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TOPIC: Is the AFA relevant to the THE HORSE OWNING PUBLIC?

Is the AFA relevant to the THE HORSE OWNING PUBLIC? 31 Jan 2009 13:39 #1

  • Martin Kenny
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OK let's play nice here too, and keep on track; or I will shut it down.

Also Please note, I am adding one more aspect to the questions I have asked.

If you say, NO. please expound with a short note why you feel that way, do the same if you say YES.

Then if you say NO, please ad what you feel would make the AFA become relevant!

READ THE QUESTION AND ANSWER IT DIRECTLY< OR DON"T BOTHER ANSWERING IT AT ALL>
If you feel shoeing horses is best served by how well you can work in the forge, you are missing the point!

It is how well you shoe a horse, so he performs at his best advantage, IN SPITE of his personal issues. Forge work is simply a tool that MAY be...
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the THE HORSE OWNING PUBLIC? 31 Jan 2009 14:06 #2

  • Mike Ferrara
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Hundreds of thousands of horse owners...maybe more? 2500 members in the AFA? How many of those members are non-farrier horse owners? Personally I've never met a non-farrier horse owner who was a member of the AFA.

Do the math. The AFA is not relevant.
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the THE HORSE OWNING PUBLIC? 31 Jan 2009 14:39 #3

  • tbloomer
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I've only ever had one horse owner hire me "because" I was AFA certified.

Then she fired me because my shoeing didn't "look like" the shoeing in the AFA certification standard published on the web site.

Specifically I did not "perimeter fit" her chronic foundered horse.
Tom Bloomer
http://blackburnforge.com
302-222-6404


Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the THE HORSE OWNING PUBLIC? 31 Jan 2009 14:42 #4

tbloomer wrote:
I've only ever had one horse owner hire me "because" I was AFA certified.

Then she fired me because my shoeing didn't "look like" the shoeing in the AFA certification standard published on the web site.

Specifically I did not "perimeter fit" her chronic foundered horse.

You Hack. :rolleyes:


The AFA could and should be relevant to the H.O.P. Currently it is not.
Brian R. Purrington
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.wellshodhorses.com
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the THE HORSE OWNING PUBLIC? 31 Jan 2009 14:55 #5

  • tbloomer
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Brian Purrington wrote:
You Hack. :rolleyes:


The AFA could and should be relevant to the H.O.P. Currently it is not.
FINALLY one of my peers has honored me by calling me a hack! Now I can put PCH after my name. :D
Tom Bloomer
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302-222-6404


Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the THE HORSE OWNING PUBLIC? 31 Jan 2009 15:01 #6

  • Rick Burten
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Martin,

IMNTBCHO and experience, the answer to your question is a resounding NO:(:o

edited, per Martin's request, to add,

I said "No" because demonstrably, the horse owning public doesn't care whether the farrier is a member of or certified by, the AFA. H*ell, demonstrably, its not relevant to most of the farriers(many of whom own horses) in the USA either.

If the HOP thought the AFA was relevant, they would be clamoring for their farriers to a) become members of the AFA and b) attain at least the CF level of AFA certification. It simply isn't happening.
Then if you say NO, please ad what you feel would make the AFA become relevant!

Martin, you and many others won't like my answer to that question, but IMNTBCHO, the answer is, government regulation/licensing /whatevah(including penalties) that standardizes the entry requirements, requires regular re-testing/re-certification, and puts the AFA in the position of having its program become the only way to achieve and maintain one's license.
Rick Burten PF

In the immortal words of Ron White: "But let me tell you something, folks: You can't fix S-tupid. There's not a pill you can take; there's not a class you can go to. S-tupid is forever."
."


Je pense donc je suis
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the THE HORSE OWNING PUBLIC? 31 Jan 2009 15:10 #7

  • Martin Kenny
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We are off to a good start, but PLEASE keep name calling (even in jest) out of this, it ALWAYS goes down hill when we start doing that... even in Jest.
Thanks guys!

Also Please note, I am adding one more aspect to the questions I have asked.

If you say, NO. please expound with a short note why you feel that way, do the same if you say YES.

