Each candidate should be judged by at least two examiners independently. There will be a minimum of a Senior Examiner and Second Examiner at each exam that will judge all the candidate’s work.
At the beginning of the exam, the candidate may call the examiner to see the feet prior to shoeing. They may discuss the type of shoeing appropriate for the horse. The candidate must also state at this time the type of fit that will be applied to the horse. It must be specific as to the amount of expansion and extension that the candidate intends to leave on the horse.
The judging is broken down into 4 distinct categories. These are:
- Foot Preparation.
- Shoe quality.
- Shoe fit.
The first three will be judged during the time, with finish being judged after the time limit has elapsed. Each category will be judged on a scale from 1 to 10, with a 7 being considered a passing score. In order to pass this portion of the exam, a candidate must have a composite score of 28. The candidate does not have to have a minimum of 7 in each category to continue, however an examiner can stop a candidate at any time for any reason. Examples of reasons to be stopped would be trimming that is detrimental to the animal, a shoe that is detrimental to the animal, abuse of the animal, a candidate that is unruly, etc.
During the exam, the candidate will either call for judging, or have their horse-holders call for the judge. Each phase of the job should be complete before the examiner is called. For instance, when the candidate calls to have the shoe fit judged, there should be no sole pressure. You will often have a candidate say, “I was going to remove it before I nailed.” but that is unacceptable.
There are 3 reasons that any horse will fail, regardless of the quality of the rest of the job. These are:
- Not covering a heel.
- Leaving sole pressure.
- Drawing blood on the sole or with a nail.
Sprung heels (lack of contact at the buttress of the foot and the heel of the shoe) were deemed a failure in the early days of the FITS exam. Sprung heels will cause a CF candidate to lose 1 point, and AFS candidates to lose 2 points per sprung heel.
It is the intention of this process that common-sense prevail in the judging of the FITS exams. No one has ever, or will ever, do a perfect job without flaws of any kind. To be an examiner, the person needs to be fair and unbiased, and posses skills that are superior to the level that they are judging. Candidates will be judged by someone that can teach and improve the level of the candidates through this process, making the job of examiner extremely important to the FITS community.