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TOPIC: Why is AFA membership so low?

RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 29 Apr 2007 20:03 #106

  • TRIP HAMMER
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Gary_Miller wrote:
While this sounds well and good. It unacceptable. Unless it pertaining to personnel matters. All information about projects in the works need to be given out to the membership. The membership cannot talk intellegent to there BOD represenative unless they know what going on. We are not asking for details just information. If we want details on something we can ask the project officer. If we don't know the project or project officer then we are like mushrooms.
I will believe this when I start seeing information posted on the web site freely so all members can see what happening without having to hound the leadership.

Gary,
Welcome to the Finance Committee, we appreciate your interest in the future of the AFA and look forward to your input into sound financial management based on your experience as a finance officer in the Military Service.

You may not be correct in the above statement in reference to Dick Fanguy. There are many inappropriate situations.

The reason is simple. You cannot expect the EC or any responsible individual to pre-release information until contracts are signed, sealed and delivered.

I was greatly disappointed recently on this forum when an individual using rumor as guise, saw fit to make public knowledge, the hiring of a new Executive Director before contract was signed and final negotiations were complete.

At the risk of repeating myself one more time, if any member wishes financial information concerning the Association, they may contact me directly with specific questions and I will answer them to the best of my knowledge.

A Treasury update will be presented in the newsletter which is due to go to print next week and should be available on the AFA website at the same time.

Respectfully,
John Blombach
"That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet"
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 29 Apr 2007 21:36 #107

  • Rick Burten
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TRIP HAMMER wrote:
I was greatly disappointed recently on this forum when an individual using rumor as guise, saw fit to make public knowledge, the hiring of a new Executive Director before contract was signed and final negotiations were complete.
Speaking of which, how did this all transpire? How many candidates were interviewed? What were the qualifications of the individual hired(other than that he was already hired as the Education Director)? What special talents, interests and abilities does he bring to the position that were lacking in other candidates? Were there other candidates? Were they interviewed? When? As of a couple of months ago, no interviews had been held, so how did this all come about?
At the risk of repeating myself one more time, if any member wishes financial information concerning the Association, they may contact me directly with specific questions and I will answer them to the best of my knowledge.
OK John, here are some questions
1. What is the budget amount for the "face to face" EC meetings(5 I believe) that is appropriated to hold these meetings around the country?

2. What is the budget amount appropriated to hold BoD meetings once the new board is seated next year(but during the current fiscal year)? How was that amount determined and from where is it being appropriated since it was not included in the (joke of a ) budget passed at this year's annual board meeting?

3. In the currently approved budget for FY2007-2008, where is the money for the increase in salaries and benefits for office staff being appropriated from and how will this affect the "bottom line"?

4. On what numbers is the FY 07-08 budget predicated?

5. At what point in time are the various and sundry committee chairs required to submit their budget requests for the coming fiscal year ( 08-09)?

6. When will the Finance Committee begin the work of preparing the 08-09 budget so that it can be presented in a timely manner and finished form to the BoD at the 08 annual meeting?

Rick
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 29 Apr 2007 22:32 #108

  • Dick Fanguy
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In a pervious post, I stated that this was going to be the first time the AFA puts out editorial copy on our certification program and it would not be the last.

Well, I was wrong! Seems some years ago Danvers wrote some 20 articles for the AFA to have published in different magazines. True to form, it was started and never followed up on. This will not happen again. The new publications committee will follow up on all articles submitted to the AFA. I should have know that Danvers would have done this.

