Farriers Focus ATF Conference.

this forum is mainly for farriers - all are welcome but don't enter if you are easily offended!

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Farriers Focus ATF Conference.

Postby PNB » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:59 am


Please could we have some feed back about the proposed future of farrier training.

I understand there was a unanimous vote in favour of reverting to a private system of training.

Great news that is for us who have been deprived of our right to employ by NFTA. Our right to employ young persons is isolated from us [several dozen including myself I feel] due to NFTA needing to establish a funding stream to sustain itself.

Great news that is if the function, bureaucracy and the pointless duplicated interferences of the NFTA are to be dramatically reduced. Doing this it seems will enable there to become a better geographically located and balanced practically able young entry into our craft. A one to one system [trainee/employer] would enable the lads to learn from an established craftsmen, about the trade through trainee ships and the job farriers actually do in day to day practice!!


Big Iron
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Re: Farriers Focus ATF Conference.

Postby Big Iron » Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:23 pm

Dear PNB,

I am a working farrier, was not apprenticed in UK, am eligible to work in UK due to eu status. Despite some emotional, elitist, parochial reactions that may occur due me not being uk trained, I'd still like to reply as an "anyone" that you have asked for to reply.

This is not an attack but a outsiders view of the UK training system , that some of the readers need to hear.

For those that don't know, uk farrier training is 4 years and a couple of months, to reach a standard and be registered by a registration council. Lets break it down.

The standard simply informs someone that a Dip WCF holder can:-

1. shoe 1(one) hind and 1(one) front foot in handmades in 2 hours,
2. make 6 shoes of which there must be some plain stamped, some forge welded, some creased and some in concave steel.
3. pass an interview with 3 learned testers, (up to 10 minutes each) and talk about the shoes made, discuss anatomy, discuss some x-rays to a standard,,, and
4 pass a written test

The apprenticeship tells someone that a apprentice spent 4 years and a couple of months with a Passed out farrier. Inside that time it tells me you spent 24 weeks in total at technical school; of which 5 weeks was academic learning, 18 weeks in the forge, and 1 week revision at the very end before the exam.

18 weeks in the forge makes someone a good shoe maker, it does not make them a good farrier. English farriers are good shoe makers.

When contacted and asked which text book does the English system use at tech school, the reply from the official source was " Hickmans Farriery" . A great book for its day, but in 2012 the supposed best educated farriers in the whole world still use a 1970's dinosaur text. There was no mention of incorporating the latest studies into the academic field for uk apprentices. The latest studies along the lines of Dr Bowker and Politt etc. Its still the same old news from the same old farts.

The apprenticeship time does not tell me anything about how you learnt. How many Uk farriers spent 3 years taking shoes off and clinching up? and you brushed up the skills in the last bit to pass the exam? How many of you honestly?. How many bosses were kind, knowledgible and giving of their experience willingly,, and how many bosses were utter barstards?

Why is it that a dedicated student , can pass the American farriers assoc Journeyman exam, with 6 months to 1 year of applied effort? Its just a question.

Why is it that my boss, who went through a trade farrier system, became trade qualified in 20 months, and is better than any English farrier I have ever seen?
Again, its just a question.

My boss went through a competency based system, if you were confident in passing the examination, you could sit the examination.

I never did the trade qualification, he simply taught me. He talked with me about the UK system, its not the time in training that makes a good and sound farrier, its whether that farrier cares is what makes him/her good. I've seen plenty of good in UK farriery and I've seen some absolute crap. It all comes down to caring, and there are plenty of trade qualified guys running around who don't care.

Uk farriery , the best training system in the world is what is said in these pages, please don't kid yourselves. If it really takes 4 years and a bit to shoe 1 hind and 1 fore in 2 hours,,,, your as dumb as dog shit really. 6 months maximum is what it should take to get there.

The benefits of an apprentice system can be noted, there is nothing wrong with an apprenticeship if your a teenager, but some people come to trades and shifts in careers later in life. 4 years apprentice, really, for someone who has 10 to 15 years in the work force already. Does the uk system really need to be that rigid, or is it there for a purpose, to cling to a class system perhaps?

So to be pro-active and assist in training improvements, I've introduced an outsiders view. I notice in the introductory letter by PNB, its all about discarding the NFTA. Fair enough, no need for beaurocrats, but why don't you also look to discard:-

1) the 4 years apprenticeship and introduce competency exam times,,, if your ready you can sit the exam, this encourages the will to work.

2) why don't you discard the necessity to be registered, turn your backs on the FRC, who needs those nobs! (look to common law , not civil law ). Let the market show who is good and who is not. If uk farriers are the best in the world, you really wont be worried by this one,,, or is the industry regulated for another reason??

3) the need to ask for approval from the FRC for anything, empower yourselves, lead your own industry.

Just letting the Cat amongst the pidgeons, telling the truth.

Big Iron

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Re: Farriers Focus ATF Conference.

Postby PNB » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:07 pm

Big Iron,

Judging from your discards we have much common thought.

Regulation for what reason your obsevation?? That strikes a chord as well.

I spent 18 years give or take on either the Joint Farrier Training Committee and/or the FRC. [I am still getting vilified for this effort by the likes of Moonman]. The simple fact is the views of the working craft those with dirty hands still doing their five daily is seen as an aggravation by the body politic, is to the greater part ignored and dismissed as valueless. References from the craft are drawn from those within the the inner sanctum [Body Politic].

An example:- CSC and I proposed the need for a review of the TRAINING system, almost unanimously agreed at Council as a real need. The task if my memory servers was handed, well actually hijacked by Prof. R.Jones the Chair of FRC and the appointee of the WCF, yes, hijacked from CSC and myself, farriers who actually can and do shoe horses daily who were never to be consulted.