Then if you say NO, please ad what you feel would make the AFA become relevant!
If you feel shoeing horses is best served by how well you can work in the forge, you are missing the point!

It is how well you shoe a horse, so he performs at his best advantage, IN SPITE of his personal issues. Forge work is simply a tool that MAY be...
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the THE HORSE OWNING PUBLIC? 31 Jan 2009 15:29 #8

  • Mike Ferrara
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There just isn't much in the way of added value in what the AFA offers.

The show the horse owner what a shod foot "should" look like but the owner will be ok with a nail line that's not perfectly straight if the horse steams down the rail like a champion.

The AFA suggests the farrier to go to school or find someone to teach them, to practice on their own and then come to them for approval. It's like closing the barn door after all the stock has left.

IMO, if the AFA wants to be relevant, they're going to have to actually do something.
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the THE HORSE OWNING PUBLIC? 31 Jan 2009 15:34 #9

  • tbloomer
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No.

I'm sure there is some kind of carpentry association that the public doesn't care about either. I'm sure that having a test of basic carpentry skills would offer carpenters the ability to build something according to a predefined standard. Any one who went throught the process and passed the carpentry test would undoubtedly be a better carpenter for doing so. But would the public really give a hoot?

To the general public we are viewed no differently than carpenters. A few people know the difference between a framing carpenter, a cabinet maker, a shipwright, and a luthier. Most don't unless they have a specific need to know or care.
Tom Bloomer
http://blackburnforge.com
302-222-6404


Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the THE HORSE OWNING PUBLIC? 31 Jan 2009 15:54 #10

  • vthorseshoe
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I have a question Tom.

Granted most don't care as long as their animals perform in what ever capascity they are supposed to.

But What I have seen is the public does give a hoot, WHEN they have been subjected to a shoddy or dooped into allowing a "HACK" work on their animal.
Then they feel ****** and are looking for the one with the credentials.

And this applies to the gypsy's traveling around doing home repairs and then disapearing or bad roof jobs on homes and barns that fail/leak or collapse.

A good sales pitch may almost always get you in the door, BUT quality is what will keep you there.
Folks equate quality with credentials.
You might say references, but once again that will get you in the door but you work and experience is what will keep you there.
experience comes from schooling or clinics and or taking tests and most all of this is acknlowledged by a certificate.

do you agree ?

my 2 cents worth ;)
"you may not like what I say" !
-but-
"you'll never have any doubts where I stand
quote Cindy Matthews 1948-2006


I thought my life had come to a close with Cindy's passing, but there is life after death Thankyou Sharon !

Bruce Matthews
Southeast...
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the THE HORSE OWNING PUBLIC? 31 Jan 2009 15:58 #11

  • Mike Ferrara
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tbloomer wrote:
To the general public we are viewed no differently than carpenters. A few people know the difference between a framing carpenter, a cabinet maker, a shipwright, and a luthier. Most don't unless they have a specific need to know or care.

Some of the general public isn't so general. I get calls from some folks who get my name from who knows where and just want to know what I charge and how fast I can get there. There's no money in that business though so I mostly ignore them.

Most of my actual work is for clients that have definate expectations and use me because they have reason to believe that I can meet those expectations...be it personal experience with my work, a recommendation from someone they trust or because of who I was trained by ect.

They know there are certified farriers out there but the certification doesn't tell them what they want to know about a farriers specific abilities.

To give credit where it's really due a large percentage of my work originally came to me directly because of who trained me...and he's a tough act to follow. If I thought the AFA or their certification could help me as much, I'd be camped on their door step.
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the THE HORSE OWNING PUBLIC? 31 Jan 2009 17:35 #12

  • Mark_Gough
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tbloomer wrote:
FINALLY one of my peers has honored me by calling me a hack! Now I can put PCH after my name. :D

Congratulations Tom, but Mike is gonna tell you it isn't relevant! :rolleyes:

Martin, the logical answer is no. The reason is a general lack of awareness.

Credentials become relevant to the consumer when they can associate said credentials with some assurrance of value. That assurred value creates a consumer perception of responsibility for delivered product or service quality.

