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TOPIC: AFA Certification

AFA Certification 31 Mar 2008 15:33 #1

  • Tom Stovall CJF
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Moved from "Whats up with the AFA?"

Your points are all correct Tom. Would you agree that some people do not become certified because of the standard the AFA uses for its testing?

I don't think the AFA's standards have much to do with folks' not wanting to take the tests. I think most folks don't take them because they don't give a damn about AFA certification, while others don't test because they fear failure.

Would you agree that many people believe the AFA is a group that advocates the "perimeter fit" as an ideal?

I'd agree that many folks have that perception, but it's skewed. A perimeter fit is used as a testing standard because it's easiest to objectively quantify, not because it's an "ideal." I believe the AFA's website is fairly clear on that point.

Would you agree that there are other published standards to which testing would/could/is conducted?


There are lots of "standards" out there, but none of them comes close to being as objective as the AFA's tests. Every other practical comes down to a tester's opinion about how well the horse's needs have been met within the parameters dictated by a model - and that subjectivity has its own baggage in terms of credibility and fairness to the testee.

People avoid the AFA and certification for a bunch of reasons, including these perceptions. Strasser has a published standard, but I wouldn't take that test on principle.

I wouldn't either: Strasser's stuff is scientifically indefensible. On the other hand, I have a stack of win pictures of horses that are perimeter fit - at least on one end. :)

I think many people have the same thought about the standards of the AFA tests (I am not equating the AFA to Strasser, just pointing out that there is a difference in what people believe).

If the AFA does not advocate the testing standard as "correct shoeing" (as Danvers points out), mix it up for a few years and see if perceptions change and membership goes up.


As long as the AFA's tests consist of criteria that are rigidly and clearly delineated as they are now, I don't think it would make any difference in terms of fairness to the testee or objectivity of evaluation if the standard called for a perimeter fit or for the shoe to be set under - but in order to maintain objectivity, the amount the shoe was to be set under would have to be a matter of precise measurement from known vectors, not based on an imprecise model or someone's opinion relative to the location of structures within the hoof capsule.

Would you take a test using NB principles as the standard? If you were inclined to take the test, would it be more difficult to pass considering you do not shoe in that manner on a regular basis?


I'm getting a little long in the tooth, I've admittedly lost a step or two, and I have sometimes have trouble remembering my grandurchin's names - but I'm still arrogant enough to think that if I study the theory and practice for the practical, I can pass any shoeing test that does not have a time limit. All shoeing boils down to basics and I have a fair grasp of basics.

I'd bet a considerable sum on the proposition. :)
Tom Stovall, CJF
"The only foolish question is the one left unasked."
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RE:AFA Certification 31 Mar 2008 15:54 #2

  • reillyshoe
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I would like to be the first to contribute to Tom's Natural Balance wager- $100 if he passes. Perhaps if enough of us chip in we could make this happen, and the stories would be worth the price of admission.
P
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RE:AFA Certification 31 Mar 2008 17:01 #3

  • anvilsteve
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I certainly agree with what Tom has said above, and I will add some more. I was one of the first CFJ's and examiners in NY, when Bruce Daniels was heading the program. He asked Buster Conklin and me to become examiners because he trusted us and knew that we were competant. As time went on, the cert. process has evolved and been refined. In that time, I tested many candidates with other examiners and supervised many certifications after new examiners came on the scene.

That being said, the biggest reason for failure that I have seen, in watching a couple hundred farriers tested, is their own unpreparedness for the exam. They may be making money shoeing and can so an adequate job, but they do not do a job worthy of AFA Certification, which is meant to be a higher standard than adequate. Those who do pass have put time into their preparation and have gotten help from someone who will teach them how to not only pass the test, but do a better job overall.

