I do have a point to make here. It doesn't matter where you trained, or what your credentials are or if you just shoe or just do barefoot.
While I understand your point, I would have to disagree in the context of farriery. Privately owned farrier schools in the United States are not subject to minimum state secondary educational requirements nor are any of them accredited. There is wide variation in the quality of these schools. Some are very good. Some are little more than "diploma mills". Where a farrier trains can make a huge difference in the skills and academic knowledge they acquire.
Who you are and how you practice is what matters. Do you really know what you are doing? A piece of credentialing paper doesn't always prove that! Do you care? Do you read the latest research? Do you take time to educate owners?
I agree that all of these things matter a great deal. That said, the foundational training has to be there, regardless how well intentioned, ethical or hard working the practitioner. Farriery is not something that can easily be self taught. In fact, without a proper foundation of training, the process can be dangerous to the horse, the owner and the practitioner.
In the field I'm in (RN) there are nurses I wouldn't let touch me and some I would let do surgery on me! They all had the same schooling and have a license to practice. Same goes for doctors and I think farriers too.
Ah, now you've made my point for me.
Yes! Nurses, doctors and other professionals are, to a large extent, subject to much the same schooling and licensing. While there are certainly broad variations in that schooling and licensing requirement, there are also well recognized minimal standards that every graduate must complete in any given state.
Those same "standards" and certainly licensing are absolutely NOT available or even required of farriers. That's a huge and critical difference! Even the certifications vary to some extent. The AFA is the only credentialing authority that provides a reasonable approximation of objective examination. No farriers are required to stand for those exams. They are completely voluntary and probably one of the better gauges by which horse owners can measure at least a minimum of practitioner skill.
Personally, I wish state licensing was required and that said licensing required AFA certification for any practicing farrier. It still doesn't guarantee great quality, but it would guarantee the person had to meet some minimum standard at least once in their life.
It's about who you are. If you want to be great, you can be, no matter what your profession. So I hate just grouping "barefoot" people on one side and "farriers" on the other. Why don't we just call them "hoof practitioners"?
There's a good reason why we don't lump trimmers and farriers into a single category of practice. The reason is because the training and service delivery expectation levels are vastly different.
While both a trimmer and a farrier could conceivably possess the same level of academic knowledge, the trimmer will, by definition, fall vastly short in the practical application of that knowledge. Even the very best trimmer will simply not have the tools, the skill or the experience to do anything except trim a horse. At best, their toolset and practical skill application is limited to the first two weeks curriculum of even the worst farriery schools.
There's nothing personal about such observations. It is simply an objective, measurable, irrefutable fact.
A good farrier should suggest barefoot if it is right for the horse.
No need to suggest a farrier "should" do this. I believe it would be impossible to find a full service farrier that doesn't carry barefoot horses on their books. All farriers suggest barefoot if it is either appropriate or simply required by the owner. In fact, many farriers, particularly part-timers, tend more barefoot horses than shod.
The salient point is that farriers can and do attend both barefoot and shod horses because... they can. A professional farrier should and is expected to have the knowledge, the tools and the skill to do both.
A good barefoot trimmer should suggest shoes if it's right for the horse.
Because by definition, both their practice and marketing agenda is based on a flawed philosophy that shoeing a domesticated horse is in all circumstances deleterious to the health, performance and well being of the animal.
You cannot build a business around such philosophy then recommend a horse may need shoes. Shoeing a horse is either deleterious or it is not. Either the horse can remain sound and meet performance expectations while barefoot, or the philosophy/marketing is false.
So if they cannot recommend horseshoes, how can they "save face" with the customer who pays the bills?
Why do they recommend hoof boots in such situations?
Because they possess neither the skill, the experience or the tools to shoe a horse.
In other words, they get to keep trimming the horse and collecting a paycheck while you, the horse owner, get to also pay for and perform the labor associated with applying what is basically... a rubber horseshoe.
How did you get stuck doing this? Because it's the only way the practitioner can keep you as a customer. They're hoping the hoof boot solves the problem and they're also hoping you won't notice or mention that putting a rubber boot on a horse seems contrary to the whole "natural is better" philosophy.
After all, we've yet to see a mare deliver a foal wearing hoof boots nor have I noticed any feral horse herds running the Otera Basins of New Mexico in a pair of Easyboot Epics.
That's what it is all about in my book.
Might want to edit that book. What it's really about are some people that want to earn a paycheck trimming horses but either can't or don't want to invest the money, energy and time in learning the much harder part of managing the domestic horses hoofcare needs. Worse, our government allows them to get away with it. Even worse still, horse owners allow them to get away with it.
It's akin to someone dropping out of medical school in the first year but still insisting they should be allowed to practice medicine because all anyone ever needs is an aspirin.
The only reason the scam works is because a lot of horses can, in fact, get by with nothing but a trim. Most of that is because the majority of horse owners don't really ask much of their animals. Raise the performance stakes and that changes quickly. Let something go wrong and it changes even faster.