The United States has no legal licensure requirement for the trade of Farriery, therefore the only measurable standard we have for the skill of a farrier is Certification. In the USA we have volunteer certification overseen by the American Farriers Association. The American Farriers Association is the US national organization with oversight in the farrier industry, with their national headquarters here in Lexington, Kentucky.
Schools cannot provide AFA certification for a student. Instead, we can host a certification, which is run by and judged by AFA registered Examiners and Testers. KHS hosts AFA certifications twice a year and encourages students past and present to work towards the goal becoming AFA certified. Be cautious when any farrier program indicates that you will graduate as a ‘Certified Farrier’.
About AFA Certification
The AFA Certification program is dedicated to the welfare of the horse. The certification test is not a mandate or blueprint on how to shoe any individual horse. It is, rather, an objective assessment of the specific skills necessary to perform the job of farriery to a prescribed standard. Those who pass it possess the ability to provide a healthy standard of hoof care.
Farriers who pass the AFA Certified Farrier examination exhibit a working knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathology, gaits, and horseshoes and their various uses. They display the ability to identify, assess, trim, and protect, structures of the hoof. They demonstrate shoe fit and modifications to specific standards and patterns.
The American Farrier’s Association believes that the well-being of the horse would be improved if every farrier possessed the skills necessary to pass the CF exam.
The AFA’s Farrier Certification Program consists of three categories: Classification, Certification, and Endorsement. Within these categories, the Certification and Endorsement designations have associated options and levels of progression.
Certification is at the center of this program, but Classification and Endorsement are integral and valuable components, designed to make the program viable for the entire farrier community. The Classification component provides opportunities for entry-level farriers, while the Endorsement component provides opportunities for farriers who have completed the highest level of Certification.
Candidates at each level are expected to display hoof trimming skills and techniques to meet everyday demands of correct hoof care, the skills to apply horseshoes and other appliances to exacting prescriptions, forging skills needed to modify or make a variety of horseshoes, and a knowledge of equine anatomy and physiology. Testing and evaluation are critically applied to maintain the highest standards of workmanship and professionalism.
AFA Farrier Classification (FC)
The entry-level component of the Farrier Certification Program, this classification focuses on basic concerns associated with safe, sound farriery, relieving the candidate from certain time constraints and higher level forge work associated with certification. The AFA Farrier Classification requires that candidates successfully complete written and practical testing, including the creation of a brief horseshoe display. This classification is not a prerequisite for any subsequent certification level.
AFA Certified Farrier (CF)
The Certified Farrier exams, which constitute the first level of AFA Certification, are open to farriers who have at least one year of horseshoeing experience, and have demonstrated knowledge and skill to perform hoof care on a professional basis. The Certified Farrier process requires successful completion of written and practical testing, as well as the creation and explanation of a horseshoe display.
AFA Certified Tradesman Farrier (CTF)
The Certified Tradesman Farrier exams, which constitute a second (optional) level of AFA Certification, are open to farriers who have at least two (2) years horseshoeing experience and have completed the CF level. The Certified Tradesman Farrier process requires successful completion of written and practical testing, including the forging and fitting of a specific handmade shoe within a prescribed time limit.
AFA Certified Journeyman Farrier (CJF)
The Certified Journeyman Farrier exams, which constitute the highest level of AFA certification, are open to candidates who have at least two (2) years horseshoeing experience and have completed the CF level. Farriers sitting for this level of certification are expected to display in-depth knowledge and highly developed performance skills evidencing a level of professional artistry. The process requires successful completion of written and practical testing, as well as the forging of a specific bar shoe within a prescribed time limit. The shoe must fit a pre-determined foot pattern.
For more information visit www.americanfarriers.org
There are farriers who wish to push themselves beyond USA top level of USA Certification, the AFA Journeyman. For those farriers wishing to pursue higher level certification, KHS hosts the Associates Level Higher Examination administered by the Worshipful Company of Farriers of the United Kingdom. The Associates level examination required that a candidate hold a minimum of an AFA Journeyman qualification. For more information on the AWCF examinations, you can visit the Worshipful Company of Farriers website.
About the Worshipful Company of Farriers
The records of the City of London Corporation show that on 27th March 1356, in the 30th year of the reign of Edward III, the Mayor, Henry Pykard, summoned before him all the Farriers of the City to deal with the many offences and damages which had been committed by “people not wise therein” who kept forges in the City and meddled with practices which they did not understand, to the greater detriment of the horse. The Mayor ordered the choosing of two Wardens who were given full power to oversee and govern the trade and to deal with any default.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the Worshipful Company of Farriers is as influential in the development of farriery as it has ever been in its long history.
In 1975 the first Farriers Registration Act passed as law and it was affirmed that the Company should have the general functions of securing adequate standards of competence and conduct among farriers and the duty of promoting, encouraging, and advancing the art and science of farriery’ and education in connection with farriery.
In 1983 Her Majesty the Queen granted the Company a Supplemental Charter designed to bring up to date the powers and duties conferred by the original Charter granted in 1674 by King Charles II.
Through the vitality of the craft and the adaptability of the Company, there is therefore an unbroken link between the Company of today and the “Citizens and Farriers of London” incorporated as a Fellowship within the City in 1356.
In July 1691 the Company petitioned the Court of Aldermen to be re-established as one of the Livery Companies of the City of London and this was granted in June 1692.
The Company then had status as a Livery Company as distinct from a City Guild and remains proud to play its part in the constitution and life of the City.
Its involvement over the centuries with the evolution of the farriers’ craft is evident from a simple listing of the activities for which it bears a major responsibility today. It assists apprentices; encourages and gives prizes for shoeing competitions; examines for the Diploma that entitles farriers to statutory registration and for two higher qualifications, namely the Associateship and the Fellowship.
It holds seminars for practicing farriers and assists and supports other bodies undertaking farriery educational exercises and encourages research on matters in the farriery field.
The Company is justly proud in combining its interest in the modern craft of farriery with its history of involvement in the City.