I have seen candidates stopped for doing terrible knife and nipper work, justly so. You may to be able to shoe your clients horse like that, but that doesn't pass the standard being tested. The perimeter fit that everyone complains about has to do with proper dressing the hoof and fitting the shoe precisely to it. That does not leave an excessive toe length. If you can't nail a shoe on where you need it to be, you are not ready. You can even choose how much heel expansion you want. If you read the manual and take time to listen to interpetation almost anyone should be able to pass the Certfied Farrier test. Any one that I have helped has walked right through it easily. I think it is an easy demostration of one's competance.

Steve Kraus, CFJ
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RE:AFA Certification 31 Mar 2008 17:18 #4

  • Mike Ferrara
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anvilsteve wrote:

That being said, the biggest reason for failure that I have seen, in watching a couple hundred farriers tested, is their own unpreparedness for the exam. They may be making money shoeing and can so an adequate job, but they do not do a job worthy of AFA Certification, which is meant to be a higher standard than adequate. Those who do pass have put time into their preparation and have gotten help from someone who will teach them how to not only pass the test, but do a better job overall.

In what way is an AFA score of 70 (or whatever the passing score is) on the practical "a higher standard than adequate"?

Ignoring, for a moment, the problems inherent to the way certain aspects are specified and evaluated, what exactly consitutes a minimum passing job and how is it better than "adequate"?
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RE:AFA Certification 31 Mar 2008 18:33 #5

  • Bo Terry
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For those of you who have not taken the AFA's certification, for whatever reason, and want to gripe and whine, my words to you are, GET OVER IT! If you don't like the test, don't take it, but spare me the moaning of what you think is wrong with it....It's kinda like voting...if you don't vote....you have no right to whine about who is elected.

Once you've taken and completed it, then we can talk. Until then...

Bo
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RE:AFA Certification 31 Mar 2008 19:30 #6

  • Jack Evers
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For those who seem so hung up on the perimeter fit and can't seem to see that it's just part of the prescribed package, take a look at the shoe board. The square toe is not perimeter fit by anyone's definition and others forms such as rolled toe, rocker toe. trailers, extended heels do not fit the common impression that AFA recommends a flat perimeter fit shoe. The practical test requires many shapes, but specifies a certain package for the shoeing.

The argument that "I don't shoe the AFA way, so I won't take their test" is nonsense since there is no single AFA way.
Jack Evers CJF AFA#426

The best things about the good old days -- I wasn't good and I wasn't old.

The older I get, the more horses I shoe, the fewer things that I can absolutely, positively fix.
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RE:AFA Certification 31 Mar 2008 20:01 #7

  • reillyshoe
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anvilsteve wrote:
That being said, the biggest reason for failure that I have seen, in watching a couple hundred farriers tested, is their own unpreparedness for the exam. They may be making money shoeing and can so an adequate job, but they do not do a job worthy of AFA Certification, which is meant to be a higher standard than adequate. Those who do pass have put time into their preparation and have gotten help from someone who will teach them how to not only pass the test, but do a better job overall.

If you can't nail a shoe on where you need it to be, you are not ready.

Steve Kraus, CFJ

Steve,
Some farriers are clearly not capable and should be stopped/failed during an exam. I would suggest that there is a big difference between farriers who are not skilled, and farriers who are not prepared for the AFA exam. Many skilled farriers fail the test because they do not bother to become knowledgable in presenting what the AFA is looking for. While this is a mistake, it is worth noting that there is an "art" to taking the test. For example, I watched on farrier fail because he left too much heel length on the shoe. The examiner commented that since his trim was already completed and judged, he could have burned the shoe into the heels, since eventually it would make the foot longer and the foot would fit the shoe. I can also add that I attended a precertification workshop years ago where the examiner demonstrated nailing a shoe, but the shoe slid back on the foot and he rasped off the toe. The excuse given by the examiner was that he was not used to using keg shoes.
No test is perfect, that is a given. There are certainly "tricks" that can be helpful in passing the AFA exam, and there are certainly capable farriers who fail because they are shoeing in a manner that does not represent their regular work.
P
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RE:AFA Certification 31 Mar 2008 21:32 #8

  • solidrockshoer
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reillyshoe wrote:
There are certainly "tricks" that can be helpful in passing the AFA exam

One of the sneakiest tricks is Practice!