Seems farriers and our craft were to get again what they are given!! We are as a CRAFT of WORKING men helpless!!


Big Iron
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Re: Farriers Focus ATF Conference.

Postby Big Iron » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:30 pm


I'm sorry about the current situation in Uk farriery.

I'm well aware of the pashion you have held for this wonderful craft over the years, and for what its worth from me,, a newby in middle age,, I'd like to thank you for your contribution.

I did write a big meaty reply, but it sort of got eaten in computer land. I'm not going to repeat it. Except to say the reasons for regulation are questionable, and they certainly dont embrace horse welfare. Horse welfare is only the way its been sold. Regulation is simply a control mechanism, and one must ask who gains from it?, who looses out? whose empire does it build? who does years at the coal face? and who sits in smoking lounges playing chess with peoples families? Its all abit strange for me.

In defence of having an education standard, as opposed to a regulation,,,Its sad that un-educated shoers have lamed some horses, its sadder that Dip WCF guys have done it as well. Every farrier has a story, no matter what,, the uneducated guys only have to pick up a book and ask for help ,( not in uk),, a sour Dip WCF guy ,like moonman, only have to enrol in a barefoot clinic say, and embrace the new !! :lol:

A mans good wife cooks a meal, and someone asks if she is a registered cook with the cooks registration council ?
,,,," bullshit, we're hungry" the man says. "Its the finest bangers and mash ever" :?

When looked through the eyes of this simple little joke above, one can see throught the bull of the FRC, and their lie will not live forever.

all the best,

Big Iron

Big Iron
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Re: Farriers Focus ATF Conference.

Postby Big Iron » Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:58 am

Dear Mr PNB,

What form of training would you like to see happening in a bright new world please?

To be proactive here are some samples of a few international schools, they were correct in 2009 when I was gathering info, there could be slight changes now, not sure.

GERMANY- go with a farrier for 2 years as a paid assistant, then you audition at a school, the audition is shoe 2 feet in one hour with keg shoes. If you pass the audition you are allowed to attend school, which is about 4 months full-time forging / shoeing / academic school. Before the hate mail starts coming in about only 4 months school, remember this is Germany and they take their education very seriously, its not like the uk college 9am to 3pm then off to the hammer and nail for a pint. The education is paid for by the candidate , so you have to be a bit serious,,,, after school you can sit the state exam.

Recently the barefoot industry in Germany sued the government, because the "paper lords" tried to force the barefooters to take the education,,, the barefooters won their case, and gave the "metal heads" the middle finger. So if any one from the uk metal farriery fraternity thinks they can regulate the barefoot education, please look to this example for guidance.

NEDERLANDS - 2 years training, 4 days per week with a farrier, one day per week at college. college paid for by candidates, some scholarships and govt funding provided for in some cases.

SWEEDEN- they have a "gymnasium school" for 3 years ,, which is like years 11 , 12, and 13 ,,, you can matriculate to university or you can do a trade as your senior certificate. The agricultural schools cater to this, also one college offers one year training if you come to farriery later in life.

Denmark- they want to be like UK, but have problems, there's no way it will happen as its home of the Danish shortcut,,,,, until very, very recently they still used a textbook published 100 years ago , a text has been written recently by the vet who administers the school,,,, there is something rotten in the state of Denmark.

Australia- there is a trade certificate available, its very seldom used, you have to be trade qualified to work on the race track, otherwise the market runs the industry,, ie if your no good the customers don't ring. simple. The trade is competency based and a dude I knew completed his in 20 months,, the state of NSW has kept the grandfathers rights exam permanently open for anyone to sit their exams,,, because there are so many people shoeing in the back blocks ,,, this was a move insisted on by the blacksmiths association to aid in education and to stop the paper lords controlling everything. The blacksmiths associations run weekends and other workshops to bring folk up to speed. There is a expat englishman positioned in the Victorian TAFE (college) who is trying to make it like the UK, he'll have better luck swimming up hill.

Brazil / South Africa - have initiated a FITS exam ( farrier international training standard ,,, I think) designed by a american based FWCF .

UK- they run a pre-historic white elephant controlled by paper lords to keep the working class thumbed down and corner a market. it takes 4 years 2 months ,,, plus a pre apprenticeship forge certificate which can take one year ,,,, so lets say 5 years 2 months. the forge certificate is supposed to prepare you for the work force, one must wonder what is done during the apprenticeship then??? It takes more time to become a farrier in the uk than it does to become a registered nurse for example, or a radiographer , or a dentist. Avoid at all costs

Big Iron

Italian stallion
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Re: Farriers Focus ATF Conference.

Postby Italian stallion » Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:54 am

Big iron,
Very interesting info, we should look at other systems because we need to change the uk system in a big way, I would go for the German version myself.



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Re: Farriers Focus ATF Conference.

Postby PNB » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:28 am


I accord, The German system would suit my needs and I feel the needs of those close to me.

I feel it would stimulate all that have walked away from NFTA TRAINEESHIP/EMPLOYMENT to re engage, a syndrome Big Iron correctly says is/was caused by the actions of "PAPER LORDS" [Like that description] .

The unneeded ill directed ill used central government funding has ruined the very effective training system of many decades, one which worked well pre FRC taking over from Rural Development Commission. The move to divert seems a small well calculated action that enabled State Training Funding to be directed to FRC and its satellite NFTAMB!!

Come to think of it now only a tiny amount of the funding goes to actual training, at the last check about £4k of about £15k per student, [info, probably a bit out of date now!!]. I ask, why don't Central Government re access this wasteful use of money now in these austere times.

Our Craftsmen developed System undoubtedly got RAPED in order to sit fat arses on administrative seats and fund administrators from easily obtained yet seemingly inappropriately diverted government funds.


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