Legal requirements for practising as a farrier

What is the law that applies to farriers?

The practice of farriery is governed by the Farriers (Registration) Act 1975. The main purpose of the Act is to prevent and avoid suffering by and cruelty to horses arising from the shoeing of horses by unskilled persons.

What is a farrier?

A farrier is defined, under the Farriers (Registration) Act 1975, as a person who works 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.

The requirement for registration

The Farriers Registration Council (often known as the FRC) was established by the Farriers (Registration) Act 1975.

The Farriers Registration Council keeps and maintains a register of farriers and it is a legal requirement that all farriers register with the Farriers Registration Council. A fee is payable by the farrier upon making an application for registration.

Can anyone register?

The Farriers Registration Council will only register those who they are satisfied have adequate experience and expertise in farriery.

What amounts to adequate experience and expertise in farriery?

Registration is open to the following people:

  • Those who were registered in the Register of Farriers kept by the Worshipful Company of Farriers as at 1 January 1976;
  • Those who have completed an apprenticeship or training programme approved by the Farriers Registration Council and who have passed an examination approved by the Farriers Registration Council;
  • Those you have completed a training course as a farrier in the Army and have passed a prescribed examination;
  • Those who are or have been registered in Part II or Part IV of the register (i.e. someone who was registered before 2000 on the basis of their experience and didn’t hold a formal qualification in farriery at that time) and have passed a prescribed examination;
  • Those who hold a qualification granted by a non-European state (i.e. a state which is not an EEA state or Switzerland) and which is accepted by the Farriers Registration Council and who has, during any 2 year period subsequent to obtaining the qualification, been regularly and gainfully engaged in the shoeing of horses;
  • Those who are entitled to be recognised as a farrier pursuant to the European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2007 and have satisfied any procedural requirements required by such regulations;
  • Those who are or have been registered in Part II or Part IV of the register (i.e. someone who was registered before 2000 on the basis of their experience and didn’t hold a formal qualification in farriery at that time) and have obtained experience in shoeing horses in the United Kingdom as set out in the European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2007.

It is a criminal offence, punishable by a fine, for a person to wilfully procure or attempt to procure his registration by providing false or fraudulent information.

Once a person has been registered are they entitled to carry out all farrier work?

The Register is divided into 5 parts. Farriers registered in Parts I, II, IV and V are entitled to carry out farriery as a business.

Farriers registered in Part III are only allowed to carry out farriery on their own horses or other peoples horses but not for trade or reward. If such persons carry out farriery for trade or reward they commit a criminal offence, punishable by a fine.

Farriers registered in Part V are only entitled to provide a temporary and occasional farriery service.

What are the consequences of not registering?

Where an unregistered person carries out any farriery (unless they are serving on an approved apprenticeship or are training at an approved institution; are a vet; trainee vet working under the supervision of a qualified vet; or are rendering emergency first-aid) then they commit a criminal offence, punishable by a fine.

It is also a criminal offence, punishable by a fine, for an unregistered person to call himself as a “farrier”, “shoeing smith” or describe himself in a manner which would lead another person to believe that he is registered.

What powers do the Farriers Registration Council have in relation to persons registered with them?

The Farriers Registration Council has an Investigating Committee and a Disciplinary Committee.

The function of the Investigating Committee is to deal with the preliminary investigation of cases where an allegation has been made that a person should be removed or suspended from the Register.

The Disciplinary Committee has the power to order the removal of a person from the Register or the suspension of a person from the Register for a specified period in the following situations:

  • Where a person is judged by the Disciplinary Committee to be guilty of serious misconduct in any professional respect;
  • Where the Disciplinary Committee finds that a person was not in fact qualified for registration;
  • Where a person has been convicted of a criminal offence involving cruelty to animals;
  • Where the Disciplinary Committee finds that a person registered as a temporary or occasional farrier is no longer is entitled to carry out farriery.

There is a right of appeal against the removal of a person’s name from the Register.

The Farriers Registration Council is required to remove deceased persons from the Register and persons who have asked to be removed.

What is the Worshipful Company of Farriers and what is their role?

The Farriers (Registration) Act 1975 gave the Worshipful Company of Farriers (commonly known as the WCF) the general responsibility for securing the adequate standards of competence and conduct of farriers. The Act also requires the Worshipful Company of Farriers to promote, encourage and advance the art and science of farriery and farriery education. Many of the qualifications approved by the Farriers Registration Council are awarded by the Worshipful Company of Farriers.