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Insurers Consider Clamp Down On Illegal Farriers

Leading equine insurance companies are backing the Worshipful Company of Farriers in a bid to improve the standard of shoeing in the UK and clamp down on unregistered farriers.

The companies, all members of the Equine Insurance Forum (EIF), acknowledge that a high standard of farriery and hoof care could reduce the cost of claims involving foot problems in horses and ponies. It is recommending its member companies to check that policyholders making claims have been using a registered farrier and consider including relevant questions on claims forms.

It is a criminal offence in Great Britain (other than the Highlands and Islands of Scotland) for anyone other than a registered farrier, approved farriery apprentice or veterinary surgeon, to shoe a horse or pony. Registration is achieved by completing a four year and two month apprenticeship and success in the Worshipful Company's diploma examination. Farriers can then go on to take higher qualification to become Associate or Fellowship members.

Most insurers will accept claims where surgical farriery has been recommended by a veterinary surgeon. Now the EIF is to recommend to members and veterinary surgeons that this work is carried out only by Associate members of the Worshipful Company of Farriers - although it recognises there will be exceptions. "There are farriers with many years of experience who have chosen not to look for formal higher qualifications, but we will suggest that vets justify their use of these," said EIF chairman David Buckton.

"Only about 10 per cent of registered farriers have taken higher qualifications, and we see our moves as support for the Worshipful Company's effort to increase this number. We also recognise that any improvement to shoeing standards will improve equine welfare, and that, in turn, helps to reduce insurance claims and control the cost of policies."


· The Equine Insurance Forum is made up of representatives from 12 leading insurers. It is a voluntary group with the power only to make recommendations to the industry. Among its successful suggestions has been the freezemarking of horses and ponies on which there have been successful loss of use claims.
· Registered farriers carry identity cards and travelling farriers are asked to display a windscreen sticker on their vehicles.
· When a veterinary surgeon recommends surgical farriery, a policyholder first has to obtain the insurer's consent.
· A full list of registered farriers is posted on the Farriers Registration Council website, which can be found at . Alternatively, owners can telephone the Council on 01733 319911 to check their farrier's credentials or obtain a postcode list of registered farriers in their area. Information about the Farriery Training Service (FTS) and apprenticeships in farriery can also be found on the website or by telephoning FTS staff on 01733 319970.
· The Worshipful Company of Farriers can be contacted at 19 Queen Street, Chipperfield, Herts, WD4 9BT. Tel: 01923 260747, fax: 01923 261677, or through its website at


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