The public is invited to comment on new standards for barefoot trimming — or equine barefoot care as it will now be known.

Vets and farriers had raised concerns about the level of training and expertise of some practitioners of the barefoot movement, which advocates horses going without shoes.

Lisa Jarvis of land-based skills agency Lantra, which has helped set up the standards, said: “The national occupational standards [NOS] identify the detailed understanding, ability, knowledge and experience someone needs to do their job.

“We now want all interested parties to join our consultation.”

Around 21 barefoot groups operate in the UK, including the Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry (IAEP), Equine Podiatry Association UK (EPAUK) and the UK Natural Hoof Care Practitioners (UKNHCP).

The NOS sets a level for practitioners to aspire to, but will not be a legal requirement.
Some farriers were concerned the standards, based on the NOS for farriery, would devalue the training farriers undertake (news, 26 February).

But Nik Barker of the UKNHCP said: “The draft NOS is the result of many hours of work by veterinary, farriery and barefoot professionals and UKNHCP were delighted to have been involved in what was a very positive process.

“We are particularly pleased that the draft NOS highlights the vital role of nutrition, environment and exercise in hoof health, with trimming being only a small, though important, element.”

  • The consultation ends on 16 November. To comment, go to www.lantra.co.uk/nos.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (29 October, ’09)