so your horse can be shod in safety
  • A secure ring to which your horse can be safely tethered.
  • A work area protected from rain, wind and bad weather

As you have recently moved to a new area why not check out the Council’s area list of farriers and their qualifications. You can access this by visiting: www.farrier-reg.gov.uk

If, by any chance, you have a bad experience or are unhappy with your farrier’s conduct, complaints can be made to the Council for it toinvestigate.

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