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Farriery and Modern Materials

FRC Policy Statement: Shoeing Materials and Illegal Farriery

The Farriers (Registration) Act 1975 was set up to regulate the activity of farriery in the interests of equine welfare. Under the Act "farriery" is defined as:

"any work in connection with the preparation or treatment of the foot of a horse for the immediate reception of a shoe thereon, the fitting by nailing or otherwise of a shoe to the foot or the finishing off of such work to the foot."

It is a criminal offence for anyone other than a Registered Farrier, approved farriery apprentice, veterinary surgeon or student veterinary surgeon working under supervision to shoe a horse, or otherwise carry out farriery unless required because of an emergency first aid situation.

There is no definition of the word "shoe" in the Act. It is the Farriers Registration Council’s view that the meaning should be considered in its purposive context. Horse shoes are not only available in metal but in a wide variety of materials and styles, developed for different types of horses, the condition of their feet and the work they do. It is the function of the object rather than material from which it is made that is important. Thus the following are considered to be "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 resin which is soft when wrapped around the foot but having been soaked in water dries, forming a rigid, solid structure around the hoof. Screws, or glue may also be used as anchor points, or as a means to adhere the wrap to the hoof wall.

This is because they are clearly intended to give protection to the hooves by providing a solid structure between the hoof and the ground, they can be left in a place for a number of weeks, are firmly affixed, solid and immoveable and need special tools to remove them.

The application of the products described above, amounts to farriery, or shoeing, for the purposes of the Act.

Farriers Registration Council - November 2012