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
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.
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
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.
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
should be able to verify their status. There was a
short-lived attempt to create an "RF" level below
which sort of missed the whole point of the Guild. I have no
knowledge of these horseshoers.
The Guild originally had a working relationship with
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.