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   The Guild of Professional Farriers was founded in 1996 to promote the profession of farriery, primarily by establishing a standard of competence for practice and issuing formal credentials to qualified, career farriers.  This differed from other U.S. based horseshoeing organizations which accommodate anyone interested in farriery at any level.

   The Guild had the highest membership requirement in the industry, allowing only fully competent farriers with over four years in the field to join, with no sub-competent or non-certified membership levels.  This tended to keep the membership much lower than the associations' (which required only an application and a dues check), but did put the Guild into a unique position to represent professional farriers and uphold a high standard without having to be concerned about any portion of the membership who didn't meet that standard.  We were honored to have many of the top men in the trade in our ranks.

   Despite its modest size, the Guild was quite active and influential in its first decade.  Organizing educational events featuring some of the greatest minds in the field.  Defending one of America's last free professions from various attempts to turn it over to bureaucrats.  Speaking up for farriery against the libelous attacks from barefoot zealots.  Generally raising the bar when it came to the definition of a "real farrier".

   Term limits were written into the Guild's charter and bylaws, so the exhausted founding officers passed the torch.  (The Guild did have the disadvantage of having no pool of enthusiastic rookies to do grunt work, or piles of incoming dues checks to pay staff.)  The economic climate in America, and the horse business therein changed.  Over the last several years, the organization appears to have gone dormant, with its website address having been sniped by unrelated interests.

   Because the effort invested by so many to make the Guild shouldn't be wasted or forgotten, I am creating this page.

Guild Credentials.

RJF: Registered Journeyman Farrier. The minimum membership credential of the Guild of Professional Farriers which denotes a fully competent professional farrier. To be eligible to apply for the RJF, a farrier must have at least four years' practical experience and be a full-time practicing farrier. The written RJF exam includes dual-aspect questions designed to test the applicant's real understanding of farrier science rather than his ability to memorize answers. The forge work phase of the RJF exam requires the applicant to demonstrate a combination of skills that would allow him to fabricate any functional horseshoe that may be required in practice. There are no restrictions on what equipment may be used to fabricate/modify the shoes. The live shoeing phase requires the applicant to shoe a horse all 'round with handmade shoes of the type and style suitable to the animalís use and condition (as determined in writing by a previous evaluation). The RJF exams are designed to evaluate practical ability to serve the public and are not based on contest standards. Time guidelines are flexible and fairly generous.

RMF: Registered Master Farrier. The highest credential issued by the Guild of Professional Farriers which denotes a highly advanced farrier qualified to train apprentices. To become an RMF, the applicant must first prove practical competence as a farrier by achieving the RJF. He must also have a minimum of eight years' full-time experience as a practicing farrier. He may then submit to the Guild a proposal for an original project or thesis designed to demonstrate sophisticated understanding of applied farriery and the ability to clearly express that insight to others. If approved, the applicant may complete the project and submit it. The project is then evaluated by a panel of farriers who are not allowed to know whose work they are evaluating. There is no grandfather program for achieving the RMF. All farriers holding the RMF earned it through the process detailed here. The RMF should not be confused with any "master" certifications offered by schools or associations.

   If you suspect anyone is fraudulently claiming RJF or RMF credentials, you can EMAIL.  I should be able to verify their status.  There was a short-lived attempt to create an "RF" level below RJF, which sort of missed the whole point of the Guild.  I have no knowledge of these horseshoers.

Guild Publications

   The Guild originally had a working relationship with ANVIL Magazine which included distribution of the organization's print newsletter, as well as with the Farrier & Hoofcare Resource Center for distribution of information on the then-nascent Internet.  Later, the Guild produced some independent publications which are still available for free download.

Guild RJF Exam Guide

Chronicle 1                Chronicle 2

More Information:

The Guild on FaceBook