Danvers, I'm sorry I didn't give you credit for this. I didn't know about it.
Dick Fanguy, CJF
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 29 Apr 2007 23:08 #109

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Does this change the idea that the AFA has never promoted the concept of certified farriers to the public? Does this affect the reason more farriers are not either certified or members of the AFA?
I stand by my position that the current plan is not working.
Danvers,
I am not sure of your point about educational associations, but the bottom line is education has a group (the NEA) with large participation. The NEA is a significant special interest group looking out for the interests of education. IMO, our industry needs a comparable group.
P
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 29 Apr 2007 23:32 #110

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TRIP HAMMER wrote:
Gary,
Welcome to the Finance Committee, we appreciate your interest in the future of the AFA and look forward to your input into sound financial management based on your experience as a finance officer in the Military Service.
John, Thank you I look forward to working with you on this committee. I will be getting in thouch with you this week, by e-mail, so you can bring me up to speed on the committee happenings.TRIP HAMMER wrote:
You may not be correct in the above statement in reference to Dick Fanguy. There are many inappropriate situations.

The reason is simple. You cannot expect the EC or any responsible individual to pre-release information until contracts are signed, sealed and delivered.
I disagree, while there are many inappropriate ways to give out the information. The information can be provided without going into details.

For example One could say:
The association is currently under degotiation for a contract to print the PF magazine. As soon as the contract is finalized further information will be provide.

Or

The EC has interviewed several well qualified individuals for the EC postion, and will be making an offer soon. Since this is not yet final we can not release any further detals at this time.

Its really quite simple. Its all how it is worded. The membership understands that there may not be any details available for release at this time. However, they are informed of whats happening. And if they knew what was happening ahead of time they maybe able to provide important information that may help with the project.

Case in point the above post from Dick about the articals Danvers has ready to promote the association and the certification. If Danvers had know what was happening he could of let the EC know what he had ready to go already.

Its all about communication. Not necessaraly whats being communicated.
TRIP HAMMER wrote:
I was greatly disappointed recently on this forum when an individual using rumor as guise, saw fit to make public knowledge, the hiring of a new Executive Director before contract was signed and final negotiations were complete.
I was told that this information was recieved from a non-AFA member. Since this information should of only been between the EC and the individual being offered the job. My question would be who is the leak?
Gary Miller, PF

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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 29 Apr 2007 23:53 #111

  • Mike Ferrara
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Now, the members are talking about how to create a "demand" for certification. Force farriers to become members and ignore the reasons they don't want to be?

You confuse the words "choice" and "demand." If the AFA's information campaign creates a public demand for certified farriers, testing for AFA certification will still remain the choice of every farrier.

Don't AFA certified farriers have enough work?

Are we on a bit of a power trip here? Not to be one to say, "I told you so" but I did tell you so many times when I've referenced the certification systems in scuba diving. The attitudes here don't seem much different.

Please try to stick to the issue at hand: the difference between SCUBA diving and farriery is roughly the same as those between Granny Smith apples and road apples. The salient point being that the AFA is about creating a demand for AFA certification, something that is entirely voluntary and, as always, a matter of personal choice, not requirement. The AFA is even considering the advisability of opening up the testing process to every farrier, member and non-member alike, a thing that would immediately send to the muckpile any thoughts folks might have of testing being a ploy to swell the membership ranks of the AFA.

Of course diving is different than farriery but certification and the attitudes of those who want to control the industry don't seem different at all. Throughout most of the world there are no laws requireing any certification to dive or teach diving either. Technically it's completely voluntary and a matter of personal choice...except that the agencies have managed to create a "demand" for their certifications through industry control.

Opening testing to nonmembers wouldn't change my analogy at all. Dive certification agencies do that too by issueing certifications to non-members.

I can also tell you how to create the demand for certification that you're after. Just do what the Professional Association of Diving Instructors did. You get the business owners...bording barns, show barns, livery businesses, riding schools, breeding farms ect to sign on as retail members of your association. You do that with service discounts for things like insurance or whatever else they might find attractive. As part of their contractual agreement to become a member of your association, you simply require them to use only certified farriers.

Unfortunately for your scenario, getting the various disciplines to agree on anything, much less all the different barns, stables, farms, schools, etc., would be like herding cats across open range at night during a thunderstorm. While possible in theory, it's highly improbable in reality.

