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TOPIC: AFA Certification

RE:AFA Certification 13 Apr 2008 13:52 #211

  • Mike Ferrara
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Phil Armitage wrote:
Mike, I totally agree.

My last 10 years in my old job I was a trainer. Worked with young men and women who needed supervision. The education process and test were very involved, but you had a trainer to help.

Talking to a buddy of mine who has been shoeing for 20 years. I just hit my 10th year. He told me it takes 10 years to learn what you need to know and another 10 to figure out how to use it.

The AFA's goal is to get farriers certified with no focus on education. Young farriers are getting their certification and a have a false sense of security that they have also been properly educated. So even if you get your certification your probably still setup for failure. John's success is not from being a certified AFA farrier his success is from years and years of experience and education and good teachers along the way.

Well, preparing for a test and preparing to run a business can be very different things.

The 4 heat shoe that Smitty just mentioned isn't currently one of my business goals but it sure would be important if I wanted to pass the test.

Given my background my prep for the test would go something like this. Between the study of electronics, computer science and diving, I've taken hundreds of written tests in my adult life so I just wouldn't worry about the written. I'd ace it as I have all the rest of the written tests I've taken.

The shoe board is likewise almost a no-brainer although there are some of the modifications that I rarely if ever use. I'd do the whole thing with hand mades for a couple of reasons. First, it's easier to to add some features on a shoe that's designed for those features...like making sure that you punch a shoe so that you leave enough room where you want a clip or turning a shoe so the branch where you plan to add a trailor is longer. Second, to get that 4 heat shoe, I'd need to turn a lot of shoes.

I wouldn't even consider standing for the practical until I'd shod a bunch of horses, building shoes as I go and had it done in well under the two hour limit. That would involve budgeting for a lot of forge fuel, bar stock and giving some thought as to where and when I could even practice this. I often drive 200 miles to shoe a few horses often staying in hotels and eating in restaurants only to work in a place where I can't work near the truck and forge. Into that "practice budget" I'm going to consider extra time (money) on the road.

The number of horses and barns I have that even fit that practice scenario is pretty limited. I might go a week or two without even flat shoeing a horse with even weights and, lets face it, it would cost me a lot more to turn them than to buy them. That's not a business, it's a hobby.

None of it fits the way I really have to work on the job very well. None of it matches what I need to do in order to make more money in the business that I'm really running. In a nutshell, what I need is to make some more show horses win so I get more "big(er)-time" show barns where I can charge the real bucks. I don't see how turing out a 4 heat even weight shoe is going to do that, do you? You buy those for a little over $3/pair.

Do you think any of this is why so many people fail the test? Maybe they're out cold shoeing with keg shoes all week and then try to take a test hot shoeing with handmades?
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RE:AFA Certification 13 Apr 2008 14:02 #212

Mike Ferrara wrote:
Well, preparing for a test and preparing to run a business can be very different things.

The 4 heat shoe that Smitty just mentioned isn't currently one of my business goals but it sure would be important if I wanted to pass the test.

Given my background my prep for the test would go something like this. Between the study of electronics, computer science and diving, I've taken hundreds of written tests in my adult life so I just wouldn't worry about the written. I'd ace it as I have all the rest of the written tests I've taken.

The shoe board is likewise almost a no-brainer although there are some of the modifications that I rarely if ever use. I'd do the whole thing with hand mades for a couple of reasons. First, it's easier to to add some features on a shoe that's designed for those features...like making sure that you punch a shoe so that you leave enough room where you want a clip or turning a shoe so the branch where you plan to add a trailor is longer. Second, to get that 4 heat shoe, I'd need to turn a lot of shoes.

I wouldn't even consider standing for the practical until I'd shod a bunch of horses, building shoes as I go and had it done in well under the two hour limit. That would involve budgeting for a lot of forge fuel, bar stock and giving some thought as to where and when I could even practice this. I often drive 200 miles to shoe a few horses often staying in hotels and eating in restaurants only to work in a place where I can't work near the truck and forge. Into that "practice budget" I'm going to consider extra time (money) on the road.