I'm a graduate of New Mexico State University. Most of the 300 million people living in this country would not be personally familiar with that school, the curriculum I completed or even the true value the 'credentials' suggest I can deliver. Many buying consumers (in this case, a prospective employer) will, however, presume general talents associated with the degree.

They may not know the school, the coursework or even how well I performed, but they will recognize the various degree titles.

What will make the AFA, or any other farriery association, relevant to the horse owning public?

That answer is easy. Familiararity with the implied and generally accepted meaning of the credentials.

How can that happen?

The accrediting institutions must communicate/market that credential to the buying public, both student and consumer.

The accredited members must generally deliver the quality and value associated with those credentials.

The accredited members must also provide some of that same credential marketing at their own level.

The consumer must generally accept that there is an assurrance of quality and value associated with the credentials as compared to service providers who may lack those credentials.

It is fair and reasonable to state that accredidation awareness is not an issue unique to the AFA. The same lack of consumer awareness is just as relevant in any discussion pertaining to the Guild, the BWFA or any other farriery institution.

Perhaps one of the better know examples of marketing credentials for a trade is the automotive ASE certification.

I doubt if most consumers really know the difference between an ASE and a 'backyard' mechanic, but the service shops invest a lot of effort in marketing their employees that hold the ASE certification and many consumers are likely to recognize the logo in any service shop they visit.

The problem that farriery associations have in accomplishing that same level of marketing/communication is, quite simply, size of economics.

Most farriery associations simply do not have or will not invest the money that is required to advertise and market on a scale that would make their credentials a 'household name' among horse owners.

If farriery associations want to attempt such marketing, they need only look to the likes of Parelli, Anderson or Lyons to learn how it is done.

You want the AFA to be relevant to horse owners? Strongly advertise in magazines that horse owners read. Horse owners don't read farriery magazines.

You want the AFA to be relevant to horse owners? Provide low cost farriery clinics to horse owners rather than focusing strictly on farriers. The "horsemans day" at the AFA convention is a good example, but you would have to provide a lot more than 1 such clinic per year to be successful.

You want the AFA to be relevant to horse owners? Invest the bulk of revenue into a combination of marketing and building a bridge between certification and educational venues available to aspiring farriers. The AFA isn't large enough to become a hands-on educational organization, but they could leverage existing institutions to create the certification bridge. My limited understanding of the history is that this has been attempted in the past and is an ongoing effort. The new student membership is a good first step.

How many farriers last year sponsored one or more clinics to benefit and attract horse owners?

Ask Bruce Matthews how the horse owners responded to his clinic at my facility last year. Many of these owners had no idea what the AFA was or, for that matter, what farriery is all about beyond nailing steel on their horses feet. The comments, questions and turnout were an eye-opener for most involved. The discussion provided by Danvers Child is something that I still hear comments about from clients in this area.

Okay... I'll go out on a limb here and suffer the inevitable consequence of suggesting such things.


The AFA will ultimately have to make several, dramatic changes to accomplish many of their goals. Examples would include:

1. Remove the CJF requirement for high office so they that can successfully recruit a full time leadership team with the experience and skillset needed to meet their mission and tenants.

2. Remove or significantly increase the current term limits for high office. Frankly, the changes needed within the AFA will take several years to accomplish. A leadership team will require longterm continuity to assure success.

3. Recruit highly qualified leaders who have vast professional experience in a combination of business marketing/finance and education. Election of EC members will likely never deliver the qualities required. Experience has demonstrated that such positions are best filled by a professional recruitment process employed by a board of directors.

4. Realign and staff the organizational structure such that it completely mirrors the mission and five tenets.

5. Vastly increase the scope and depth of businsess communication between the EC/BoD and the organizational committees and committee members.

6. Create frequent and consistent communication flow to the general membership, the broader non-member farriery community and the horse owning public.

7. The AFA offers a tangibe benefit set that is what most businessman refer to as 'boilerplate collection' of retailer discounts, insurance and publications. While it is important to offer this benefit package, it does little to differentiate the association from anyone else. AFA Certification is the 'final' product. Marketing those credentials, tied to well established and accepted educational resources is key to success. At the moment, there exists a 'gap' between those resources, certification and consumer awareness.

