I have blogged about all of the students that would give me their life story, so I am left with having to write about other stuff. This blog will be about testing in the farrier industry. In particular the FITS Exam. FITS stands for Farrier’s International Testing System, and it is a test that is now being used in about 5 different countries.
The FITS came about when I was asked to write an exam for Brazil in 2010. Later, I was asked to write one for South Africa and The Association of Brazilian Farriers did not mind me using the same test. From there we went to the US, Australia and now I am headed to do the first one in Argentina. It has been the most amazing thing to watch what this has done for the horses and farriers of these countries.
There is a potential problem once the young farrier gets beyond the basic learning of how to shoe a horse. You get to a point in your career where shoeing is not as challenging and you don’t learn with the rapid pace and gusto that you did when you started. Humans love to learn. It is a basic fact of how we function. Once the early challenges are met and conquered, shoeing can become a bit mundane. It can become a job for some people. For me, I was blessed to be in a situation where it has always been a passion, and even the smallest advancement in skill or knowledge was celebrated.
I was at a roping just a couple of years ago and I heard the anvil ringing on the other side of a stall barn. I went over and said to the guy shoeing, “Love the sound of the anvil, thought I would come see what you’re doing.”
He grunted from under the horse and asked me, “You ever shoe a horse?”
“Yes sir, I do it for a living.” I answered, thinking I had found another fellow craftsman to share a few tales with.
“Well you ain’t shod enough of them if you still like that sound.” He said.
I told him to have a good day and walked off. He didn’t look as old as I am, and I sincerely doubt that he has picked up as many feet. He obviously did not love his trade, and the look of the horse’s feet on the ground were a testament to that. I have often wondered who that guy was, and what would have happened if he had been exposed to a clinic, contest, or given the challenge of learning enough to gain certification at any level. He might have stood up, shook my hand, and we could have had the conversation that usually happens when two passionate farriers meet in the wild. They share about the life they are blessed enough to get to live as a farrier.
So now the FITS has made it possible for even a small group of progressive farriers to host and have an exam. For some, it will become the exam of choice in their country. For others, it will be another challenge to pursue and learn from the process. It does open so many international doors. Today I am going to Argentina and Joe Yanish, CF, is going with me to take his FITS Certified Professional Farrier level exam. His first ever exposure to this side of farriery was last year when he took a short FITS course at Heartland Horseshoeing School and then got certified. He followed that up with the AFA CF exam, and he had the high practical score on the Certified horse last year. His borders have completely opened up.
I will do a FITS exam at El Picazo in Argentina this weekend with Fabio Furquim, ASF, from Brazil and Emilio Gionatti, ASF, from Argentina. Two weeks from now, we will have a FITS exam at Heartland Horseshoeing School with Bob Sim, ASF, from Australia, Cody Gregory, CJF, AWCF, ASF, and Dusty Franklin, CJF, ASF. Dusty will be just off a plane from doing a FITS exam in South Africa with Robbie Miller, ASF. It has become an amazing journey for a lot of amazing farriers.
If you have any desire of learning about the FITS, how it works, where it happens, and what you can do to be a part, don’t hesitate to contact me. Have a blessed week and I will write a few blogs about this week in South America.