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Thinking about approaching the AWCF? Help is at hand with the BFBA AWCF course

this year’s BFBA AWCF course began in may and is fully subscribed. mark Watson AWCF who has developed this course has enlisted the very best of the best to teach the students. gill Harris went along to find out what the course involves.

Mr Watson began by welcoming the farriers with an explanation of how the course would run – a mixture of practical and theory sessions. The course comprises of 10 one-day modules (run at weekends), with half of the students attending each day, which means that they receive excellent tuition. It also means that each clinician gives up a weekend in order to share their knowledge. Mr Watson stressed that there was no obligation to sit the AWCF examinations at the end of the course, although he hoped that most would sit either the practical or theory section.

The first module was split into two half-day sections – theory with Mark Watson and shoemaking with gary Darlow. Mr Darlow got the students to practice basic shoemaking and discuss tool maintenance. In the theory part of the day, Mr Watson explained that the AWCF examination consists of a number of components:

◗ presentation of a shoe board of 10 shoes made prior to the examination.

◗ A two-hour practical examination, which consists of making and fitting a pair of shoes as instructed by the examiner to demonstrate skills.

◗ The modern farriery component, which may require candidates, for example, to demonstrate hoof repair or glue-on shoes.

◗ A two-and-a-half hour written paper – divided into three sections (anatomy, physiology and function, and farriery theory) comprising of six questions of which candidates must answer five.

◗ A 45-minute live horse and radiography assessment, which offers candidates


the chance to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of static and dynamic conformation and discuss a detailed shoeing plan.

The students said that they had a variety of reasons for enrolling – they wanted to know more about the AWCF, and they wanted to ‘understand more about farriery’ - to boost ‘self-esteem’ - and felt ‘ready to learn’, while others wanted to ‘improve their knowledge’ and ‘work with vets with confidence’.

ABouT The exAM

Advice on how to approach the exam and avoid pitfalls; what to do, what not to do and what ‘matters’ were among the essential top tips that the students were given, and Mr Watson also advised them what they would need to bring on the day. he discussed basic rules, timings, how to approach the written paper, how to read the questions and answer them correctly, how papers are marked (and who marks them), how to revise, and suggested useful books that the students would do well to purchase.


In their first session, the students were also introduced to conformation – the skeleton, muscle anatomy of the limb and the foot – viewing ideal front and hind limb anatomy, and they discussed what influenced conformation, such as breed, age, type of work, hereditary influences etc.


The course also includes homework to be completed before the next study day. on this occasion the students were asked to produce

Forge | August 2015

revision cards on conformation and read up on bones, ligaments, tendons, and stay and reciprocal apparatus. Their practical task would be to bring along the following shoes:

¾ fullered front (toe clipped) ¾ fullered hind (side clipped) Side clipped (rocker toe/easy breakover) front

And have a go at making a graduated shoe (front and hind)

reVISIon CArD on this occasion the format for producing revision cards for all conditions, ailments and pathologies:

Definition: A short concise explanation of what it is.

Anatomy: Where is it? What structures does it affect? Causes: What are the known causes? Signs: Clinical signs – what you can see or feel Radiographic signs – bony changes Diagnosis: normally from the clinical or radiographical signs Treatment: Farriery/veterinary Prognosis: long-term projected outcome

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