Other equine professionals: who are they?
In the United Kingdom it is illegal for anyone, other than a registered farrier, to call themselves a farrier or carry out any farriery work due to the Farriers (Registration) Act 1975. There is a link to this act and to the Worshipful Company of Farriers website at the bottom of the page. The aim of the act is to “prevent and avoid suffering by and cruelty to horses arising from the shoeing of horses by unskilled persons”. The only other people permitted to carry out farriery procedures are vets.
Remedial farriery is often used alongside physiotherapy and I often work with farriers to achieve the best outcome for the horse.
The saddle must fit both horse and rider. If the saddle does not fit the rider correctly this can cause damage to the riders posture, resulting in back pain, and in turn have an effect on the horses back. If the saddle does not fit the horse correctly it can restrict movement of the shoulder and inflict pain on the back. The saddle is designed to distribute pressure evenly, but if it does not fit correctly or if the flocking has become too worn it may cause pressure points and resulting pain. Your saddle fitter will be able to assess if your saddle fits your horse correctly and in some cases may fix this by re-flocking.
Qualified Saddlers are trained and capable to skillfully make and repair saddlery, and fit the saddle correctly. They have completed a Level 3 City and Guilds Saddlery qualification, or a four-year apprenticeship working with alongside a qualified Master Saddler. A Master Saddler has either of the above qualifications, and has been in the trade for at least seven years.
I often see horses showing pain responses and change in muscle covering as a result of poor fitting saddles. We cannot expect our animal to perform well if they are in pain and if their saddle does not fit correctly it is likely that they are in considerable pain.
A horse’s teeth will never stop growing and because we feed them on good quality grass and hay, they do not wear down their teeth on coarse grass and forage as they would in the wild. Therefore we need equine dentists to maintain our horses’ teeth. It is key that the horse’s teeth are in good condition as we put the bit in their mouth. Equine dentists can use the teeth to predict the age of the horse.
To become an equine dentist most people start as an apprentice to a British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) or British Veterinary Dental Association (BVDA) qualified EDT or veterinary surgeon. After three years of apprenticeship you must complete the BEVA/BVDA theory and practical examination. Qualified EDTs must then register with the British Association of Equine Dental Technicians. There is a link to their website at the bottom of the page.
Your instructor will have an in depth knowledge of both you and your horse. Because of this they will often be the first to spot signs of discomfort, pain or performance issues. I will work closely with them to ensure your horse is progressing at the correct speed and further problems are quickly picked up on.
Please see the BHS website link at the bottom of the page for more information on their qualifications.
The Farriers (Registration) Act 1975 - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1975/35
The Worshipful Company of Farriers website - http://www.wcf.org.uk/
The British Association of Equine Dental Technicians website - http://www.baedt.com/
BHS website for more info on coaches and instructors - http://www.bhs.org.uk/education/equine-careers/coaching-and-instructing