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.
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)
The entry-level component of the Farrier Certification Program, this classification focuses on basic concerns associated with safe, sound farriery, relieving the candidate from certain time constraints and higher level forge work associated with certification. The AFA Farrier Classification requires that candidates successfully complete written and practical testing, including the creation of a brief horseshoe display. This classification is not a pre- requisite for any subsequent certification level.
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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 basis. The Certified Farrier process requires successful completion of written and practical testing, as well as the creation and explanation of a horseshoe display.
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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 (2) years horseshoeing experience and have completed the CF level. The Certified Tradesman Farrier process requires successful completion of written and practical testing, including the forging and fitting of a specific handmade shoe within a prescribed time limit.
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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 (2) years horseshoeing experience and have completed the CF level. 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, as well as the forging of a specific bar shoe within a prescribed time limit. The shoe must fit a pre-determined foot pattern.
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Certified Journeyman Farriers have the opportunity to continue their pursuit of education and professional development through the Specialty
Endorsement component. Some areas of hoof care require highly specialized knowledge and skill. These may involve working with particular breeds, activities, or disciplines, or working with equine veterinarians to provide relief from suffering by horses that have been neglected, received inadequate hoof care, or have been affected by disease or trauma.
Specialty Endorsements at the Certified Journeyman Farrier level are available for the Therapeutic Endorsement, Specialty Forging, and Educational Endorsement. A general overview of this program is provided on pages 28-31 of the Certification Study Guide. More specific details and requirements are available through the AFA office.
AFA Therapeutic Endorsement (CJF, TE)
Designed to recognize farriers highly skilled in the area of therapeutic shoeing, the Therapeutic Endorsement examination consists of five(5) sections: written exam, shoe display, forging exam, case presentations, and an oral case-based exam. All portions of the exam are administered at the AFA annual convention.
Requirements for Therapeutic Endorsement (updated May 2018)
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@kwantlen.ca), and the A.F.A. office of their intention to sit the examination prior to December 1, of the year preceding the convention.
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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.
Candidates for this endorsement must be well informed in practical and theoretical issues relating to all aspects of farriery. Additionally, candidates should have a strong desire to forward and promote professional farriery through presentations and demonstrations to a variety of audiences, including not only farriers, but also other equine professionals and the horse-owning community.
Applications must be received by April 15, of the calendar year preceding the convention.
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.
Candidates for this endorsement 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 must be proficient in explaining the processes that lead to the final product.
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