Everyone has a voice, and farriers definitely want to be heard. With concerns regarding certification, continuing education, professional relations, and alliances, the American Association of Professional Farriers (AAPF) was created in June 2011 to help farriers address these concerns, and more.
The mission statement of the AAPF is: “The American Association of Professional Farriers will promote the integrity of the farrier industry by strengthening the knowledge and skills of its members through continuing education and support at the state, national, and international levels while improving overall equine health through collaboration with other industry professionals.”
One of the things that makes the AAPF unique is its inclusivity—anyone in the horse industry is allowed to become a member. From the usual farrier and veterinarian, to the everyday horse owner and barn manager, anyone can become a member through Associate and Alliance memberships. If a farrier is already a member of another farrier association, they are still welcome into the AAPF, where the association will recognize the certification and registration accomplishments and honors bestowed upon farriers by the other farrier associations and organizations, according to the website.
What about the farrier who suffers from illness or an injury that could sideline them for a long time, thus losing out on income and losing clients? As a member of the AAPF, members are encouraged to take part in the Farrier Assistance Program. Two dollars from every annual dues payment is dedicated to the fund, as well as additional donations. Plus, thanks to the generosity of the new corporate sponsor of the program, Life Data Labs Inc., the company will provide $10 for every new and renewing member each year. “The addition of Life Data Labs as a corporate sponsor for our Farrier Assistance program will allow the program to offer new and additional services to ill or injured farriers who are members of the AAPF/CAPF,” said Dave Farley APF, President of AAPF/CAPF.
The program offers farriers a hand-up when they need it most—a member can contact the association to inform them of their situation, and fellow members step up to help. Whether that be one fellow member driving a couple hours to shoe a barn full of dressage horses, or a team working together to tackle 30 head of horses across the country, someone steps up to help their comrade in a time of need. This way, the injured or sick farrier can keep his clients happy while he’s healing, and not be afraid of losing clients because of the kindness of his fellow members.
It is also important for horse owners that their farrier is up-to-date on the latest in hoof health and technology to keep their equines moving forward. Because of this, the AAPF has a Continuing Education (CE) program where participating farriers of all levels of accreditation are required to obtain 24 CE credits per year. These credits can be earned at clinics, conventions, symposiums, and other events that the AAPF has worked with. The website will keep a record of each member’s credits for easy recordkeeping.
"The AAPF/CAPF continues to find new ways to make Continuing Education credits available to its members,” says Bryan Quinsey, Executive Director of the AAPF. “In addition to clinics, CE credits are available for reading books, reports and articles, watching webinars, and by serving as a mentor or mentee through our mentoring program. The association is working to make CE credits accessible in a variety of formats to fit every member’s needs, time constraints, and budgets."
In order to keep members in the know, and to help further their education, the AAPF works with the American Farriers Journal, which is completely devoted to proper hoof care and published eight times a year. Anyone can become a subscriber to the American Farriers Journal—farriers, veterinarians, or horse owners interested in knowing all about the equine hoof.
For more information, go to the AAPF website: http://professionalfarriers.com.