You don't need them to agree on much. You only need them to agree that they want to be members and agree to the terms. It is exactly what is done with diving retail agency members. So, it's been done. In fact what happens is that as new people come into the business they start out as association members and don't even realize there is another way. Things shift from doing things without the agency and not kowing or caring that there is a choice to doing everything through the agency and not knowing or caring that there is a choice.

You want to get really big? You can offer certifications in riding and require that your retail members require your rider certification prior to putting someone on a horse...unless of course they are in the process of issueing your rider certification. Don't allow your boarding barn retail members to even take a horse in for board unless the owner is certified. You really want to get powerful? Sign a bunch of tack shops up as retail members and insist that they refuse to sell tack to anyone who doesn't posses one of your certifications. Quit beating around the bush and just make the horse owner a member and REQUIRE them to REQUIRE a certification from their farrier. DUH!

Your analogies are getting so far out, they're starting to sound like a flashback to the 1960s.

Seems far out but it's exactly how the scuba industry works...only the divers (nonprofessionals) simply purchase agency certifications and aren't actually agency members.

You want another trick? Go negotiate "exclusive" deals with some insurance companies. It works this way. The insurance company agrees to provide insuracnce ONLY to farriers who are current certified members in good standing of your association. They also make it a policy requirement that business owners use only certified farriers to keep their insurance valid.

You're kidding, right? In my inquires about the feasability of obtaining health/hospitalization insurance for the AFA, several insurance folks have told me that 3,000 AFA members are about 7,000 shy of being enough to get group insurance (assuming every member signed up) - so why'n hell would anyone think 3,000 members would be enough to twist the collective arms of the business world?

Nevermind health insurance. What you get a handle on is the professional insurance...the property insurance for facilities, liability, malpractice and so on. Again, it's all been done.
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 29 Apr 2007 23:54 #112

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Continued
My old stuff in grey, Tom S. in red and my reply in black

Now you pretty much have those farriers where you want them...they literally can't do business without your little plastic card in their wallet.

Nossir, you've segued into licensing as mandated and enforced by the state - and that's about as far as it gets from voluntary certification resultant of an AFA campaign aimed at informing horse owners they have a choice between farriers who've voluntarily measured their knowledge and motor skills against an arbitrary standard and farriers who've either chosen not to volunteer or have failed the test.

No, I didn't say anything at all about licensing. I simply described the way certification works in the dive industry (where there is no licensing) and drew a parallel.

That's how you create a market for a certification where none is required by law or by any natural market.

One creates a demand for one's supply of goods and/or services by successfully reaching a targeted demographic with advertising.

That isn't the only way and it probably isn't the most effective way.


Get the farriers to come by duping horse owners into thinking they need a certified farrier?

LMAO! There's absolutely no possibility of duplicity involved in informing the public thay have a choice between a farrier who has voluntarily stood for a standard farriery test and one who either has not volunteered or has failed the test. Why would anyone entertain such a silly thought?

It isn't really a "standard"is it? Of course to make it a standard, again, you do what the dive certification agencies did. You form a committee to ANSI and write the ANSI farriery "standards". Then it is a standard. It doesn't mean any more than it did before but it sounds good and the insurance companies like it.

Believe me, I wouldn't even tell you all this if I didn't figure someone would explain it to you sooner or later anyway. This has all been done before in other industries.

Please bear in mind that "other industries" have as much similarity to farriery as a germ does to a German.

Having experience in both these industries I see how they could turn out very much the same. There are many similarities.

Is it clear now why at least one farrier won't send money to the AFA or the Guild? I just don't want to finance an effort to con horse owners or horse business owners into requireing me to come to you to purchase permission to do what I'm already doing without you.

Join the AFA or don't join the AFA: joining was, is, and will always be your choice. Test or don't test: your choice now and it'll remain your choice no matter how successful the AFA's ad campaign, at least until some government entity mandates licensing, when it'll all become moot. You're apparently missing the point that no one in the industry can possibly be forced to do something that exists only on a voluntary basis.

