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TOPIC: Testing for other organizations

RE:Testing for other organizations 03 Apr 2007 13:15 #61

  • George Geist
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Mike,
Interesting assessment.
Not meaning to step between you and Tom here you guys both appear to be on a good roll. Perhaps you might equate Guild, Union, or AFA credentials to graduate school then?

Aside from that,
This term I keep hearing over and over again "rugged individualists". Just who in the world hung that label on us? For some guys yes, of course. However I see lots of copycats out there. Horseshoers will copy others right down to the design of each other's business cards. I believe that to be a myth.
George
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RE:Testing for other organizations 03 Apr 2007 14:04 #62

  • tbloomer
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Mike Ferrara]I hadn't taken merley a single test but many many tests, practicals exams, projects and papers over a period of years.[/QUOTE]Traditionally that would be 4 years of college. That is why the Guild reguires 4 years of full time field experience. It is a field credential designed to reflect a standard minimum level of experience. Evidently you thought the 4-year degree was a requirement to get yourself into a profession at the "entry level."

You want to make farriery a profession more like engineering with a single test?
Nope. The test is only there to "verify" a set of basic skills and knowledge. It is much less inportant than the filed experience.
That's total nonsense...in my opinion.
No more nonsense than attending college for 4 years and then taking some form of certification exam. Some professions require a field intership along with a college degree before taking the one exam that determines whether or not that individual is allowed to practice as an independent professional. The bar exam, the Professional Engineering exam, medical boards, etc.

Should we review some definitions? A farrier is one who shoes horses. I am a farrier because I do shoe horses.

Some definitions for professional >adjective 1 relating to or belonging to a profession. 2 engaged in an activity as a paid occupation rather than as an amateur. 3 worthy of or appropriate to a professional person wrote:
Are you going to tell me that taking one test...shoeing one horse, doing a little forgework and one written test somehow makes one "fully qualified". Taking a single test makes one a fully qualified professional farrier? Taking one test can make you a Chicago cab driver. You sure are elevating the farrier trade.
The qualification is 4-years of full time field experience. The test is a formality to verify that the experience is backed up by a basic level of knowledge and a basic set of skills.
I'd think this was some kind of joke if I didn't know better. The reason this isn't working for you guys is that it can't work. It's backwards. I didn't go to a university for a degree just because I didn't have anything else to do or because I felt that I would be happier with 50K of debt. I did it because it was what was required in order to get the job that I decided I wanted.
Just like when I decided I wanted to become a career farrier, I had to go get 4-years of full time field experience before I was elligible to join the Guild.
I didn't go there just for a title (though that's what so much education is being reduced to), I went for the knowledge.
I think the most important aspect of farriery is that which you learn from the horses themselves. You can study theory and practice in the fire, but it is the application and seeing the results of that application over many seasons and phases of life in the horse that we find out what works and what does not work.
They offered more than just a test.
You are talking about an educational institution offering a broad range of subjects. There are a lot of farrier associations offering educational opportunities on a broad range of farriery subjects. Why should the Guild change from being a professional farriers' association to a farriery association? Wouldn't that sort of be like the bar association turning into a law school?
You have the tail trying to wag the dog.
No, you have a problem with defining minimum standards for membership.
The guys looking for the work are the ones trying to set the requirements.
I don't follow the logic in this statement.
You want someone to go out and gain the knowledge and the business on their own (4 years experience) and come to you (the Guild) for the title. Once someone has the knowledge and the job (the clients) they're pretty much set and don't need the Guild.
We are a professional association of established professionals. The rest of the associations exist to support and educate those who are not yet established. Why should we change our purpose to fill a need that is already served very well by so many other organizations?
We "rugged individualists" who have managed to get ourselves started doing this, don't need the guilds permission, approval, title or any other such nonsense.
You are speaking for yourself and basing it on your own reference to yourself. Are you going to answer my question about what point you decided that you were qualified? Is having a full book of horses to shoe is a qualification? If so, then the qualification is relative to your market demand/price point.