The number of horses and barns I have that even fit that practice scenario is pretty limited. I might go a week or two without even flat shoeing a horse with even weights and, lets face it, it would cost me a lot more to turn them than to buy them. That's not a business, it's a hobby.

None of it fits the way I really have to work on the job very well. None of it matches what I need to do in order to make more money in the business that I'm really running. In a nutshell, what I need is to make some more show horses win so I get more "big(er)-time" show barns where I can charge the real bucks. I don't see how turing out a 4 heat even weight shoe is going to do that, do you? You buy those for a little over $3/pair.

Do you think any of this is why so many people fail the test? Maybe they're out cold shoeing with keg shoes all week and then try to take a test hot shoeing with handmades?

I hear you Mike, the young guys that I know who have passed the CJF test have done exactly what you and I do not have time to do. They practice for hours and hours, get together at someones shop, even shoe their everyday horses to the standard before they stand for the test. They also compete very heavy. This is what it takes to pass the CJF. What is unfortunate with all that focus on making shoes look pretty very little attention goes into a proper trim and yes the bad word balance.

I would like to see some of the guys that have had there CJF for years stand for the exam today and pass now that life and the real world is busier. I don't think Rick, John or Tom Stoval could do it or would want to do it.
Phil Armitage, CF
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"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 13 Apr 2008 14:17 #213

  • Rick Burten
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Phil Armitage wrote:
I would like to see some of the guys that have had there CJF for years stand for the exam today and pass now that life and the real world is busier. I don't think Rick, John or Tom Stoval could do it or would want to do it.
I think you are wrong about not being able to do it and correct about not wanting to do it again. :)

Rick
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RE:AFA Certification 13 Apr 2008 14:20 #214

  • Mike Ferrara
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Rick Burten wrote:
Now, surely you can agree that forging toe clips and quarter clips on keg shoes is something that is routinely done by many farriers on a day to day, or at least weekly basis. And, the ability, as described above, to forge a shoe from bar stock is something that any/every farrier should possess.

Of course I agree.

So, rather than discussing the CJF exam, and using its requirements as a rationale for not standing for AFA certification, lets discuss the CTF exam.

I guess the CTF is news to me but my discussion of testing isn't meant to provide my own rational for not standing for the test. When I went to school for a degree, I had to take all the tests whether I thought they made sense or not. The difference is that I wanted (needed) the degree. You play the game (that someone else designed) to get the sheep skin so you can get a job where you play different games (also designed by someone else ) to keep the pay checks coming...then the company(ies) move out of the country, the pay checks stop and you go back to shoeing horses.
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RE:AFA Certification 13 Apr 2008 14:42 #215

Phil,
I passed the CJF test in May of '01. I'll take any aspect, or all three any day, and if I do not pass, I'll relenquish my credentials until the day I succesfully pass the failed section. Money? I can buy 5/16x3/4 for $.90 a foot and turn one a pair that are slick enough and can be nailed in 8 minutes (plain stamped). in ten minutes I can have a pair of clipped shoes that bareley need ground with all the features I want that lay on a foot. ten minutes, I might have maybe a 1.50 into the shoe and I'll apply it for $20 a pair. Every WP horse I do has a plain stamp of some sort on behind. I control nail placement, lenght and every detail. They reset for ever even on horses that work. A fullered shoe is a toe bump and three heats then clipped takes me about 15 minutes, so I only do enough of those to stay relativley profficient, but not daily. Any horse who needs traction I'll wrap concave. Its even easier than flat steel (it costs three bucks a foot, but I still profit 16.50 for ten minutes work... but they fit from the gitgo) I have studied this, and it takes me no longer to shoe a horse with a plain stamp or concave than it does to turn an SSP into a horseshoe, clip it, fit it and nail it. The only bar shoes I carry are heartbar blanks( I still struggle with building them, so thay work for me). Building shoes keeps my over head down.
The written exams are a test of basic knowledge... and I do not think anyone should be permitted to shoe a horse unsupervised untill they can pass atleast the CF written test. They are pretty basic. The AFA cert program is a basic skills gauntlet that equips the canidate with the tools to shoe a horse...and advancing skills and knowlege once the basic skills have been acheived is much easier.
heres one yesterday I bumped and turned because I had not built a fullered shoe in a few weeks (I fullered the barshoe I built in GA way course so needed to redial) Off the hammer, no filing no shape heat. my skills are basic, and any horse shoer with a few years experience should be able to do it.
Suck it up, drive on and take the test... then complain and change it... or just go take the guild test after you pass the CJF. but do it... you'll noy regrett it.
Jason
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RE:AFA Certification 13 Apr 2008 14:54 #216