8. Replace the current emphasis on farriery competition with a complete focus on marketing, education and certification.

9. The AFA must effect massive increases in membership to accomplish the larger goals. Membership means revenue. Without that revenue, it is unlikely that the AFA can deliver its tenet promise.

There are those who will argue that such dramatic change is utterly incompatible with current leadership values and interest. Recent, strong evidence suggests otherwise and represents good reason for hope going forward.

Best Regards,
Mark
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the THE HORSE OWNING PUBLIC? 31 Jan 2009 19:23 #13

  • tbloomer
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Mark_Gough wrote:
How many farriers last year sponsored one or more clinics to benefit and attract horse owners?
The Delmarva Farriers Association has sponsored one or two horse owner events every year since we formed. We have also aided farriers who were unable to work by shoeing their horses and sending them the money. Our disibility program has enabled several farriers to keep their clients and income they would otherwise have lost during their time recovering from surgery, broken bones, etc.

Horse owners have taken notice when their regular farrier is unable to service them and they get a call from our organization offering to provide farrier service as long as they agree to stick with their regular farrier when they return to work. We have provided this service for two farriers who were NOT members of our organization. They work in our sand pile. If they get hurt and we know about it, we step in to help. Thus we serve the horse community and the farriers in our area.

We haven't spent a penny on advertising. Community action and participation will get you noticed quicker than a billboard.
Tom Bloomer
http://blackburnforge.com
302-222-6404


Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the THE HORSE OWNING PUBLIC? 31 Jan 2009 19:46 #14

  • Martin Kenny
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MARK, Congratulations In my opinion, you have hit the nail squarely on the head. WELL DONE!
If you feel shoeing horses is best served by how well you can work in the forge, you are missing the point!

It is how well you shoe a horse, so he performs at his best advantage, IN SPITE of his personal issues. Forge work is simply a tool that MAY be...
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RE:Is the AFA relevant to the THE HORSE OWNING PUBLIC? 31 Jan 2009 20:27 #15

  • Jack Evers
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As usual Mark, very well said and very well thought out. I'd say I agree 100%, but that's like saying always or never, so I'll just say I couldn't agree more. I'd like to offer a small anecdote to what I consider the main point.
What will make the AFA, or any other farriery association, relevant to the horse owning public?

That answer is easy. Familiararity with the implied and generally accepted meaning of the credentials.


On the back side of my shoeing resume is an engineering one. There of course are legal ramifications to being a registered "Professional Engineer" or P.E.. Briefly, anyone who does engineering work must be a P.E. or be supervised by one. In some areas this is a very loose interpretation. For example the teaching of engineering is considered to be engineering work, but as long as the Dean of the engineering college is a P.E. that meets the requirement. Even though in a large college, there are apt to be faculty whose work he never sees, a faculty member does not need to be registered. The same holds for a large manufacturing operation. If the product is not considered to directly impact public safety, a P.E. some where up the line is considered sufficient.

As the focus shifts to something like our public transportation system such as roads and bridges, the emphasis changes to a direct on site supervisory capacity. And of course there are some gray areas, and certification is different from registration although not always in the public eye.

The case I'm about to describe involves public perception, rather than legal requirement, but I thought I should give some background.

I have done a number of "expert witness" gigs, usually with other experts on the other side with all of us being P.E.'s. In this case however, I was the plaintiff's expert involving injuries from a very large (1300 horsepower, 5000 psi) oilfield pump. One of the defense witnesses was other side's chief design engineer. I was watching the jury when it was brought out that this man was not professionally registered, and in my opinion, the case was ours at that point. No amount of explaining that he wasn't legally required to be a P.E. ever convinced the jury that he hadn't been promoted to his level of incompetence. They awarded about six times the amount our side was asking, but being in a conservative western state, the judge declared the jury to be inflamed and remanded the award back to only a little more than asked. The plaintiff's attorney said to me later "****ed me off, but it was fair and we took it". Glad there are still some judges like that.

This is what public perception accomplishes and I like you think it is time that we turned to making our case with the public, rather than preaching to the choir.
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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