New online course launched for farriers

We've united with The Horse Trust to create an online course for farriers on equine welfare and legislation, as part of our ongoing commitment to improving the lives of equines in the UK.

One of the big issues we face as charities is that, by the time horses come to us, they may have already been suffering for a long time. With this in mind, what we want to do through this course is to give farriers extra tools and knowledge to help them recognise the early warning signs of neglect and poor welfare, so they can feel confident advising clients on making changes to improve this.

We recognise that farriers are at the forefront of equine care provision in the UK; they build strong relationships with clients, seeing their horses regularly, and are therefore in a unique position to promote positive welfare. By reaching horse owners early with helpful advice on good welfare practices, farriers can help stop potential welfare cases from arising. 

Similarly, as equine welfare charities we come across horrific cases of neglect on a regular basis, many of which include extreme cases of negligence involving feet. For cases such as these, often the key to successfully prosecuting those involved is the evidence provided by the farriers.

We know however that giving evidence in court can be very daunting, but as experts in this area, we want to provide farriers with the tools and confidence to do it, as we have seen first-hand the difference farrier testimony can make to winning a case against equine neglect. We have therefore come together to show our support for the farrier industry. We sincerely recognise their intrinsic role in equine welfare and have created a platform where they can develop their knowledge, expertise, and confidence in dealing with welfare cases.

We created this course based on the vast experience that we have in dealing with welfare concerns, and it draws on the work we have already done in the sector around important issues such as biosecurity and disease prevention.

Designed with the busy farrier in mind, the course is 100% online, easy to follow and packed full of additional resources and helpful contacts. The course will provide farriers with the tools and resources to provide advice, report concerns, attend welfare cases and provide evidence to a court if required.

Both equine welfare charities and farriers are vitally important to the health and welfare of horses in the UK and, by working together, we can share expertise and resources to develop knowledge, and improve the lives of horses across the country.

Lynn Cutress, Chief Executive, said: "We are really proud to have collaborated with The Horse Trust on this training. We know farriers are often at the coal face of welfare issues, especially as they establish their businesses after qualifying when they may more often encounter novice owners who require extra help and support.

"The offline course we developed to help with this issue has been shown to broaden the understanding of equine welfare and the role of welfare organisations. Now, thanks to The Horse Trust, this course is accessbile to many more farriers and we hope it builds their confidence to call on us if ever they would like support."

Ben Benson AWCF, DipWCF, Master Farrier, ATF, added: "In today's society we see so much more litigation and accountability that as working farriers we are often asked by clients or horse owners to make decisions or give opinions without sometimes the ability to fully understand what we as the professional can and cannot say in situations that we come across. Sometimes it is even just knowing what to say or how to say it appropriately. 

"This is an excellent course that all farriers and apprentices can do that really does add to our professional development. Thank you for putting it together for us in such an easy format!"

For more information or to register your interest in the course, please email training@horsetrust.org.uk.