How Good is Your Horse Shoer?

Certified journeyman farriers undergo rigorous schooling.

Take a look at this shod hoof.

Looks pretty good, right?

That's until examiner Dusty Franklin, American Farrier's Association certified journeyman farrier, goes over it with his eagle eye.

Here's how he'd evaluate the nail clinches on this foot:

  1. "The toe nail looks pretty good. It's good and square, and it's in line with the tubules of the foot."
  2. "The second clinch has a ragged edge. The back part of it has been rasped off, and the front hasn't, and it's a lot longer than the first clinch."
  3. "The third one, you see where the hoof wall has been pulled down when (the farrier) clinched it? He over-clinched it."

But it's not all bad, Dusty allows.

"Some positive things - the nail pattern is good and parallel. The nails are one-third of the way up the hoof like they're supposed to be. And the third nail is in front of the widest part of the foot."

These clinches would garner a score of 6, out of a possible 10 points. Seven is considered an average score.

Visit AFA's Web site to find a certified farrier near you.

Learn more ways to spot good horse shoeing techniques. Plus, arm yourself with knowledge to prevent horse hoof problems like white line disease, founder and cracks. Get AQHA's Equine Hoof Health report today.

Why farrier certification matters to horse owners

Although there has long been talk of licensing, there are currently no regulations in the farrier industry, other than voluntary programs like those offered by the American Farrier's Association. Anyone - even someone with precious little training - can hang out a shingle as a farrier. The AFA certification levels provide benchmarks of a farrier's training and skill level.

"It should give the horse owner a little bit more of a comfort level in knowing that the farrier you are calling has put forth the effort to pass a voluntary certification to be better at his trade," said Dusty Franklin, certified journeyman farrier.

"A lot of horse owners have probably not heard of the American Farrier's Association, let alone know what a certified farrier is or what they can do for them," said John Voigt, CJF and chairman of the AFA's certification committee. "Right now, one of our goals in the AFA is horse owner awareness. The office is starting to get a number of calls, usually from people who have had a certified farrier they are real happy with and they are moving three or four states away. They want to know where they can find a certified farrier in (their new state)."

Got a horse who's less than polite to the farrier? AQHA's Equine Hoof Health report helps you teach your horse to pick up his feet and tolerate the shoeing process. Plus, learn all about good hoof health and ways to prevent painful problems that could lead to serious lameness.

Wanted: Horse Treat Recipes

The American Quarter Horse Journal wants to know your recipes for homemade horsey snacks. Send your name, address and horse treat recipe to Tonya Ratliff-Garrison, and it might be featured in an upcoming issue of the Journal!