The AFA Certification program is dedicated to the welfare of the horse. The certification test is not a mandate or blueprint on how to shoe any individual horse. It is, rather, an objective assessment of the specific skills necessary to perform the job of farriery to a prescribed standard. Those who pass it possess the ability to provide a healthy standard of hoof care.
Farriers who pass the AFA Certified Farrier examination exhibit a working knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathology, gaits, and horseshoes and their various uses. They display the ability to identify, assess, trim, and protect, structures of the hoof. They demonstrate shoe fit and modifications to specific standards and patterns.
The American Farrier’s Association believes that the wellbeing of the horse would be improved if every farrier possessed the skills necessary to pass the CF exam.
The AFA’s Farrier Certification Program consists of three categories: Classification, Certification, and Endorsement. Within these categories, the Certification and Endorsement designations have associated options and levels of progression.
Certification is at the center of this program, but Classification and Endorsement are integral and valuable components, designed to make the program viable for the entire farrier community. The Classification component provides opportunities for entry-level farriers, while the Endorsement component provides opportunities for farriers who have completed the highest level of Certification. A farrier does not have to be an AFA member to take the Certification exams, however, he or she must be a member in good standing to test for the Endorsement designations. AFA members taking the exams receive a reduced rate on test fees over non-members.
Candidates at each level are expected to display hoof trimming skills and techniques to meet everyday demands of correct hoof care, the skills to apply horseshoes and other appliances to exacting prescriptions, forging skills needed to modify or make a variety of horseshoes, and a knowledge of equine anatomy and physiology. Testing and evaluation are critically applied to maintain the highest standards of workmanship and professionalism.
AFA Farrier Classification (FC)
This component, which focuses on basic concerns associated with safe and sound farriery, provides testing experience and recognition for entry-level participants in the profession and for those candidates who are unable to complete the Certified Farrier exams within the required time limits. This is a CLASSIFICATION only, NOT a certification. It is not a prerequisite for any subsequent certification level and no minimum time of prior practice or experience in hoof care is established for this classification. To learn more click here: Farrier Classification
AFA Certified Farrier (CF)
The Certified Farrier exams, which constitute the first level of AFA Certification, are open to farriers who have at least one year of horseshoeing experience and have demonstrated knowledge and skill to perform hoof care on a professional level. The Certified Farrier process requires successful completion of written and practical testing with keg shoes, as well as the creation and explanation of a horseshoe display. To learn more: Certified Farrier1
AFA Certified Tradesman Farrier (CTF)
The Certified Tradesman Farrier exams, which constitute a second (optional) level of AFA Certification, are open to farriers who have at least two years of horseshoeing experience and have completed the CF level. The Certified Tradesman Farrier process requires successful completion of written and practical testing with keg shoes and forged clips, as well as forging and fitting of a handmade shoe to pattern within a prescribed time limit.
To learn more: Certified Tradesman Farrier1
AFA Certified Journeyman Farrier (CJF)
The Certified Journeyman Farrier exams, which constitute the highest level of AFA certification, are open to candidates who have at least two years of horseshoeing experience and have completed the CF level or have achieved the Diploma of the Worshipful Company of Farriers (DipWCF) as confirmed by the Registrar Worshipful Company of Farriers. Farriers sitting for this level of certification are expected to display in-depth knowledge and highly developed performance skills evidencing a level of professional artistry. The process requires successful completion of written and practical testing with hand- made, clipped shoes, as well as the forging of a specific bar shoe fit to a predetermined foot pattern within a prescribed time limit.
To learn more: Certified Journeyman1
Certified Journeyman Farriers have the opportunity to continue their pursuit of education and professional development through the AFA’s Specialty Endorsement program which acknowledges areas/concerns that require specialized knowledge and skill. These may involve working with particular breeds, activities, disciplines, and/or audiences. The AFA currently offers three Specialty Endorsements: Therapeutic, Forging, and Educator.
AFA Therapeutic Endorsement (CJF TE)
Designed to recognize farriers highly skilled in the area of therapeutic shoeing, the Therapeutic Specialty Endorsement involves challenging examinations and requires an in-depth knowledge of the treatment of lameness in horses.
Candidates for the Therapeutic Endorsement must have previously obtained status as an AFA Certified Journeyman Farrier and have five years of experience in this specialization. (This is not to be confused with five years of experience shoeing horses).
Candidates for this endorsement must be well informed in practical and theoretical issues relating to foot and hoof pathology; including, but not limited to, laminitis, navicular disease, pedal osteitis, coffin joint arthritis, spavins, bowed tendons, lacerated tendons, sprained and torn ligaments, bursitis, tendonitis, abscesses, hoof wall cracks, thrush, canker or ungulates, angular limb deformities, flexural deformities, splints, ringbone, sidebone, physitis, bone cysts, keratomas, hoof capsule deformities, articular and non-articular arthritis, ankylosis, arthrodesis, onychomychosis and gonitis.
Requirements for Therapeutic Endorsement (updated 3-2016)
To be eligible to sit for the examination, candidates must be current AFA members, have successfully passed the AFA Certified Journeyman Farrier examination, and inform Therapeutic Endorsement director Gerard Laverty CJF, TE Gerard.Laverty@kpu.ca and the A.F.A. office of their intention to sit the examination prior to December 1, of the year preceding the convention.
To learn more: Therapeutic Endorsement1
(For additional information please contact the AFA office and request printed TE materials)
AFA Educators Endorsement (CJF EE)
Designed to recognize farriers capable of providing educational lectures and demonstrations suitable for all audiences, the Educator Endorsement focuses on a candidate’s ability to convey information to a variety of audiences.
Candidates for the Educator Endorsement must have previously obtained status as an AFA Certified Journeyman Farrier. They must be well informed in practical and theoretical issues relating to all aspects of farriery. Additionally, candidates should have a strong desire to promote professional farriery through presentations and demonstrations to a variety of audiences, not only farriers, but also other equine professionals and the horse-owning community.
To be eligible to sit for the examination, candidates must be current AFA members and have successfully passed the AFA Certified Journeyman Farrier examination. Contact the Educator Endorsement Director Pat Gallahan, CJF firstname.lastname@example.org and the A.F.A. office email@example.com to receive the Educator Endorsement application.
Applications must be received by April 15, of the calendar year preceding the convention.
To learn more: Educators Endorsement
AFA Forging Endorsement (CJF FE)
Designed to recognize farriers highly skilled in the area of forging and fabricating specialty shoes, the Forging Endorsement involves forging a variety of shoes to exacting standards as well as the ability to explain the process in an organized and informative manner.
Candidates for the Forging Endorsement must have previously obtained status as an AFA Certified Journeyman Farrier. They must be proficient in forging and fabricating a variety of shoes. Additionally, candidates must be capable of working within specific time frames to complete the task and be proficient in explaining the processes that lead to the final product.
Requirements for Forging Endorsement (updated 3-2016)
To be eligible to sit for the examination, candidates must be current AFA members and have successfully passed the AFA Certified Journeyman Farrier examination. Contact the forging endorsement director Jason Harmeson, CJF firstname.lastname@example.org and the A.F.A. office email@example.com to receive the forging endorsement application.
To learn more: Forging Endorsement