Farriers say plans to develop recognised standards for barefoot trimmers are “trying to reinvent the wheel” and could devalue their years of training.

Lantra — the sector skills council for the environmental and land-based sector — is holding a meeting on Monday (2 March) to discuss the development of national occupational standards for barefoot trimmers in the UK.

Currently there are no formal qualification requirements for barefoot trimming (news, 1 January) and their work is not regulated by the Farriers (Registration) Act 1975.

Vice-chairman of the UK Horse Shoers’ Association (UKHSA) Stuart Craig told H&H: “Some farriers are furious about the idea of a barefoot qualification — we need regulation of trimmers, but it should be the Farriers Regulation Council [FRC] doing it.

“We have the best farriery training in the world, but are in danger of devaluing it.”

Registrar of the FRC Felicity Heather told H&H that while the council agreed that regulation of barefoot trimmers was necessary, she hoped the FRC training would be taken as the benchmark for any qualification.

“Our apprentices train for four years and two months. We could not support something that was not on a par with that.”

The FRC’s view is shared by the Worshipful Company of Farriers, whose registrar Captain David Goodall said: “We are adamant that standards for barefoot trimmers should not be lower than those expected of qualified farriers — in fact, we should wish them to be the same.”

But Lantra spokesman Lisa Jarvis said the organisation is not planning to create a new qualification for trimmers, just setting a standard for them to aspire to.

“We are not an awarding or regulatory body. We cannot lay down a requirement. To do so would take changes to the Farriers (Registration) Act and the Veterinary Surgeons’ Act,” she said.

“This will be a first step on the road to regulation, but only if the barefoot trimming bodies or the FRC decided to create a standard.”

For this article in full, see the current issue of Horse & Hound (26 February, ’09)

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