The othe question you haven't answered has to do with you contributing back to the profession. What are you doing to elevate the pofession? Every farrier as an individual has an impact on the perceptions of their customers. Therefore you as an individual have an impact on the market perception of horse owners, trainers, and veterinarians toward every other farrier they encounter. You have name recognition. Why not name brand recognition? AND, if the brand name is to be recognized as a minimum standard of capability, how do you promote that minimum standard of 4-years full time field experience by allowing entry to folks with less than that minimum? How do you quantify that experience is valid without some metric of capability? Are you willing to accept everyone who says they are a farrier on their sayso. You should, if your only requirement is I am what I say I am. Which brings me back to the self referential circle. How often do you help new farriers with their education and skill development? Why should new farriers seek you out? Do you have anything to offer? Why should a rookie look you up instead of a farrier with certification? Because you say you know what you're doing? When I started out, I went looking for mentors that were established, held credentials, and were at the top of the profession. I didn't know the difference between 30 years of experience and one year of experience 30 times. The certifications and the credentials helped me sort that out pretty quickly. That is why I chose to pursue certification for myself. Because I didn't think I should BS myself into thinking I knew what I was doing. I also knew better than to let the market decide that, because the entry level market wants fast and cheap. The high end market wants competence, but that market itself is not qualified to determine competence. I am not qualified to determine my own competance. That is why I sought peer review by examination. Thus I have something meaningfull to go on. I had my knowledge and skills reviewed by the masters, and they said I was OK, just good enough, made the grade, got a passing score. So I don't have to BS myself or anybodyelse about where I stand. I've got an outside reference from an established standard. You might say I've had the farriery elite cave divers check me out. :) Isn't there a minimum number of dives required before you do the "certification checkout dive?"
Tom Bloomer
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Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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RE:Testing for other organizations 03 Apr 2007 14:20 #63

  • Mike Ferrara
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George Geist wrote:
Mike,
Interesting assessment.
Not meaning to step between you and Tom here you guys both appear to be on a good roll. Perhaps you might equate Guild, Union, or AFA credentials to graduate school then?

Aside from that,
This term I keep hearing over and over again "rugged individualists". Just who in the world hung that label on us? For some guys yes, of course. However I see lots of copycats out there. Horseshoers will copy others right down to the design of each other's business cards. I believe that to be a myth.
George

I think Tom used the term "rugged individualists" in this conversation first. I liked it and used it too. LOL

Personally I wouldn't equate the Guild or AFA certications with graduate school because there is no undergrad school. Heck, there's no school. If there was a school or formal apprenticeship program with specific criteria for both master and apprentice to meet and the test is part of the exit requirements, I think we might have something. Note that you can't study on your own and go take a test at MIT and get a degree from them. You can't go to the electricians union and become a journeyman electician by taking a test.

My personal take on it is that, lacking any real formal education system, the Guild or AFA test is a fine way for a new guy who has to teach himself to get started and know that he is doing something right. I guess I should leave the Guild out of that because you can't take their test until you've successfully made a living shoeing horses for four years. By then, who needs them?

Maybe someday, it will be decided by those who are realy in a position to decide that some formal training should be required. I think we could make a pretty good arguement to the contrary but who knows what will happen? If some formal training/qualification were required, surely it would be more than a single test (licensing may be a different matter). I'm not a professional educational system designer but I'm not aware of very many places in education where a single test or even tests alone have so much weight. In almost all cases there are many other requirements that have to be met. There are lots of reasons for that but one is that a test (any test) can only tell so much about ones knowledge and ability. To my knowledge, the perfect test or testing process hasn't been designed. If the overall process covers the important bases, the test doesn't need to get them all...it's just one of the requirements. In this case, we don't have a process, we just have some tests. Maybe we have a few farriers trying to bo back and reinvent the weel and they're still trying to get the square one to work.

Further, I know what qualifies MIT to issue technical degrees. I know what the value of one of those degrees is. Simply put, if you get the right degree from MIT, you can just go home and answer the phone and have your pick of high paying positions. The credentials they grant are in demand by some of the best employers and are therefor saught by those who wish to work for them. I haven't seen that Guild or AFA certifications are in demand with employers. ok, some of us have not demonstrated our ability to the AFA or the Guild. But, niether the AFA or the Guild have demonstrated that they are qualified to determin who is or is not qualified. They have an opinion but most of the horse world just doesn't seem to care. Aside from it's value in the occasional interesting discussion or debate, I really don't care either. There just isn't any reason to.
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RE:Testing for other organizations 03 Apr 2007 15:06 #64

  • Mike Ferrara
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tbloomer]Traditionally that would be 4 years of college. That is why the Guild reguires 4 years of full time field experience. It is a field credential designed to reflect a standard minimum level of experience. Evidently you thought the 4-year degree was a requirement to get yourself into a profession at the "entry level."[/QUOTE]

But, the requirement for the degree wasn't just 4 years time. In fact, one can get through it in less time or take much more time. The requirement is specific courses of study, work and testing. Time alone just isn't very telling. You can use a lot of time to do nothing or a little time to do a lot.

