A warning has been issued to horse owners after a spate of reports of illegal farriery in the north of England.

The Farriers Registration Council (FRC) said it had received “numerous” allegations of “unregistered individuals” shoeing horses in the Guisborough, Whitby and Robin Hood Bay areas.

Since the Farriers (Registration) Act came into force in 1975, it has been against the law for anyone who is not a registered farrier, approved apprentice, veterinary surgeon or veterinary trainee — or a person giving first aid in an emergency — to shoe a horse.

Anyone convicted of breaking the law could face a fine of up to £1,000 plus costs and receive a criminal record.

“It is a black and white situation whether a farrier is on the register,” said assistant registrar Simon Entwhistle.

“We wanted to take this opportunity to remind horse owners that they can easily check if the person shoeing their horse is a registered farrier. They can use the FRC website to check themselves here or give us a call and we will be happy to help.”

Mr Entwhistle stressed that owners using an unregistered person to shoe their horses are potentially putting the welfare of their animals at risk.

“In addition to risking injury to a horse with an incorrectly fitted shoe or a misplaced nail, or by choosing not to use a registered farrier, an owner may cause long term damage from unbalanced or unskilled trimming by an unregistered, inexperienced or untrained individual.

“They could also invalidate their insurance if the horse is lamed or otherwise injured or damaged, and may be guilty of aiding and abetting a criminal act,” he said.

The Farriers (Registration) Act 1975 defines farriery as any work in preparing a horse’s foot for receiving a shoe, the fitting of a shoe to the foot, or any work in finishing the shoeing process.

The FRC says it interprets shoes to “include products made from modern materials, such as glue-on plastics or acrylic wraps, as well as conventional metallic shoes”.

Anyone who has information regarding any alleged illegal farriery activity, including the possible use of an illegal assistant, is asked to report it to the police or FRC on 01733 319911.

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