Farriery is a highly skilled profession which requires considerable training to become qualified. The Worshipful Company of Farriers (WCF) hold responsibility for the structure of the training course and the qualifying examination – to become a Diplomate of the WCF. Typically a trainee farrier will complete an apprenticeship under the guidance of a qualified farrier with significant experience. The course takes four years and two months to complete, and includes 23 weeks of didactic teaching at an approved training centre. Further training is required to be recognised as a remedial farrier – which typically takes another two years before attempting the certifying examination, and becoming an Associate of the WCF. Associates are able to take referrals from other farriers and are trained to work with veterinary surgeons on challenging cases.
At NEH we work closely with Will O’Shaughnessy DipWCF ACWF. Will qualified in 2002 having trained under Simon Curtis, who is also Newmarket based. After qualification, Will spent 6 months in North America on a scholarship, spending time with experienced farriers working in different disciplines. Will continued his studies passing the Associate examination in 2004, recognising his skills as a remedial farrier. On returning from America, Will started his own business, O’Shaughnessy Farriers, which he runs with his brother Ed. Being based in Newmarket, Will undertakes a significant amount of work with racehorses, but also spends about half of his time working with Sports Horses and performing remedial work at NEH. Will is also a member of the Irish farriery team, and regularly competes at the World Championships – finishing second the last two years running.