No, if the AFA or another organization did things right they certainly could essentially "force" others in the industry.

How can anyone find fault in letting the public know about the existence of the AFA's testing program? What possible reason could anyone have for wanting to keep the public ignorant of their choices? Why would anyone fear the AFA's informing the public that they have a choice between farriers who've volunteered to test their skills against an arbitrary standard and those farriers who, for whatever reason, have either chosen not to test their skills or have failed the test?

I think a good portion of the horse owning public knows about AFA certification. They see the AFA booth at fairs, shows ect. We're not really just talking about informing people of the existance of AFA certification are we? That would make a really short ad. I get the impression you intent to add some language meant to convince the target audience that they will somehow be better off with an AFA certified farrier.

Fear it? No. However, I don't share the opinion that it's worthwhile or useful to anyone other than the AFA and I have no desire to finance it.

How often do you repeat this these days
a choice between farriers who've volunteered to test their skills against an arbitrary standard and those farriers who, for whatever reason, have either chosen not to test their skills or have failed the test

I find it a bit disingenuous. It seems to presume that anything other than certification or certification by a specific association constitutes not having been tested. Oh yes...the "arbitrary standard". Do you need an arbitrary standard when you have the real thing to work with every day? By good word selection it downplays the "for whatever reason" or even might attempt to imply a reason.

Why do most farriers not take the AFA test? The real answers may not be what you would like to believe or what you would have the target audience of your ads believe.
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 30 Apr 2007 00:55 #113

TRIP HAMMER wrote:
I was greatly disappointed recently on this forum when an individual using rumor as guise, saw fit to make public knowledge, the hiring of a new Executive Director before contract was signed and final negotiations were complete.
John,

Why is it not surprising that you express disappointment in my asking a simple question based on something that a non-AFA person told me?

Why is it also not surprising that you have no outrage that some incompetent in the group that was in the know, who as you have noted should have keep this matter closely held until things where inked shot of his mouth? And further why aren’t stating how disappointed you are in them?

If you collectively don’t want us to know about something perhaps you folks should grow up, become men that know how to keep your mouths shut and stop trying to lay the blame for your collective incompetence on others?
Ronald E. Kramedjian, RJF

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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 30 Apr 2007 01:54 #114

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Rick Burten wrote:
Speaking of which, how did this all transpire? How many candidates were interviewed? What were the qualifications of the individual hired(other than that he was already hired as the Education Director)? What special talents, interests and abilities does he bring to the position that were lacking in other candidates? Were there other candidates? Were they interviewed? When? As of a couple of months ago, no interviews had been held, so how did this all come about?

Rick,
If I remember correctly, we looked at seven candidates. Of that seven, four were quickly eliminated after checking at their resume. The three that were left were all interesting but one never followed through with his paperwork. Dave and I flew to Lexington to meet with the other two. One of those was Jon Bonci, The other candidate would be more of the same as those who for many reasons didn't work out. Along with possessing all the necessary required skills needed for the Executive Director, Jon had a demonstrated ability to do the job and that worked in his favor.

The Executive committee feels that the AFA needs someone who is younger, energetic, positive and forward thinking with new ideas, vision. A person who will be a good ambassador for us and present the right face to the public and a higher profile for the Association. Jon is a real likeable guy but an agressive worker with a great work ethic. He is a people person, has proven leadership quality and the ability the work as a team player, has great communication skills, assisting the EC or President whenever needed. Jon
devotes himself between the members of the Association and his family.

We now have the best office team and infrastructure we have ever had at the Horse Park. We plan to keep that team and hope everyone will take the time to get to know all the players.

OK John, here are some questions
1. What is the budget amount for the "face to face" EC meetings(5 I believe) that is appropriated to hold these meetings around the country?

2. What is the budget amount appropriated to hold BoD meetings once the new board is seated next year(but during the current fiscal year)? How was that amount determined and from where is it being appropriated since it was not included in the (joke of a ) budget passed at this year's annual board meeting?

