What is the nature of a valid professional field credential?

The function of a professional credential is to establish the minimum standard for persons qualified to practice independently. Therefore the lowest credential issued by a professional credential program must designate a fully qualified professional. Sub-standard credentials serve only to confuse the issue, undermine the program’s credibility, and short-sell the profession.

A professional credential system must take into consideration the years it takes to become truly qualified to be a professional farrier, as well as the full range of knowledge and skills needed to provide clients with complete hoof care and shoeing services. Examinations for such a credential are naturally demanding, requiring the farrier to demonstrate the kinds of ability needed in professional practice. Because horse owners can count on a formal standard of this kind to identify qualified farriers, the credential can be a valuable asset to working farriers.

What kind of an organization is needed to issue professional field credentials?

A farrier organization, which issues professional credentials, needs to be managed by qualified professional farriers. This is the only way to be sure that the organization will put the interests of the qualified working farrier first.

The Guild of Professional Farriers is a non-profit organization, which requires all voting members to meet the Registered Farrier™ (RF™) standard, which is based on the knowledge, experience, and skills needed to practice farriery on sound horses at a professional level. We issue no credentials lower than RF, and openly promote this standard to the horse world as a way to identify qualified professional farriers.

Why is a formal standard for professional farriers needed?

The terms “profession” and “professional” have become very popular in the farrier community in recent years. This is perfectly understandable, since professionals are, by definition, more highly valued and compensated than lay workers. But it takes more to be a professional than calling yourself one. Qualifying to practice in a true profession involves years of training and study, as well as meeting a formal standard of competence.

Farriers often feel that their individual reputations are sufficient to establish them as professionals. While the value of a well-earned reputation cannot be overstated, all reputations are essentially based on comparison. When horse owners refer to Dr. Jones as “one of the best vets in the area”, they are comparing him to a group of highly trained and tested professional veterinarians. When horse owners say that a farrier is “the best horseshoer around,” they are comparing him to a group that includes untrained beginners and half-hearted pretenders. By defining “professional farrier” with a valid formal credential standard, we can raise the quality of the group each farrier is compared to, creating a higher, more solid foundation upon which individual reputations can be built.

Our Mission is to Improve the Farrier Profession

Our member farriers and veterinarians are dedicated to:

  • Developing and documenting the art and science of farriery in a Formal Body of Knowledge.
  • Providing a method of insuring that farrier education advances with the science of farriery.
  • Independently testing and certifying the knowledge and skill of farriers based upon our Formal Body of Knowledge.
  • Ensuring that our individual members continue their education and professional development throughout their careers.

Guild registration is a voluntary program through which qualified farriers may obtain a formal credential indicating that they meet a meaningful standard of professional competence as determined by technical knowledge and practical skills examinations, length of field experience, and other factors.

The minimum qualification for entering the Guild registry is the Registered Farrier™ (RF™) credential. Horse owners are encouraged to seek out Guild farriers in order to assure themselves of finding a fully competent farrier. All Guild registry members are professional farriers meeting the Registered Farrier™ (RF™), Registered Journeyman Farrier™ (RJF™) or Registered Master Farrier™ (RMF™) standards.