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Coronavirus: can my farrier still come to my horse? 

Farriers can continue to provide “essential services” under current movement restrictions, industry bodies have confirmed, although practitioners should consider which visits come into this category.

Following the tougher stance announced by prime minster Boris Johnson on Monday (23 March), the Farriers Registration Council (FRC) sought agreement from the government that farriers could continue to work.

“It is agreed that the FRC interpretation of the government guidance is that registered farriers can continue to provide essential services to equines, and they should continue to attend to equines using their judgement as to matters of priority and/or urgency, and with the following provisos,” said an FRC statement.

The provisos state that any farrier showing coronavirus symptoms should follow NHS guidance immediately, and that all farriers should follow social distancing and hand-washing guidelines and clean tools and equipment between visits.

“If challenged by the police or other law enforcement agency, registered farriers should present their registration card and draw attention to this notice,” the statement said.

The British Farriers and Blacksmiths Association (BFBA), with British Equine Veterinary Association CEO David Mountford, World Horse Welfare CEO Roly Owers and Jeanette Allen and Jan Rogers, The Horse Trust CEO and director of research and policy respectively, have also provided guidance for registered farriers to “ensure the welfare of equines is maintained whilst strictly adhering to the biosecurity and social distancing recommendations provided by the government”.

After the FRC had confirmed that Defra had agreed farriers could work, the BFBA asked farriers to consider each appointment using the following system:

RED: Farrier should attend. Crucial hoofcare; when not attending a regular hoofcare appointment would have serious detrimental effects, promote discomfort and cause pain. This includes care of foals.

AMBER: Farrier should consider delaying where possible. Advisory hoofcare; where the timing of regular hoofcare appointments is an important factor in maintaining soundness. Consideration must be given as to whether the timescale between appointments can be extended without the equine becoming a ‘red’

GREEN: Farrier should not attend. Non-crucial hoofcare; these include equines whose hoofcare cycles can be easily extended without any long-term detrimental affects

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Farriers are asked to call to confirm that no one at each yard has been ill or in contact with anyone who is ill. No more than one owner or carer should be present; this person should tie the horse up and then move a safe distance away.

Up-to-date advice can be found on the BFBA website or call the BFBA on 024 76 696595.

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