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TWO brothers have been prosecuted for illegal farriery after admitting shoeing horses for 13 and 17 years respectively, despite not being qualified.

But they have slammed the Farriers Registration Council (FRC) for regulations that they say make it easier for foreign farriers to work in this country rather than home-grown talent.

David and Paul Grunewald, of Brynna, Llanharan, South Wales were fined £100 each on 18 August.

Their father is a registered farrier who has worked with his sons throughout their careers.

“My sons wanted to do the training when they left school but were told they did not have the qualifications,” said their mother Sian Grunewald.

“Those [qualification] requirements for the course have changed now, so they could train. But the FRC has told them they have to do the full four-year apprenticeship, costing £10,000. Both have families and can’t afford that.

“The FRC arranges for foreign farriers to work here, but my sons can’t even train,” she added.

But an FRC spokesman has disputed the family’s claim, saying that when the brothers left school there was an alternative route into farriery for applicants without academic qualifications.

“The Grunewalds have known all along that they were not allowed to carry out farriery illegally,” said the spokesman.

“Yes, there are provisions for overseas’ farriers, but they must prove they have been working legally for at least four years or have a relevant qualification,” she said.

After a tip-off, the FRC sent a private investigator to Downside Riding Centre in Penarth, Cardiff, where the men were watched at work.

Under the Farriers (Registration) Act 1975, it is a criminal offence for anyone other than a trained farrier, apprentice or vet to shoe a horse.

The owner of Downside, David Wheeler, said that the Grunewalds had shod his 22 horses for years and he had “no concerns whatsoever with the standard of their work”.

The FRC spokesman added: “A horse owner using an unregistered farrier should be aware that he may have invalidated his insurance.”

www.farrier-reg.gov.uk