Monday, 21 September 2009

"Equine Barefoot Care" NOS

For the uninitiated, "NOS" means national occupational standard, and a NOS is a benchmark setting a standard for training in a particular sector across the UK. So, for example, there are NOS in farriery and all farrier training within the UK, whichever college or trainer provides it, must cover the knowledge and skills set out in the NOS.

The last few months have seen LANTRA working both on revising the current Farriery NOS and on setting up a new NOS to cover barefoot hoofcare.

This involved farriery, veterinary and barefoot organisations working together on both standards, to establish common ground where possible, which was in itself a very valuable exercise. It was salutary to remind ourselves that we all have the welfare of the horse at the heart of what we do, and that actually when we kept that at the forefront, there was little disagreement, contrary to what the media and some of us practitioners expected :-)

Obviously, there are key differences as well, and whereas both NOS cover trimming, the farriery NOS then branches out into making and fitting shoes and all the metal and forgework which that requires. By contrast, the barefoot NOS then has detailed elements on environment, nutrition and exercise, all of which are such essential factors for barefoot performance.

The drafting of the NOS is nearly finished, and the new NOS, provisionally called "Equine Barefoot Care", to distinguish it from farriery, will be out for consultation from early October.

The final timescale is still not set in stone, but it looks as if we will have a standard sometime next year. The good news, for horse owners and students, is that the UKNHCP training already more than covers all the aspects set out in the NOS and will continue to do so :-)

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