An insurance company has changed its policies to tackle concerns that owners are using unregistered farriers.

But professional equine podiatrists and other “trimmers” are concerned that the amendment is targeted at them.

NFU Mutual has added to its small print, stating: “Should a policyholder choose to use someone other than a registered farrier to provide foot care then, in the event of a claim involving or related to the foot, NFU Mutual could repudiate the claim.

“However, each situation is considered on its own merits and we take a fair and reasonable approach at all times.”

Nikki Whittaker of NFU Mutual said: “We changed our wording to ‘registered farrier’ to avoid policyholders using unregistered farriers and to ensure owners ask about the qualifications.

“Farriers are regulated by an act of parliament. This is not the case for barefoot trimmers and it can be difficult to establish what type of qualification people hold.”

She added the company “fully supports owners who choose to manage their horses using the barefoot method“.

Justine Jenkins of the Equine Podiatry Association UK said: “If they want people not to use unregistered farriers, it would be easy enough for them to put that in the wording, rather than tar us all with the same brush.”

Jo Grimes of the Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry said they approved the change if it included responsible barefoot practitioners.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (26 April 2012)