So this is a question I see asked time and time again, so I felt it was time I answered it from my point of view.
Why does anyone go and get qualifications in their chosen career? I think personally to gain knowledge past what they already know, to ensure they are up to date with the latest research, to built a peer group who they can turn to for advice.
You know it’s no different in the horse world, we have a whole set of issues due to the fact that it’s an art that has been around for a very long time, by this I mean that there are still people who are doing things “the old way” because old Joe down the road did it for years, now don’t get me wrong there is often a lot to be learnt from these horsemen and women but there are also things that need to be put to sleep, we move forward generally because we discover a better and often safer way of doing things, an example would be that when I was younger and working for one of the top high goal polo yards, it was common practice to pin fire and blister all the horses at the end of the season, I hated it and can still remember hearing the horses pouring all night from the pain it caused, as years have gone by they have realised that not only is it fairly barbaric but it doesn’t really work anyhow, now we could say oh well, we did it for years so it must work, or we could listen to the qualified vets and say ok this wasn’t a good idea, we have found a better way of doing this and we can move on.
Another problem we have in the horse world is that it seems people will often say they are qualified, when pushed for evidence they will then come out with some comment like “I’ve been doing it for twenty years, that’s qualification enough” well no it’s not, I wouldn’t go to an unqualified practitioner just because he’d been doing it for twenty years, and here’s why! When you hold no qualification, you have the luxury of not being answerable to anyone or anything, by this I mean you have no one pulling you up for your mistakes, and due to this it seems to the general public that you have never caused any injury to any animal you have treated, but this isn’t the case, these unqualified people slip through the net as they have no way to prosecute them.
So I will fill you in on how you check out someone credentials. To be a qualified Master Farrier you must be registered with the Master Farriers Assoc, it is not illegal to call yourself a Master Farrier, or Master anything for that matter, because to call yourself a “Master” purely means YOU consider yourself to be a Master of that trade. What you can’t say is you have a Masters in it, or advertise yourself as a member. To be an Equine Chiropractor you have to be either a qualified human Chiropractor or Osteopath who has done a post grad in animals or be a vet who has done a veterinary chiropractic course, If you are not either of those you cannot be qualified, you can look animal Chiropractors up with the AACA. To be a qualified Equine Bodyworker you can be trained through several bodies but anyone worth their salt will be registered with either the IEBWA or the ETAA. Equine Dentists are registered with the EDAA and Saddle Fitters I believe are either with the Master saddlers association or ASFA.
All of these associations can be found on the internet. Just bear in mind, if someone has no qualifications it means they can not be insured, and should they injure your horse, you have no comeback, you have no way of getting help through a registered body and no way of getting any fees you incur for injury to your horse.
Food for thought.