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Illegal Farriery

Unregistered persons are committing a criminal offence under Section 16 of the Farriers (Registration) Act if they carry out farriery. A horse owner using an unregistered person may be risking the welfare of their horse, may invalidate their insurance if the horse is lamed or otherwise injured and if knowingly using an unregistered person may be aiding and abetting a criminal act.

The FRC will investigate and take out prosecutions against unregistered persons suspected of carrying out farriery illegally when the evidence is sufficient to do so.

In order to bring a prosecution it is always necessary to have a witness statement or other clear evidence. The Council employs investigators who can assist you in making a statement which would then be used as the basis of a Council prosecution. They also carry out surveillance in the hope of witnessing the individual themselves.

If you have any information regarding any alleged illegal farriery activity then please report it to the Council. It may not be possible to take out a prosecution on your report alone but the information you provide may assist an investigation.

You can discuss any concerns or information you may have on a confidential basis over the telephone with a member of staff at the FRC office or submit information using the Illegal Farriery Report Form.

Alternatively persons are free to make their own complaint to the police and have the right to press the police to take action.

Types of Shoes

Nowadays, horseshoes are not only available in metal but in a wide variety of materials and styles, developed for different types of horses and the work they do.

There is no definition of the word "shoe" in the Farriers (Registration) Act 1975 but it is the Council’s view that the meaning of the word shoe should be considered in its purposive context.

It is the function of the object rather than material from which it is made that is critical.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it is the Council’s view that the following are shoes for the purpose of the Act:

  • Glue-on plastic shoes.
  • "Hoof wraps" consisting of a length of bandage like material which is impregnated with a synthetic, fibreglass-like resin which is soft when applied. But having been soaked in water dries, forming a rigid, solid structure around the hoof. Screws may also be used as anchor points for the wrap.
The Council takes out prosecutions against persons who undertake farriery illegally when the evidence is sufficient to do so and considers the application of glue-on plastic shoes and "hoof wraps", as described above, amounts to farriery, or shoeing, for the purposes of the Farriers Registration Act; such products should only be applied by Registered Farriers or Veterinary Surgeons.