Equine vets, farriery officials and barefoot trimmers have described a meeting to develop minimum standards for barefoot trimming as “positive” and “constructive”. But some farriers are still unhappy.

Representatives of four barefoot trimming bodies met farriers’ groups, veterinary bodies, welfare charities and the British Horse Society, at a meeting called by the skills council for the environmental and land-based sector, Lantra, on 2 March (news, 26 February).

British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) chairman Chris House chaired the meeting. He told H&H: “There was agreement from all the bodies that we can create standards using existing farriery training as the basis. BEVA’s objective is a code of practice for barefoot trimmers.”

A steering group has been set up to create national occupation standards (NOS) for barefoot trimmers based on the Farriery Training Agency’s NVQ level three in farriery.

Jo Grimes, spokesman for the Institute of Applied Podiatry, said: “The meeting started with trepidation on all sides, but once we realised we all have equine welfare uppermost in mind, we could work together.”

And Nic Barker, spokesman for UK Natural Horse Care Practitioners, said: “Quite a few members of our institute are registered farriers, but trimming is only a part of our training.”
She said the meeting had been “very constructive”.

But Stuart Craig, vice-president of the UK Horse Shoers’ Association, told H&H: “I can’t believe the government is wasting so much money on a small number of people who are already catered for by the professional training available in the farriery profession.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (12 March ’09)