MFA NSW History

Whilst the art of Farriery is age old, it was only 1906 in NSW when farriery was declared a registered trade and The Master Farriers Association of NSW was formed with 300 founding members. 

With the advent of the First World War, many farriers were inducted into the Army as Farrier Sergeants and taught members of the Light Horse Brigade to tend their own mounts for preparation for their overseas duties. After the war, some of the sergeants chose to use their expertise differently and became veterinarians. Today, becoming a vet requires completion of a 6 year university course. 

In the late 40's, following World War 2, the growing use of motor vehicles caused a flow on effect of reduced need for farriers. Apprenticeships fell to an all time low of 6 or 7. The turnaround came in the 60's as there was an upsurge in horse riding as society changed and trotting and race meetings became more frequent. Consequently employment for farriers increased. 

1987 saw the fruition of many years of toil by the Association and a technical college course for apprentices was started at the Sydney Technical College at Ultimo. The course continues to cover all facets of the trade:- welding; tool making; intensive veterinary study of horse legs; all types of shoeing for all types of situations and horses. The students are also kept abreast of new methods and materials available. The Association believes that by ensuring the apprentices complete such a comprehensive course and practical experience, this will benefit both the horses and the owners. 

It is important that all horses - be they ponies, racehorses, jumpers, dressage, trotters, work, sporting or pleasure horses; be shod by a competent tradesperson. Damage caused by an incompetent, untrained person can leave the horse uncomfortable and possibly lead to lameness or cause permanent damage even if at the time of shoeing there is no apparent damage. A fully trained and competent farrier can detect problems in a horse's foot and alleviate them by correct shoeing before the problem becomes a major concern. Farriers play a most important role in the horse world and, properly trained, are invaluable to the owner or trainer with the knowledge and skill they possess. A farrier with such training can usually get a horse with minor injury or problem to race or event using corrective shoeing. To ensure quality of work, race clubs insist on only qualified, registered and licensed persons to attend race meetings for shoeing, plating and inspection of racehorses. 

Our association feels that all horses - sporting, pleasure, ponies or work horses should all be afforded the same benefits from a qualified, registered farrier and we are constantly working towards this aim. We strongly believe that four years practical, hands-on training combined with two and a half years of technical schooling will return to the trade apprentices that ensure that this age old craft remains what is THE ART OF THE FARRIER. 

For further particulars about registered Farriers in your area, please contact the Secretary of the Master Farriers Association of New South Wales.

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