Nope. The test is only there to "verify" a set of basic skills and knowledge. It is much less inportant than the filed experience.

No more nonsense than attending college for 4 years and then taking some form of certification exam. Some professions require a field intership along with a college degree before taking the one exam that determines whether or not that individual is allowed to practice as an independent professional. The bar exam, the Professional Engineering exam, medical boards, etc.

Again we seem to be leaving everything except the test here.

Should we review some definitions? A farrier is one who shoes horses. I am a farrier because I do shoe horses.

Some definitions for professional >adjective 1 relating to or belonging to a profession. 2 engaged in an activity as a paid occupation rather than as an amateur. 3 worthy of or appropriate to a professional person wrote:

Got it...4 years of field experience doing whatever one might do in a field. There are fields and then there are fields, which is why a "4 year degree" is based on a specific set of course requirements. The experience needs to be defined and measured.

Just like when I decided I wanted to become a career farrier, I had to go get 4-years of full time field experience before I was elligible to join the Guild.

I think the most important aspect of farriery is that which you learn from the horses themselves. You can study theory and practice in the fire, but it is the application and seeing the results of that application over many seasons and phases of life in the horse that we find out what works and what does not work.

True of any job. Doing it in the classroom or even on a test is one things. Doing the real deal where the rubber meets the road is a different matter. I've done some of that by the way.

You are talking about an educational institution offering a broad range of subjects. There are a lot of farrier associations offering educational opportunities on a broad range of farriery subjects. Why should the Guild change from being a professional farriers' association to a farriery association? Wouldn't that sort of be like the bar association turning into a law school?

I think the Guild should do whatever the Guild thinks best.


You are speaking for yourself and basing it on your own reference to yourself. Are you going to answer my question about what point you decided that you were qualified? Is having a full book of horses to shoe is a qualification? If so, then the qualification is relative to your market demand/price point.

I don't know that there was such a "point". In the begining, I watched and listened...then I trimmed some livery horses and did some finish work...then I shod some of those livery horses...then I shod others and others and others. I've ac***ulated quit a bit of experience in some aspects of farriery and virtually none in others.

The othe question you haven't answered has to do with you contributing back to the profession.

Give what back? Is there some unpaid debt here that I'm not aware of? This is a job, not a religion or some kind of crusade. The individual who taught me and helped me get started can call me anytime he needs something though.
What are you doing to elevate the pofession?

Does it need elevating? I don't think it does.

Every farrier as an individual has an impact on the perceptions of their customers. Therefore you as an individual have an impact on the market perception of horse owners, trainers, and veterinarians toward every other farrier they encounter.

Well, I suppose I also impact the perception that people have of short italians from Chicago west side too but I don't officially represent any such group.

You have name recognition. Why not name brand recognition?

I have name recognition because I have a name. I don't represent any brand. I don't represent any company, organization or any individual other than myself.

AND, if the brand name is to be recognized as a minimum standard of capability, how do you promote that minimum standard of 4-years full time field experience by allowing entry to folks with less than that minimum?

Who needs this brand name stuff?
How do you quantify that experience is valid without some metric of capability? Are you willing to accept everyone who says they are a farrier on their sayso.
Nobody who wants to call themself a farrier needs to prove anything to me. He can worry about his clients and horses and I'll worry about mine.

Which brings me back to the self referential circle. How often do you help new farriers with their education and skill development? Why should new farriers seek you out? Do you have anything to offer? Why should a rookie look you up instead of a farrier with certification? Because you say you know what you're doing?

I haven't asked any new farriers to seek me out. I might be able to help a new farrier out in some ways should the situation present itself but that isn't what I do for a living.


