Irish Farrier News

European Federation of Farriers Accreditation Visit Sept 2011 (04 Feb 2012)

The European Federation of Farriers Associations has approved the Irish Master Farriers Association training and examination system following a three day intensive visit by the EFFA accreditation board to the Irish School of Farriery, Kildare in September 2011.  

‘The standards in the practical exam were high, equating to those used in the UK Diploma examination, and exceeding the minimum necessary for EFFA accreditation’. (Extract from the official EFFA accreditation Board Report)

EFFA board members, Mr Howard J Cooper, OBE FWCF (Hons) CE-F, Chairman, (UK), Mr Michael A Weishaupt, PD PhD, (Switzerland), Mr Bernard Vessiller, Maître Artisan Maréchal-Ferrant, (France), Mr Miles D Williamson-Noble, Registrar, (UK), were invited by the Irish Master Farriers Association to observe and evaluate the standards of IMFA final exam
The 5 candidates observed had completed a year at the school and for the subsequent 3 years with a master farrier, returning to the school for a week every 6 months for a check on progress. They then sat the final examination which consisted of a written paper, an oral and a practical test.
During the visit the Board met the following:

Martin Leahy Visit Coordinator, EFFA Board member, Ireland
John Brennan    Chief Examiner, EFFA Board member, Ireland
David Boyne    Farrier Examiner, IMFA
Jeremy Stanley    Farrier Examiner, IMFA
Liam O’Donovan    Farrier Examiner, IMFA
Don Collins    Veterinary Examiner, MRCVS
Sue Lilley    Course Coordinator, Irish Farriery Authority

The Board visited the forges of two master farriers; Ed Channon, Newbridge and Martin Leahy, Irish National Stud, (both of whom have trained a number of apprentices), to assess the standards of the forges and facilities and the standard of every day work in two different farriery practices; thoroughbred and non-thoroughbred.

Apprentices are employed by their masters throughout their training. There are some 50 students in training to become farriers most of whom are apprentice members of the Irish Master Farrier Association.

The Irish Master Farriers with the Irish Farriery Authority and in cooperation with FAS developed a new apprenticeship which commenced in 2008. The syllabus covers a series of 7 phases spread over 4 years, comprising periods of on-the-job training with a master farrier and off-the-job training at school. Apprentices are assessed at each phase which must be passed to proceed towards the final assessments. There is a good demand for training places, with more applicants than places available in the Irish School of Farriery.

Masters and apprentices must be members of the Irish Master Farriers Association and registered with FAS. Masters will have completed formal training and hold a recognised Certificate in Farriery. Masters choose and employ their apprentices, and the school is expected to accept them into training.  The minimum age for apprentices is 16; they are expected to have achieved the Junior Certificate before leaving school. Apprentices are paid a training allowance while at the school.  
FAS, the IFA, HRI, HSI and ITBA contribute towards training and running the School of Farriery, continuous professional development courses for farriers and apprentices, and the provision of seminars/clinics for farriers and horse owners.

There is currently no regulation of farriery in Ireland, but as amendments to the veterinary act are to be introduced this may change. At present, anyone may practise as a farrier, whether they have been properly trained or not. However, only those who have completed an apprenticeship and have passed a recognised examination are eligible to become members of the Irish Master Farriers Association.

The number of horses in Ireland has been significantly reduced in recent years, with an informal estimate of the current numbers being 350,000. It is estimated that there are over 200 full-time farriers, and about 200 part-time. Of these over 100 are members of the Irish Master Farriers Association.

Left to Right: Miles Williamson Noble, Bernard Vessiller, Jeremy Stanley, Michael A Weishaupt, Liam O’Donovan, John Brennan, Derek Burrell, Michael O’Toole, Ian Worrell, Martin Leahy, Barry McGrath, Howard J.Cooper, Jonathan Fallon, Don Collins, David Boyne