What level are they on?
In the United States, today, there are several organizations that offer a farrier certification program. The American Farrier’s Association or AFA is one of them. They have the highest testing standards and offer (4) four levels of certification as well as (2) two specialty endorsement levels.
The AFA Certification Program was developed in 1981 and centers around standardized examination processes allowing the proper assessment of trimming and shoeing. In addition to the “hands on” portion of the examination, students are also required to take comprehensive written tests on anatomy, physiology and biomechanics.
This certification allows farrier’s to be recognized among other farriers and equine owners as having guagable levels of knowledge and expertise in hoof care.
The levels of certification consist of (3) categories, Classification, Certification and Endorsement.
The AFA Farrier Classification (AFA Farrier) is an entry-level segment focusing on basic concerns relating to safe, sound farrier practices. Further diminishing the applicant from time limits and higher level forge work affiliated with certification. Written and practical testing and the creation of brief horseshoe display are required. This level is not a prerequisite of any other certification levels.
The Certified Farrier (AFA CF) is the first level of AFA certification and is open to farriers having at least one year of horse shoeing experience and have demonstrated knowledge and skill on a professional basis. The level requires the successful completion of written and practical testing and a clear demonstration and explanation of a horseshoe display.
The Certified Tradesman Farrier (AFA CTF) is a second level certification program and is open to farriers with 2 years of horse shoeing experience and the CF level of training must have been completed. Written and practical testing is required and must be successfully completed, Forging and fitting of a handmade shoe within a prescribed time is also required.
The Certified Journeyman Farrier (AFA CJF) is the highest level of certification that the AFA offers. This level is open to farriers that have at least two years of horse shoeing experience and have completed the CF level. Farriers are expected to display in-depth knowledge and highly developed performance skills confirming a level of professional artistry. Written and practical testing is required and forging of a specific bar shoe within a time limit. Further, the shoe must fit a pre-determined foot pattern.
The Endorsements level provides the CJF the opportunity of continuing education and further professional development. Some areas of hoof care require highly specialized knowledge and skill which may involve working with particular breeds, activities, disciplines or working with veterinarians to provide relief to horses that are suffering from possible neglect, inadequate hoof care or which have been affected by disease or trauma.
This Specialty Endorsement at the CJF level is called Therapeutic Endorsement. A general overview of this program is available and can be obtained through the AFA office.
So, how certified is your farrier?