  • Mike Ferrara
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Phil Armitage wrote:
I hear you Mike, the young guys that I know who have passed the CJF test have done exactly what you and I do not have time to do. They practice for hours and hours, get together at someones shop, even shoe their everyday horses to the standard before they stand for the test. They also compete very heavy. This is what it takes to pass the CJF. What is unfortunate with all that focus on making shoes look pretty very little attention goes into a proper trim and yes the bad word balance.

Don't anyone misunderstand me. I really like blacksmithing and I truely admire a good hand in the forge. I may not be as good as some but I make some shoes, knives, tools and stuff for the house and I've never baught a pre-clipped shoe in my life. I carry a gas forge and some bar stock in the truck and have a coal forge and more bar stock in the shop. I've got a pile of coal out back and several tubs of charcoal (that I make myself) stacked in a corner of the shop. I have the resources and I could make the time.

Lets you and I be honest. Some of the guys on this site are real artists when it comes to building shoes. I don't know about you but I make no such claim for myself. If they are a better hand in the forge it's because they have worked harder or they are more talented. I don't think they can ignore the trim or balance because the horses they shoe for money still have to be able to work.

If the next guy wants to shoe for money part of the week and practice/compete the rest of the week...more power to him. I wish him/her well and have no desire to take anything they earned away from them.

As of right now, it just isn't for me. I don't want to impose my way on them and I'll not have them impose theirs on me.

I would like to see some of the guys that have had there CJF for years stand for the exam today and pass now that life and the real world is busier. I don't think Rick, John or Tom Stoval could do it or would want to do it.

A test is something that you only need to succeed at once and it counts. The fact that education and testing doesn't match real world work is the rule rather than the acception and it's the same all over.
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RE:AFA Certification 13 Apr 2008 15:02 #217

  • Mike Ferrara
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Jason, what kind of creaser are you using and what nail are those shoes punched for?
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RE:AFA Certification 13 Apr 2008 15:12 #218

A jim keith standard, i think. A vector e3. I use my concave stem punch for those nails plain or fullered... they just lock in.
Jason
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RE:AFA Certification 13 Apr 2008 15:23 #219

  • Mike Ferrara
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Jason Maki wrote:
Money? I can buy 5/16x3/4 for $.90 a foot and turn one a pair that are slick enough and can be nailed in 8 minutes (plain stamped). in ten minutes I can have a pair of clipped shoes that bareley need ground with all the features I want that lay on a foot. ten minutes, I might have maybe a 1.50 into the shoe and I'll apply it for $20 a pair.

I don't get your math. I get $150 (on average) to flat shoe a horse. I'm slow so give me two hours. That puts my time at $1.2/minute. An 8 minute shoe eats $10 of my time + the steel + fuel. Unfortunately, my flat shod horse clients are used to paying the same for new as reset.

I don't know where I could get bar stock for $ 0.9/foot (the local places don't carry anything smaller than an inch) and then there is shipping. The cost of propane has flat out gone through the roof (at least around here). My wife tells me that I'm paying $19 to get a 20 pounder filled.