When I started out, I went looking for mentors that were established, held credentials, and were at the top of the profession. I didn't know the difference between 30 years of experience and one year of experience 30 times. The certifications and the credentials helped me sort that out pretty quickly. That is why I chose to pursue certification for myself. Because I didn't think I should BS myself into thinking I knew what I was doing. I also knew better than to let the market decide that, because the entry level market wants fast and cheap. The high end market wants competence, but that market itself is not qualified to determine competence. I am not qualified to determine my own competance. That is why I sought peer review by examination. Thus I have something meaningfull to go on. I had my knowledge and skills reviewed by the masters, and they said I was OK, just good enough, made the grade, got a passing score. So I don't have to BS myself or anybodyelse about where I stand. I've got an outside reference from an established standard.

Well, when I started out the AFA certification was pretty new and I didn't know it existed. I don't think the Guild existed. After I did know the AFA cert existed I didn't know many who had it.

I guess the standard I met in the begining was the standard of the one who taught me. I don't think I have any trouble considering him a master. He's still around and still very successful. He and others who's opinion I repect still see my work on a regular basis. I didn't teach myself in the garage and all of a sudden decide that I knew how. There are probably some who do have to get started that way but I didn't.

Isn't there a minimum number of dives required before you do the "certification checkout dive?"

In most courses, no. In most entry level courses, specific objectives need to be met in course work, confined water and then in open water. Typically 4 OW dives are required but there is no designated "checkout dive".
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RE:Testing for other organizations 03 Apr 2007 16:48 #65

  • Mike Ferrara
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Tom made reference to how he got started and the role the certification programs played. I think that's interesting and I think it's valid testemony to the potential value of those programs.

Looking at the options available to someone wanting to learn farriery today, I find it interesting and maybe concerning.

I didn't ever sit down and decide that I wanted to be a farrier. I had done a little riding but to tell you the truth, I never gave much though to where the shoes came from. LOL

I was a young guy and not doing very much. One day I went to a local stable where I had done some riding when I was even younger and the guy running the place recognized me. We got talking and he offered me a jop mucking stalls in the mornings. I took it.

Some days I would hang around in the afternoon and do other work and some days I'd hang out and watch him shoe or work in the shop. after some period of time, he offered to teach me. It seemed interesting and at the time, I thought $30/horse was going to make me wealthy.

This was a long time ago but as I recall he gave me a book on farriery, showed me some other books and made reference to the need to learn some anatomy. I didn't follow around for months or years sweeping floors. As I remember I pretty much started trimming and shoeing from day one. There was a fully equiped shop in the back and I had a barn full of livery horses to practice on. Looking back, I didn't do nearly as good a job of taking advantage of those oportinities as I could have but I was young.

I did all manor of general stable work for money (from mucking stalls and helping with training horses) and worked at learning farriery on my own time or when he was shoeing. At that time, I didn't get paid for the shoeing I did or helped with. Not complaining just pointing that out.

In time, I started shoeing horses for some of the borders and later started taking clients outside that stable.

I ended up with a pretty good business and shod horses full time for several years. He is a saddlebred guy so that's what I was around while learning. I shod some of those, backyards, borded pleasure horses, lots of polo ponies and carriage horses downtown. Once I had a family I got thinking it was a good idea to go back to school and learn to do something that didn't depend on my back. Even then, I knew guys my age and younger who couldn't hardly walk. I kept shoeing full time until I finished school and accepted a full time position. I kept shoeing part time until some family events made two jobs impossible to maneage. Fast forward and I'm back to shoeing full time.

Well, that's how I started. I think the AFA came out with their certification program is 79 or so? I started in the very early 80's. We didn't have any internet and the world seemed a lot smaller. By the time I was very aware that they even existed I was pretty busy and really didn't care. I was still fairly young and in my off-time, I had other things on my mind.

I remember other things about starting out. I remember some of the older guys who would threaten to kick your butt for shoeing in their barn. None ever actually tried it but they did pull some other stunts. I do remember trying to stagger my schedule at some places to avoid running into them.
I remember the owners of some of the boarding barns doing what they could to keep any farrier other than their own out regardless of what the horse owner wanted. I remember getting free lectures at the supply house about shoeing in certain areas where I wasn't wanted. It all seemed pretty territorial. Outside of my "home stable" I don't remember the farrier world as being very friendly or welcoming to a new guy. I never did figure out how they thought a new guy should get started but I was trying to support a family by then and I couldn't afford to worry too much about what other farriers liked or didn't like.

