Insurance forum advises companies not to pay out for surgical farriery unless a suitably qualified farrier is used

Equine insurance companies may not accept claims for surgical farriery in the future unless the work is carried out by an Associate or Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Farriers (WCF).

The Equine Insurance Forum (EIF) is recommending that insurance companies check that policyholders claiming for surgical farriery have been using a suitably qualified registered farrier and consider including relevant questions on insurance claims forms.

Registration as a farrier is achieved by completing a four-year apprenticeship and passing the Worshipful Company’s diploma examination. Farriers can then go on to take higher qualifications to become Associate or Fellowship members.

Most insurers will accept claims where surgical farriery has been recommended by a veterinary surgeon. The WCF describes surgical farriery as work which involves the removal of the hard horn to access the soft tissue below.

Surgical farriery is normally performed under a vet’s supervision and is fairly unusual,” explains Richard Burt-Andrews, craft secretary of the WCF. “Where as remedial farriery involves improving a horse’s foot through careful trimming and sometimes the use of particular types of shoe.”

Now the EIF is to recommend to members and veterinary surgeons that surgical farriery is carried out only by Associate members of the Worshipful Company of Farriers – although it recognises that there will be exceptions.

“There are farriers with many years of experience who have chosen not to look for higher qualifications, but we will suggest that vets justify their use of them,” said EIF chairman David Buckton.

“Only about 10% of registered farriers have taken higher qualifications. This move supports the Worshipful Company’s efforts to increase this number. We also recognise that any improvement in shoeing standards will help equine welfare, which willreduce insurance claims therby keeping the cost of policies down.”

A full list of registered farriers is available on the Farriers Registration Council website, www.farrier-reg.gov.uk

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