Prior to the 1970’s farriery was not regulated although a Livery Company of the City of London, known as the Worshipful Company of Farriers (WCF), established in 1356, ran examinations in the craft and the trade association National Association of Farriers Blacksmiths and Agricultural Engineers (NAFBAE) represented the interests of farriers. Both bodies came to the view that professional regulation was in the interests of horse welfare.
The Farriers (Registration) Act was passed into law in 1975, by means of a Private Members Bill and came fully into force in England and Wales in 1979 and in Scotland (except in the Scottish Islands and Highland Region) in 1981. The Act was first amended in 1977 in respect of qualifications for registration. The Act was further amended in 2002 to reflect the requirements of EC Directive 99/42 and again in 2008 to reflect the requirements of EC Directive 2005/36. From 30 March 2007 the Highland Region and Islands of Scotland were also covered by Section 16 of the Act and hence the Act is now fully in force in all areas of Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). The Act does not apply in the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Northern Ireland.
The Farriers (Registration) Act was most recently amended by the Farriers (Registration) Act 2017 which has modernised the constitution of the FRC for the first time in 42 years.
"Prevent and avoid suffering by and cruelty to horses arising from the shoeing of horses by unskilled persons; to promote the proper shoeing of horses; to promote the training of farriers and shoeing smiths; to provide for the establishment of a Farrier Registration Council to register persons engaged in farriery and the shoeing of horses; to prohibit the shoeing of horses by unqualified persons; and for purposes connected therewith."
Under Section 1 of the Act the WCF was given the general responsibility for securing adequate standards of competence and conduct among farriers together with the advancement of the art and science of farriery and education in connection with it.
The Farriers Registration Council was set up to maintain a Register of Farriers and to determine who is qualified to register, to make rules with respect to the form and keeping of the register, to approve and supervise courses, qualifications and institutions providing training in farriery, to undertake the preliminary investigation of disciplinary cases through an Investigating Committee and to determine cases through a Disciplinary Committee.
"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."
This means that "barefoot trimming" i.e. trimming that is not in preparation for the application of a shoe does not fall within the definition.
It is a criminal offence, with a fine of up to £1,000 and costs, for anyone other than those listed above to carry out farriery. It is also a criminal offence for anyone other than a Registered Farrier to describe themselves as a farrier.
All Registered Farriers are issued annually with a personal registration card and a vehicle window sticker. Horse owners are encouraged to ask to see them as proof of credibility. If you have any doubts as to whether your farrier is registered you can use the Find a Farrier search facility on this website or telephone the office.