I don't get the impression that things have really changed all that much. We have the internet now. It's a useful tool but BS travels faster and in greater quantities than ever before. There is exactly one farrier who has ever helped me. He's helped a few others get started and it usually gets him a kick in the fanny. To this day, some of my accounts are accounts I got through him. I try to reflect well on him and return some of the many favors whenever I can. It isn't easy because I am not the farrier he is and I don't think I ever will be. I try to do a good job in a professional way and I sometimes worry more about making him look bad then I do about starving or having to get another job.

Anyway, that's how I started. A little luck, a little work on my part and a lot of good will from one man. Niether the AFA, Guild or any other organizattion or club played any part. Am I qualified? Some days I think I am and some days I'd rather just hide but I don't think the answer is in any test other than the test of applying my shop, my tools and what skills/experience I do have to my clients horses.
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RE:Testing for other organizations 03 Apr 2007 17:20 #66

  • George Geist
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Mike Ferrara wrote:
I remember other things about starting out. I remember some of the older guys who would threaten to kick your butt for shoeing in their barn. None ever actually tried it but they did pull some other stunts. I do remember trying to stagger my schedule at some places to avoid running into them.
I remember the owners of some of the boarding barns doing what they could to keep any farrier other than their own out regardless of what the horse owner wanted. I remember getting free lectures at the supply house about shoeing in certain areas where I wasn't wanted. It all seemed pretty territorial. Outside of my "home stable" I don't remember the farrier world as being very friendly or welcoming to a new guy. I never did figure out how they thought a new guy should get started but I was trying to support a family by then and I couldn't afford to worry too much about what other farriers liked or didn't like.

Nice story Mike. I too can remember the way it used to be. Is it still like this in some places today?

We can all agree that respect is earned in this trade. I often wondered if attempts at intimidation eventually end when we either begin to do comparable work, or maybe just grow a few inches, put on a few pounds and get completely haired over.

Are any of the younger people out there experiencing stuff like this anymore?
George
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RE:Testing for other organizations 04 Apr 2007 05:33 #67

  • Bill Adams
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It's funny Mike, but my story is just the oppisite about other Farriers helping. I had a lot of help and encouragement, though I couldent do an apprenticeship as I should have, but that was my fault.
As a mater of fact many of us in this area offer help that isn't taken avantage of.
Most of us don't see each other as competiters, and watch out for each other.
Bill

A rightous man regardeth the life of his beast. Proverbs 12:10
I don't give a damn for a man who can only spell a word one way. Mark Twain
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RE:Testing for other organizations 04 Apr 2007 12:19 #68

  • Mike Ferrara
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Bill Adams wrote:
It's funny Mike, but my story is just the oppisite about other Farriers helping. I had a lot of help and encouragement, though I couldent do an apprenticeship as I should have, but that was my fault.
As a mater of fact many of us in this area offer help that isn't taken avantage of.
Most of us don't see each other as competiters, and watch out for each other.
Bill

I don't want to make it sound like every other farrier I ran into in those days was some kind of gangster because that isn't the case either. Back then, I spent some time working with a couple of other farriers beides the guy who got me started. I and the few farriers that I run into these days do cover eachother and they're good enough guys to have around.

Last year was my first year back shoeing full time. Again, thanks primarily to the same guy who got me started the first time, I walked right into a couple pretty good accounts and those are still the ones that really pay the bills.

I really don't know what a new farrier starting from scratch would run into. What are the options? Some of the schools seem kind of short, though I have no first hand experience with any of them. There doesn't seem to be many apprenticeship oportunities. ok, there are some tests you can take but how do you get ready for the test? The book work is easy enough and it isn't too hard to find a forge and anvil to practice forgework but the only way I know of to learn to shoe a horse is to shoe horses. I was lucky. I had 20 livery horses that I could shoe to my little hearts content. When I finished with those, I had 40 border horses that I could work on with some supervision and someone to help if I got stuck. I was able to shoe quit a few horses before going out in public without backup.