Pat as usual people want to jump ahead of everything. Forget the shoeing part. Let's start at the beginning. The shoe display. Tell me a little bit about the shoe display. Should the afa do away with the toe clip? If people are turning in a passing shoe display, how on earth are they not able to put a perimeter fit on a horse?

Now lets jump ahead! How should the anterior extension shoe be made to suit people who don't want to perimeter fit?

Nobody says anyone has to do things exactly as the test says. As long as the points add up you pass. I don't change anything about my trim for the afa exam. IOW, I take my hits for taking my heels a tad low sometimes. And if I need to make the foot easier to fit, I may overdress the walls a little.
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RE:AFA Certification 31 Mar 2008 21:49 #9

  • Mike Ferrara
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Bo Terry wrote:
For those of you who have not taken the AFA's certification, for whatever reason, and want to gripe and whine, my words to you are, GET OVER IT! If you don't like the test, don't take it, but spare me the moaning of what you think is wrong with it....It's kinda like voting...if you don't vote....you have no right to whine about who is elected.

Wouldn't it stand to reason that those who aren't interested in the AFA for one reason or the other wouldn't belong, pay dues or take their test? But I'll still ask people to explain statements like those made by anvilsteve above.
Once you've taken and completed it, then we can talk. Until then...

Bo

Until then...you'll be missed in the conversation...or not.
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RE:AFA Certification 31 Mar 2008 21:51 #10

reillyshoe wrote:
If the AFA does not advocate the testing standard as "correct shoeing" (as Danvers points out), mix it up for a few years and see if perceptions change and membership goes up.
Just to follow up on the above, which was posted in the other thread...

I never said that the AFA does not advocate their certification standard as "correct shoeing." I quoted from Chapter 9, page 33 of the AFA's current Certification Guide. Since that quote appears in another thread, I'll quote it again below (while wondering how the quote could be so misconstrued as to indicate in any way that the chosen standard is not "correct.")...

The following guidelines, updated and revised by the AFA's Certification Committee, provide an excellent gauge for evaluating farriery. Nevertheless, acceptance of these guidelines as a standard method to shoe a horse is not our goal. Instead these guidelines provide criteria to enable standardized evaluation of skill levels by Certification Examiners and Testers. These guidelines are not the only standard to which horses are shod, but they represent solid, basic, and traditional practice and are suitable to a selective evaluation process.

The idea of "mix[ing] it up for a few years" and prescribing another standard might be fine if we were talking about playing around with various shoeing protocols, running an experiment, or using a standardized examination as a recruiting tool. But the AFA's certification program is not about playing, experimenting, or recruiting; instead, it's about offering a valid and consistent instrument for measurement and evaluation of a farrier's base knowledge and skill.

You say that reillyshoe wrote:
Many skilled farriers fail the test because they do not bother to become knowledgable in presenting what the AFA is looking for.
If that's the case, they probably don't need to "bother" with the exam. The bottom line here is that when you agree/choose to sit for a standardized exam, you implicitly agree to follow the standards the exam is built upon. That doesn't mean that you believe these are the only standards or even that you believe they're the best standards. It simply means that you're acknowledging them as valid at a base level or at a situational level. In effect, whether or not you intend to follow those standards dogmatically outside of the testing situation is irrelevant.

I studied educational philosophies for the NTE that I never chose to use in the classroom; it didn't hurt me. I studied mathematics for the SAT and the GRE that I have never found reason to use; it only hurt a little. I studied Butler's book for the written portion of the AFA exam; I found it useful, even when I was looking at a few things I disagreed with.

No... I don't fit every horse with a perimeter fit. I don't manage to get a nail line that runs parallel to the coronary band on every shoeing job. I don't clip every shoe I put on, and I certainly don't hand make every shoe I put on... but being able to shoe to those standards doesn't hurt me.

