This blog is sponsored by the PRO FEET range of hoof care products from NAF

Alex, the other apprentice that works for Kris Parsons, my training farrier and boss, is taking his final exams in just four weeks time. If he passes, he will be a fully qualified farrier.

For Alex, it will mean the end of four years of hard training, with exams interspersed throughout, and now it all hinges on his finals. If he passes, then he will be free to fly the nest and build up his own round. If he fails, then… well best not think about it. No pressure Alex!

British farriers are the best trained in the world. No other country regulates farriery as we do and no other country has such a rigorous and thorough training program. In fact, of all the apprenticeships that one can take, the farriery apprenticeship has got to be one of the toughest, longest and most intensive of them all. I’m almost six months into my apprenticeship and I’m already feeling the enormity of the learning curve.

This week, Kris has continued to push me for answers on all kinds of conformation and shoe wear and relate what I see back to the horse, its breed, type and use. Farriery is about understanding the whole picture and shoeing or trimming accordingly. It’s also about patience and following a pathway to achieving the optimum performance for that horse or pony.

I have a lot to learn, but three and half years left in which to do it. Alex has just four weeks! Kris set Alex a mock exam (see picture), which went very well and, as long as Alex doesn’t let the pressure of the day get to him, then he will be fine. He has been well trained and is an accomplished farrier already.

Clearly I wouldn’t want to add further pressure by announcing his impending exams to anyone… so we’d better keep this between ourselves!

Until next week

Roland

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