3. In the currently approved budget for FY2007-2008, where is the money for the increase in salaries and benefits for office staff being appropriated from and how will this affect the "bottom line"?

4. On what numbers is the FY 07-08 budget predicated?

5. At what point in time are the various and sundry committee chairs required to submit their budget requests for the coming fiscal year ( 08-09)?

6. When will the Finance Committee begin the work of preparing the 08-09 budget so that it can be presented in a timely manner and finished form to the BoD at the 08 annual meeting?

Rick
You may not realize this but we are still operating from the "fantasy" budget passed in Omaha. The so called "joke" budget passed at the Albuquerque Convention was an attempt to put together a realistic budget, based on the best information available. It does not become useful until July 1st.

A budget is a guideline to use so we realize the greatest potential from our revenue. We knew as did everyone else that there would be unexpected expenses such as the posibility of a new Board that would have new costs. Also there was the possibility of a new hire in the form of an Executive Director. There was also the possibility of a lower total membership with all that went on last year. With that in mind we built in a 100,000.00 surplus for unexpected new expenses and that fact was brought out at the meeting.

There may be some budget amendments now that the Board has to fund the new election process and the hiring of an Executive Director along with an Employee Benefit Package for the Office staff. With membership at record levels there will no doubt be a larger than expected surplus of membership revenue.

Our finances are stable and the Association is in great shape!

After the Mid-Year meeting we will be asking for budgets for 08/09 from the various committees. It will be imperative that they submit budget requests in a timely manner as no money will be budgeted for their committees without that request.

Respectfully,
John Blombach, Treasurer
"That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet"
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 30 Apr 2007 02:09 #115

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Ronald E. Kramedjian wrote:
John,

Why is it not surprising that you express disappointment in my asking a simple question based on something that a non-AFA person told me?

Why is it also not surprising that you have no outrage that some incompetent in the group that was in the know, who as you have noted should have keep this matter closely held until things where inked shot of his mouth? And further why aren’t stating how disappointed you are in them?

If you collectively don’t want us to know about something perhaps you folks should grow up, become men that know how to keep your mouths shut and stop trying to lay the blame for your collective incompetence on others?

Ron,
I'm surprised at your attempt to transfer your guilt to me or anyone else for it was you and only you who went public on this forum with something that you should have known better.

The person who let the cat out of the bag will be dealt with in another arena.

Ron, you ran for office and wanted to be a leader and you have so much positive to give to the AFA - stop tearing it down and help build it up -after all, thats why you joined and ran for office in the first place.
Sincerely,
John Blombach, Treasurer
"That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet"
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 30 Apr 2007 02:32 #116

  • Tom Stovall CJF
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Mike Ferrara in gray, my old stuff in brown, deletia

Don't AFA certified farriers have enough work?

At issue is making the public aware they have a choice, not the amount of work AFA certified farriers have or do not have. Hereabouts, anybody who knows which way to turn a nail can stay covered up.

Of course diving is different than farriery but certification and the attitudes of those who want to control the industry don't seem different at all.

While I'm on record as loving conspiracies, it'd take a helluva lot more imagination than I have to buy into your particular conspiracy theory: By some leap of intellectual gymnastics far beyond my ken, you apparently feel the big bad AFA, all 3,000 of us, mean to "control" the farrier industry by making folks aware they have a choice. You ain't making much sense.

Throughout most of the world there are no laws requireing any certification to dive or teach diving either. Technically it's completely voluntary and a matter of personal choice...except that the agencies have managed to create a "demand" for their certifications through industry control.

So? Do you really think Mustad, Kerckheart, Werkmann, Izumi, et al, are going to allow themselves to be manipulated by an organization of 3,000? Mustad probably has more employees in their fishhook division than the AFA has members - but don't let that dampen your conspiracy theory.

Opening testing to nonmembers wouldn't change my analogy at all. Dive certification agencies do that too by issueing certifications to non-members.

Since there's no demonstrable relationship between the diving and farriery, your analogy is nonsensical.

