Legalease Home page
Regulated businesses





Farriers Registration Council

Register of farriers

Worshipful Company of Farriers



The craft of farriery is ancient. In the City of London, a Fellowship of Farriers was in existence in 1356. As with other medieval craft guilds, the Fellowship of Farriers sought to regulate the quality of its members’ work and to discipline those who did not do it sufficiently well or who overcharged. A Charter given by King Charles II on 17th January 1674 incorporated the Worshipful Company of Farriers with authority to regulate the craft of farriers in the Cities of London and Westminster and the area within seven miles around.

It seems that the meaning of the term "farrier" has changed over the centuries from a horse doctor to a person who shoes horses and it came to refer to shoers of horses exclusively in the 19th century. The term "farrier" may have originated from the Latin words ‘faber’ (craftsman) and ‘ferrarius’ (metal) i.e. a blacksmith. An alternative origin of the term is from the Norman nobleman, Henry de Farrariis, who came to England with William the Conqueror in 1066. "Horse Shoeing and The Horse's Foot” (Dollar & Wheatley) states that Henry de Farrariis was instructed by William the Conqueror to superintend and encourage the art of farriery

In 1889, the Court of the Farriers Company established the Institute of Horse Shoeing and in the following year, the Company with the assistance of the Lord Mayor, the Royal Agricultural Society, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and others interested in the welfare of the horse, created a scheme for training, examination and registration of farriers. In 1907, the Company introduced further tests which led to the qualification of Associate of the Farriers Company of London.

Work done by the Company and the National Association of Farriers, Blacksmiths and Agricultural Engineers led to the passing of the Farriers (Registration) Act,1975 the purpose of which was "to prevent and avoid suffering by cruelty to horses arising from the shoeing of horses by unskilled persons; to promote the training of farriers and shoeing smiths; to provide for the establishment of a Farriers Registration Council to register persons engaged in farriery and to prohibit the shoeing of horses by unqualified persons".

The Farriers Registration Act 1975 (FRA) set up the Farriers Registration Council and prohibited the practise of farriery by unregistered persons. The Act recognised the role of the Worshipful Company of Farriers (the Company) as the body responsible for setting examinations and standards in farriery.

The FRA applies to England, Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland there is no statutory regulation but in practice the standards set by the Company are followed.

Sources: The Worshipful Company of Farriers; A Short History of the Term "Farrier", Tom Ryan FWCF [accessed 02/02/2017]

England, Wales and Scotland

Farriers Registration Council

The FRA established the Farriers Registration Council to maintain the register of farriers. The Council sets professional standards and publishes a Code of Professional Conduct. The Council’s Investigations Committee and Disciplinary Committee are responsible for investigation cases of misconduct and taking disciplinary action respectively.

Register of farriers

The Register of farriers contains particulars of persons who have qualified by UK apprenticeship and examination to practise, as well as those qualified in other EU states, and certain others who may be registered by reason of experience or alternative qualification. Section 7 of FRA sets out the detailed list of persons qualified for registration.

An appeal against failure or refusal to register may be made to the Disciplinary Committee [FRA s.9].

It is a criminal offence for non-registered persons to practise farriery, with the exception of veterinary surgeons and certain others, and in the case of emergency first aid.

Definitions [FRA s.18]

“Farriery” means any work in connection with the preparation of treatment of the foot of a horse for the immediate reception of a shoe thereon, the fitting by nailing or otherwise of a shoe to the foot or the finishing off of such work to the foot;

“Horse” includes pony, mule, donkey or other equine animal;

“Shoeing” has the same meaning as farriery.

Restriction on use of 'farrier' style [FRA s.15A]

A non-registered person is prohibited from using the title of “farrier” or “shoeing smith” or any other style, title or description which is likely to cause any other person to believe that the person is registered: There are exceptions for persons who have lodged an appeal which is undetermined and for persons who have applied for registration in the register but not had the application finally determined or who are entitled to be but are not registered..

Removal of names from register

The Disciplinary Committee of the Farriers Registration Council may, if it thinks fit, direct that a person's name be removed from the register or the suspension of his registration if:

* he is judged by the Disciplinary Committee to be guilty of serious misconduct in any professional respect;

* the Disciplinary Committee is satisfied that the person was not qualified for registration at the time he was registered;

* he has been convicted of an offence involving cruelty to animals;

* he ceases to provide services as a farrier on a temporary and occasional basis under the European Union (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations.

Appeal against removal: an appeal may be made the High Court, or, in Scotland, to the Court of Session.  against removal from the register within twenty-eight days after notice of the direction was given to him

Tacit consent: is unlikely to apply because of the appeal process in the FRA.

Worshipful Company of Farriers


The Worshipful Company of Farriers has the general function of securing adequate standards of competence and conduct among farriers (persons engaged in the shoeing of horses) and to promote, encourage and advance the art and science of farriery  [FRA s.1]]


Civil enforcement: see register of farriers above.

Criminal enforcement

Offence of carrying out farriery when not registered, and carrying out farriery for hire and reward when not registered to do so: liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

Offence does not apply to the carrying out of farriery by:

- a person serving under articles of apprenticeship which satisfy the prescribed terms and conditions, if carried out in the course of his apprenticeship;

- a person attending a course of training approved by the Council under section 11 of this Act conducted at an institution so approved if carried out in the course of his training;

- a veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner; or a person undergoing training as a veterinary surgeon in respect of any farriery carried out by him under the supervision of a veterinary surgeon, veterinary practitioner or a person registered under this Act;

-  a person rendering first-aid in case of emergency to a horse.

Offence of using “farrier” title while unregistered: liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

[Page created: 02/02/2017]


<Back to Regulated businesses