How do others find horses to learn on? It seems to me that if there's a real weak spot in farriery education that has to be a big part of it.
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RE:Testing for other organizations 04 Apr 2007 14:40 #69

  • tbloomer
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Mike Ferrara wrote:
I really don't know what a new farrier starting from scratch would run into.
If you believe what the web sites of some farrier schools say you can learn to shoe like a pro in x-number of "weeks." A 6-week course in a farrier school probably better than no training at all.
What are the options? Some of the schools seem kind of short, though I have no first hand experience with any of them.
In the private schools, course length varies from 3 days to 22 weeks. Course content varies. In some cases the course content changes depending on who the instructors are. There is no standardized curriculumn or acreditation. I have been toyed with the idea of the Guild offering a voluntary acreditation program for farrier schools. However, the problem is getting a group of farriers to agree on what the basics are and how they should be taught.
There doesn't seem to be many apprenticeship oportunities. ok, there are some tests you can take but how do you get ready for the test? The book work is easy enough and it isn't too hard to find a forge and anvil to practice forgework but the only way I know of to learn to shoe a horse is to shoe horses.
The AFA chapters ought to be the place to learn how to pass the AFA exams. However, it is up to the individual to make the effort to ask for help. This biggest issue with the AFA exams is understanding the exam criteria and the scoreing system. The biggest value of the AFA certifications is that it motivates a farrier to practice and refine their skills in order to meet the standard. The best way to get help with the AFA exams is to work with someone who has been through the process. 'Nuther words, networking with AFA certified farriers is the key.

The Guild exams are radically different. They are designed around the idea that a farrier who has the prequisite experience and education should NOT have to study or practice to pass the exam.

The Guild exams are NOT about demonstrating your ability to meet OUR criteria. They are just about demonstrating your ability. We want to see YOUR work to YOUR standard.

Well isn't that a very subjective way of evaluating a farrier's skill and knowledge? Yes it is.

To be a Guild examiner, you have to be able to view another farriers work with objectivity. This means that the examiner might disagree with how you decide to shoe the horse for the exam, but still pass you on the exam because your decisions were logical and the end result was that the horse walked off the mats better than it walked up.
I was lucky. . . . (deletia)
Yes you were.
How do others find horses to learn on? It seems to me that if there's a real weak spot in farriery education that has to be a big part of it.
The thing I like about the Kentucky Horseshoeing School program is that they will not allow a student to shoe a live horse until the students demonstrates safe trimming and shoeing on multiple cadavers. I do not know what the other schools do, but that single aspect of KHS is the primary reason I chose that school.

Some schools advertise that you will only work on live horses and that you will begin shoeing live horses the first day of class. 'Nuther words they will teach you to be fast and efficient at the process of getting shoes nailed on feet. Whether or not this serves the needs of the horse is something you have to decide for yourself. For sure, it will make it easy for a graduate to make money by setting their prices low and speed shoeing their way to the bank.

Where I see the biggest difference in my learning experience and Mike's is that I chose to immediately pursue AFA certification fresh out of school. I sought help from certified farriers, attended clinics where the clinicians were AFA or Guild certified or both. I made a point of tracking down these people and asking to rid along, work in the fire, and evaluate my progress. Then I got together with some local farriers and together we formed our own association. We did hammer ins and hands on stuff. We hired top clinicians and brought them to our little podunk area. I was involved in organizing and managing clinics before I finished my AFA certification. In exchange for the time and energy I put into bringing top educators to my local area, I got to be educated by the top educators without spending a lot of money on travel and lodging.

Now I am organizing Guild examinations and advanced farrier clinics. As a member of the Guild, I can now begin to "give back" to the profession by organizing and promoting advanced continuing education opportunities for professionals looking to expand into other specialties or areas of expertise. So I am now providing my local farrier community the opportunity for some one-on-one time with Jaye Perry, RJF, Matt Taimuty, RJF, and Rick Burten, RMF.

Imagine that, I've got some of the "best minds in the business" (all published, all peer revied, all highly sucessful, all tenured) gathered together for a party. Without the Guild, I could not do this. As a Guild member, I feel obligated to do it. Besides that, we're gonna have a blast! :D
Tom Bloomer
http://blackburnforge.com
302-222-6404


Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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RE:Testing for other organizations 04 Apr 2007 15:03 #70

  • tbloomer
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Mike Ferrara wrote:
I don't want to make it sound like every other farrier I ran into in those days was some kind of gangster because that isn't the case either.
When you "up in da joint," just turn you hat backwards, pull your pants down low, walk with an exaggerated limp, talk so that everything you say is "street poetry," refer to yourself in the third person . . . and shoe horses for a living.