You don't need them to agree on much. You only need them to agree that they want to be members and agree to the terms. It is exactly what is done with diving retail agency members. So, it's been done. In fact what happens is that as new people come into the business they start out as association members and don't even realize there is another way. Things shift from doing things without the agency and not kowing or caring that there is a choice to doing everything through the agency and not knowing or caring that there is a choice.

Lemme get this straight: What you perceive to be the evils of the diving industry will somehow be vested on the farrier industry if the AFA is successful in informing folks they have a choice between farriers who've chosen to certify and those who haven't/can't pass the test? Even for the worst conspiracy junkie on the planet, that'd be a helluva stretch.

Seems far out but it's exactly how the scuba industry works...only the divers (nonprofessionals) simply purchase agency certifications and aren't actually agency members.

One hates to be the bearer of bad tidings, but how the SCUBA industry works is irrelevant when it comes to farriery. For starters, nobody buys certification at any level in the AFA, a small fact that blows your analogy out of the water.

Nevermind health insurance. What you get a handle on is the professional insurance...the property insurance for facilities, liability, malpractice and so on. Again, it's all been done.

I gotta ask: Do you really, seriously, believe that anyone associated in any way with the AFA is scheming on taking over the farrier industry by some sort of coup d'état? A lot closer to home, trying to control the rodeo industry by both fair means and foul has been attempted several times, but nobody has ever been successful at cornering the market. Perhaps they should've followed the SCUBA industry's model.

No, I didn't say anything at all about licensing. I simply described the way certification works in the dive industry (where there is no licensing) and drew a parallel.

You described the effect of licensing, then attempted to claim that effect is somehow related to making the public aware of AFA certification.

One creates a demand for one's supply of goods and/or services by successfully reaching a targeted demographic with advertising.

That isn't the only way and it probably isn't the most effective way.

Quite true! Multimedia saturation advertising is infinitely more effective, but the AFA isn't Microsoft, GE, or Ford. For little guys like us, targeted demographic advertising, opinion pieces in selected media, and the ripple-in-the-pond effect is the most cost-effective means of getting the word out.

It [AFA tests] isn't really a "standard" is it?

The AFA's tests measure a testee's ability to meet an arbitrary standard. The tests are standardized in order to make them as objective as possible.

Of course to make it a standard, again, you do what the dive certification agencies did. You form a committee to ANSI and write the ANSI farriery "standards". Then it is a standard. It doesn't mean any more than it did before but it sounds good and the insurance companies like it.

One hates to labor the obvious, but the dive industry and farrier industry are not related.
[more]
Tom Stovall, CJF
"The only foolish question is the one left unasked."
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 30 Apr 2007 02:35 #117

Hey guys we need another format to log complaints and gather solutions. This is getting so cluttered it is out of control. I just spent some time reading the latest discussions on the AFA members forum and it is nothing but complaints and bantering back and forth. Seems like everyone wants answers and wants them now. Would you shoe horses like this? If you got to your client and they pulled out 8 horses and started demanding that they want them all done at the same time and now your reply would be see ya!!!

Lets get real and come up with a better way to address issues and communicate a better way.

Another thing, the hostility shown on this forum is nothing but an embarrasment. I have to agree with Dick that this does not improve the image of the AFA that we so desperately want.
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:Why is AFA membership so low? 30 Apr 2007 02:37 #118

  • Tom Stovall CJF
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[Continued]

Having experience in both these industries I see how they could turn out very much the same. There are many similarities.

So what? There's less than 10% difference in the DNA of chimps and humans and there are quite a few similarities, but that doesn't mean that chimps are ever going to be humans.

Join the AFA or don't join the AFA: joining was, is, and will always be your choice. Test or don't test: your choice now and it'll remain your choice no matter how successful the AFA's ad campaign, at least until some government entity mandates licensing, when it'll all become moot. You're apparently missing the point that no one in the industry can possibly be forced to do something that exists only on a voluntary basis.