As you said,reillyshoe wrote:
No test is perfect, that is a given.
and changing the AFA test because some people don't like doing a perimeter fit or don't feel that using a perimeter fit is appropriate wouldn't do anything to perfect the exam. It would simply force people to find something different to bi+ch about.
~~Danvers

Danvers Child, CJF

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RE:AFA Certification 31 Mar 2008 22:00 #11

  • solidrockshoer
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danverschild wrote:
It would simply force people to find something different to bi+ch about.


Every time someone bi+ches, rules have to be made clearer. Every time rules are made clearer the test becomes harder.
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RE:AFA Certification 31 Mar 2008 22:02 #12

  • solidrockshoer
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BTW, what's up with the precerts? It been years that the commitee has be trying to reinvent the wheel! By now I thought they'de be having them all over the country and really promoting it?
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RE:AFA Certification 31 Mar 2008 22:11 #13

  • Mike Ferrara
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reillyshoe wrote:
Steve,
Some farriers are clearly not capable and should be stopped/failed during an exam. I would suggest that there is a big difference between farriers who are not skilled, and farriers who are not prepared for the AFA exam. Many skilled farriers fail the test because they do not bother to become knowledgable in presenting what the AFA is looking for.

In taking any test or class it's vital to know what the prof is looking for. The trick to efficient study/practice/preperation is knowing what's expected.

While this is a mistake, it is worth noting that there is an "art" to taking the test. For example, I watched on farrier fail because he left too much heel length on the shoe. The examiner commented that since his trim was already completed and judged, he could have burned the shoe into the heels, since eventually it would make the foot longer and the foot would fit the shoe.

An examiner really said that? If the trim was correct (it passed so it must have been) why would you want to burn the heels lower to make the fit longer and ruin that good trim that passed? Why not just cut the heels down or use a smaller shoe? That's the advice I would have given. Gotta burn a foot pretty good to get it much longer huh?

I can also add that I attended a precertification workshop years ago where the examiner demonstrated nailing a shoe, but the shoe slid back on the foot and he rasped off the toe. The excuse given by the examiner was that he was not used to using keg shoes.

I have to wonder why he didn't just use the slid back shoe to demonstrate how to fix/avoid it. Instead he demonstrates sloppy work and making excuses. Now there's industry leadership for you. IMOP, he should have been stripped of his stripes in public and sent packin.

We all know that a shoe can slide...well I've never had it happen to me but I've heard of it:D If you have to pull a nail or two to slide it back, so what? At least it's right when you get done.

No test is perfect, that is a given. There are certainly "tricks" that can be helpful in passing the AFA exam, and there are certainly capable farriers who fail because they are shoeing in a manner that does not represent their regular work.

Certifications and degrees are a game, a paper chase. As they say "Been there and done that. " Thanklfully, farriery is still a trade where one can get away from all that BS. IMO, we free farriers need to try to not let that change.
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RE:AFA Certification 31 Mar 2008 22:15 #14

To those who keep saying people are *****ing, YOUR WAY OFF THE MARK!!!!!

Why do some of you take constructive feedback as *****ing and whineing. You get over it.

My focus is education, help improve a process that might gain more members. If you don't want to hear it, then just stop reading.

Get over it!!!!!!!!! :rolleyes:
Phil Armitage, CF
AFA member 7480

"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it." Albert Schweitzer
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RE:AFA Certification 31 Mar 2008 22:22 #15

  • solidrockshoer
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Phil Armitage wrote:
To those who keep saying people are *****ing, YOUR WAY OFF THE MARK!!!!!

Why do some of you take constructive feedback as *****ing and whineing. You get over it.

My focus is education, help improve a process that might gain more members. If you don't want to hear it, then just stop reading.

Get over it!!!!!!!!! :rolleyes:

Pass the tests before you give feedback! Until then its not feedback. :rolleyes:
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