Oh, yea, don't forget to turn your piece sideways when you return fire at the dudes in cowboy hats with the single action 44s . . . assuming they don't shoot the designer Glock our of your hand. :)
Tom Bloomer
http://blackburnforge.com
302-222-6404


Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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RE:Testing for other organizations 04 Apr 2007 22:33 #71

  • Gary_Miller
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Mike Ferrara wrote:
The Guild, AFA or any other organization can offer whatever cedential they wish. Until that credential proves to be a significant selection criteria, it does absolutely NOTHING to make one a "professional" or to distinguish between the professional and the nonprofessional.

Given the large number of successful non-certified farriers that we have, it isn't they who are unproven. It's these credentials being touted that are unproven. At this point, the burden of proof isn't on all the uncertified farriers making a living shoeing horses to prove they are professionals. The burden of proof is on those claiming that the credential they offer is of some value.
Mike you are so right with what you state here.

This is the reason many within the AFA and the Guild feel it important to market not only the AFA/Guild but also their certification process. I strongly believe that once the word gets out to the horse owning public of the importance and benifits of one useing a certified farrier. You will see owners seeking out those who are certified. When that happens certification will become as you put it "a significant selection criteria".
Gary Miller, PF

Ride hard, shoot straight, and always speak the truth.
Gunfighter Motto

"Our level of quality is how well our eye can see it." (Eric Russell, Oct 2008, Horseshoes.com)

"Discover what it is that makes you passionate then grab a firm...
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RE:Testing for other organizations 05 Apr 2007 03:21 #72

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I am a firm believer in "Papers don't make a horse". Just because a farrier has his papers doesn't mean he/she will always shoe horses that way. This is why I am 100% against manditory certification.

I am 100% for education and extending one's knowledge base. As a farrier we should learn as much as we can to better help our clients. If becoming a member of an extablishment (BWFA, AFA, GUILD,UNION) is YOUR way to better education then great - go for it. One thing is to obtain the knowledge - the other thing is how much do you know? What is your guage to evaluate your knowledge level. We have already established horseshoeing schools have different lengths, tests, knowledge levels. They are some what of a guage to test your level.

The BWFA, AFA, GUILD and the UNION each have their levels of knowledge. Inorder to join the BWFA, AFA you pay your dues and you are a member. You can work towards one of their knowledge levels. With mentoring, work and assistance from members who have obtained a knowledge level you may also get to that level.

Only the GUILD (as I am not sure about the UNION - George?) has an EXPERIENCE level which must be obtained in order to join. Once an AFA member, I believe there is an experience level before obtaining CJF, but you can still be an AFA member without experience.

I like many of you am against mandatory certification, but it has been thrust upon me, so I am in the process. I will complete the program, I will become certified, but will that make me a better farrier? No. What makes me a better farrier is my own attitude and pride in my work. But at least one thing. I will have a way to guage my knowledge as it has been thrust upon me to do so. My experience guage is how many repeat customers I have, how many times the vets here ask for my help, how the horses I work on work after I am done.

As I have always said - formal education is only a foundation upon which a house is built. Experience is the completion of that house. If being a member of one of the established groups helps you build a great house then that's your road. If you can build a great house on your own - go for it.

Mikel
Mikel Dawson, RJF

(Denmark)
What part of "NO" don't you understand!!

Caution: Watch for hoof in mouth disease!!!
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RE:Testing for other organizations 05 Apr 2007 10:15 #73

  • Mike Ferrara
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I think we're talking about a couple different things here all lumped together when maybe they shouldn't be.

Testing is usually a part of any formal training or education. We can argue what weight should be given to the tests but few educational systems rely completely on testing and few do away with them completely. In any case, any formal course of education is bound to include some type of testing. Any time I enter into formal training I would expect to be tested. Here, the testing is an exit requirement.

Then there are applications of testing that have little to do with education such as testing for a license maybe. It's a gate. The administrators of the test aren't trying to educate the testee, they're simply trying to set entrance or access requirements. Here, testing is an entrance requirement.

I don't think the AFA or Guild programs are a good fit to either catagory. They aren't in a position to limit access to anything I need to access and they aren't offering any formal education that we need to measure.

Personally, I don't want them to have any authority to control access to this trade or profession. If they want to market their certifications as a product to increase the demand amoung horse owners that's their business but I'm not going to intentionally do anything to help it along.