No, if the AFA or another organization did things right they certainly could essentially "force" others in the industry.

I know quite a few farriers, I count many of them as my friends, but I don't think I could "force" any of them to volunteer to do anything that wasn't in their economic interest to do.

How can anyone find fault in letting the public know about the existence of the AFA's testing program? What possible reason could anyone have for wanting to keep the public ignorant of their choices? Why would anyone fear the AFA's informing the public that they have a choice between farriers who've volunteered to test their skills against an arbitrary standard and those farriers who, for whatever reason, have either chosen not to test their skills or have failed the test?

I think a good portion of the horse owning public knows about AFA certification.

You might want to re-think your stance. By and large, the public is blissfully ignorant of the AFA's existence, much less AFA certification. If you have any doubts, just ask around.

They see the AFA booth at fairs, shows ect. We're not really just talking about informing people of the existance of AFA certification are we?

We ain't talking existence, we're talking benefits.

That would make a really short ad. I get the impression you intent to add some language meant to convince the target audience that they will somehow be better off with an AFA certified farrier.

Most assuredly so! The public has a much better chance of finding a competent farrier by hiring an AFA certified farrier than by taking pot luck on the feed store bulletin board. AFA certification gives an owner the ability to choose between known and unknown.

Fear it? No. However, I don't share the opinion that it's worthwhile or useful to anyone other than the AFA and I have no desire to finance it.

Your choice, I promise nobody will come to your house during the supper hour seeking a donation.

How often do you repeat this these days

"A choice between farriers who've volunteered to test their skills against an arbitrary standard and those farriers who, for whatever reason, have either chosen not to test their skills or have failed the test..."

Every chance I get! You'll be seeing it a lot.

I find it a bit disingenuous.

Small wonder that you might; apparently, it hits close to home.

It seems to presume that anything other than certification or certification by a specific association constitutes not having been tested.

The statement presumes nothing not in evidence. It points out, quite accurately, that anyone with AFA certification has chosen to stand for a standardized test and passed it. It also points out, with similar accuracy, that anyone who does not have AFA certification has either chosen not to take the test or has failed it. The operative word is "chosen."

Oh yes...the "arbitrary standard". Do you need an arbitrary standard when you have the real thing to work with every day?

In context, the word "arbitrary" is used with reference to a testing standard. While you may not choose to measure your knowledge and motor skills against an arbitrary standard, others may choose to do so in the interest of becoming a better farrier. And, if you don't think the work and study necessary to pass the AFA's CF or CJF will make a better farrier out of any farrier, you're living in a dream world.

By good word selection it downplays the "for whatever reason" or even might attempt to imply a reason.

The statement speaks for itself: it's no-frills, spot-on, dead accurate and tells it exactly as it is. It's intended to be informative and to let folks know they have choices and the precise nature of those choices. You'll see it a lot.

Why do most farriers not take the AFA test?


I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I can sure as hell tell you why I took the tests and I was among the first to take both the CF and CJF tests here in Texas. With me, it was pride, pure and simple. I take an inordinate amount of pride in my work and I wanted to see how I measured up to the AFA's standards.

The real answers may not be what you would like to believe or what you would have the target audience of your ads believe.

I'll take my chances. I think the public wants and needs a reliable indicator of any prospective farrier's knowledge and skills without having to rely on the feedstore bulletin board, the boarder in the next stall, or similar unreliable sources. The AFA's tests are, without question, the most widely available reliable indicator of a farrier's knowledge and ability available in this country.
Tom Stovall, CJF
"The only foolish question is the one left unasked."
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 30 Apr 2007 02:41 #119

I will be spending more time on the AFA forum members only section. I think this would be the appropriate forum to do our brain storming. Look forward to seeing the rest of you over there.
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:Why is AFA membership so low? 30 Apr 2007 03:25 #120

  • Gary_Miller
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Moved to the AFA members only web discussion form. Finace committee thread.
Gary Miller, PF

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