Those 20 pounders are almost useless especially in the winter...you just don't get to use 20 pounds before it freezes up. I carry two and just hope that I have enough for fitting heavy stuff and doing whatever mods I have to do. I have a 40 but I can only get that filled on week days during business hours.
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RE:AFA Certification 13 Apr 2008 15:29 #220

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Mike
I'm slow so give me two hours.


I taught it was an hour and a half
Smitty88
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RE:AFA Certification 13 Apr 2008 15:34 #221

  • Mike Ferrara
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Jason Maki wrote:
The written exams are a test of basic knowledge... and I do not think anyone should be permitted to shoe a horse unsupervised untill they can pass atleast the CF written test.

LOL, I just caught this. Permit? Who, aside from the client, is it that's going to "permit" or not "permit" this conservative, free market, more than willing to fight for my freedom sort of guy to shoe a horse or not?
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RE:AFA Certification 13 Apr 2008 15:44 #222

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smitty88 wrote:
Mike
I'm slow so give me two hours.


I taught it was an hour and a half

I used 2 hours for the calculation to make the numbers conservative...ie, so as to under value my time giving the feasability of turning shoes the benefit of the doubt.

If you can shoe a horse in an hour...I think Jason has said he can shoe one a that fast (though I don't want to put words in his mouth), and you charge $150 that puts your time at $20 for an 8 minute shoe. That's $40/pair just in time without figuring steel or fuel.
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RE:AFA Certification 13 Apr 2008 15:51 #223

  • Tom Stovall CJF
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Phil Armitage in gray

I hear you Mike, the young guys that I know who have passed the CJF test have done exactly what you and I do not have time to do. They practice for hours and hours, get together at someones shop, even shoe their everyday horses to the standard before they stand for the test. They also compete very heavy. This is what it takes to pass the CJF.

Bzzzt! How many young guys do you know who've passed the CJF test? I know several and they were into handmades and practice before the test, but not necessarily competition. For some, competition sucks goobers.

What is unfortunate with all that focus on making shoes look pretty very little attention goes into a proper trim and yes the bad word balance.

Nonsense. The focus of the CJF practical is on entire job and "proper" is defined by the testing criteria, not the testee's opinion or his addiction to some guru's feral model.

I would like to see some of the guys that have had there CJF for years stand for the exam today and pass now that life and the real world is busier.

Since this has segued into likes and dislikes, I'd like to see you cease whining about how difficult the AFA CF test is and practice/study until you can pass it. It's just a basic test of knowledge and motor skills that requires study, practice, and talent - and, given your inability to pass the test, you appear to be lacking one or more of these commodities. I have no idea in which area you are deficient, but your interminable whining is unseemly, tiresome, and is beginning to absolutely reek of sour grapes.

I don't think Rick, John or Tom Stoval could do it or would want to do it.

I certainly wouldn't want to take the CJF test again, have no interest in doing so, or time to devote to the practice necessary to recover any motor skills I once had; however, if you take away the time constraints of the practicals, I'll bet you $1,000 I can still pass every portion of the CJF test. Y'see, I still have a fair grasp of basics. :)
Tom Stovall, CJF
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RE:AFA Certification 13 Apr 2008 15:56 #224

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Tom Stovall, CJF wrote:
however, if you take away the time constraints of the practicals, I'll bet you $1,000 I can still pass every portion of the CJF test. Y'see, I still have a fair grasp of basics. :)

If you take away the time constraints it isn't the AFA CJF test.
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RE:AFA Certification 13 Apr 2008 16:11 #225

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Phil Armitage wrote:
What is unfortunate with all that focus on making shoes look pretty very little attention goes into a proper trim and yes the bad word balance.
I would like to see some of the guys that have had there CJF for years stand for the exam today and pass now that life and the real world is busier. I don't think Rick, John or Tom Stoval could do it or would want to do it.

Phil,
Pretty shoes won't get you certified - good quality work will. Good work looks good; bad work looks bad! Would I want to pass the test again? I don't need to! I'm already peer reviewed. Are you?
John Blombach
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