On the other hand, should they ever offer a course of study/training that I think would be of value to me, I may very well be interested...and I would expect testing to be a part of that.
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RE:Testing for other organizations 13 Apr 2007 17:13 #74

  • George Geist
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beslagsmed wrote:
Only the GUILD (as I am not sure about the UNION - George?) has an EXPERIENCE level which must be obtained in order to join. Once an AFA member, I believe there is an experience level before obtaining CJF, but you can still be an AFA member without experience.
Mikel

Mikel,
I looked into your question and I understand 3 years in the business is asked for of a test candidate seeking Union membership. Personally, if I have anything to say about it as far as my local goes, questions like that will never be asked.

Racetrack locals tend to be a little tougher about such things but I don't think they really bother people about that stuff anymore either.

The Guild seems to be the most insistent about people's income sources, work status, and other aspects of people's private lives that I personally feel are none of anybody's business. However, that's my opinion. They as a private club certainly have every right to have whatever rules they want and they are obviously not contrary to the wishes of their membership.

Getting back to your question though, traditionally, most Union horseshoers were from the racetrack fraternity. The majority of which came in through the apprentice system. This gave an individual several years of experience before they took their test. Those who tested without apprenticing, well, In my opinion their test is challenging enough that it takes a few years of working at the trade to develop the necessary proficiency. This serves as an effective way to weed out the less experienced as well.

As to the full time vs part time thing, I don't think it possible to work at a racetrack part-time. Granted some people do but they sure don't keep much work or make any kind of a living that way. It is really a radically different working environment. It is necessary to be there when they need you. Every day. If they need you and you're not there they'll call someone else over and very likely hire them do do the whole outfit. For this reason it can be generally understood that racetrack work equates to full time.

Now, question, yes the AFA has their rules about how much experience one must have to try for CJF. They also will not let someone test for that straight away as I believe they should but you must instead hold a CF first. They will however allow you to take all of their tests the same day if you wish to. I have no idea if anyone ever has done so though.

This rule of theirs I know is something they do not look into or enforce very vigorously. Seems like it goes on the applicant's say so. Also though, most of their testing chances are the average candidate will not pass without being around a while.

The Union's apprenticeship is a good system for 2 reasons. Some time ago Tom B and Phil were talking about tests and Tom said he could prep Phil to pass tests. To really make a horseshoer out of him was completely something else. The apprenticeship system either by the JHU or over in Europe under their system, not only preps someone to pass tests but makes a horseshoer of them as well.
George
For another fun place to play........
www.horseshoersforum.invisionzone.com
Come over and say hello.
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RE:Testing for other organizations 03 Aug 2007 01:40 #75

Mike Ferrara wrote:
Unfortunately, the way things work in real life is different. Even degreed professionals, leave school for the work place and then switch jobs every couple of years. They never gain the cradle to grave experience that professionals used to get when they stayed in the same job. They get through their entire career riding on what they did in school and never actually do anything else that achieves anything measureable.

I think we all know what a journeyman is supposed to be but in days gone by one got there through an apprenticeship. If nothing else, the apprentice got his room and board while working and learning under a master. They weren't working for free. Now we say...show up and take a test and you're a journeyman? Compare that to directly observing the day to day work of an apprentice over a period of years before signing off on their journeymans papers? Even todays electrician education and rating system is pretty close to a real trade "system" then this nonsense. They get a sponsor, spend part of the time in school and part on the job WHERE THEY GET PAID. Though the pay scale is lower than a journeyman. This stuff we're talking about here is beyond the pale...a total bastardization of the term journeyman.

As far as I'm concerned if you want to decide who will or won't be called journeyman, you need to apprentice them. Set the specific apprenticeship and experience guidlines (and not just in terms of time!).

The test is the end of the process and probably not even the most important part. It's an exit requirement, not an entry requirement. This buisness of administering a test and making journeyman, while not having done or seen anything else, may be the perfect example of wanting to start at the top. Go earn your "right" to make journeyman.

If we're going to turn this into a trade or profession that requires some sheep skin, hopefully something like a real university will come out with a real degree (maybe they have?) for farriery and we can get a BS, MS or PHD in farriery and get the amateurs out of it.

Sorry, the phrase "beyond the pale" is what keeps coming to mind. I'd rather have government and manditory licensing then this nonsense.


Wow, some one thinks like I have for years. The only way VET and the rest of the horse world will ever think of us as professionals, is to get a DEGREE at the University like any other profession.................Linda
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