AN UNLICENSED Doncaster blacksmith has been saddled with a bill for more than £3,000 – after his sixth conviction for illegally shoeing horses.
Stephen Arnold, aged 54, has never been a registered farrier but, despite heavy fines over the past 14 years, has not been deterred from carrying on the unlicensed trade.
Investigators from the prosecuting body, the Farriers Registration Council, said Arnold was constantly ‘on their radar’.
Arnold, of St Cecilia’s Road, Belle Vue, Doncaster, was found guilty of having carried out unlawful farriery in the Yorkshire Wolds last summer.
Under the Farriers Registration Act 1975, it is a criminal offence for anyone other than a registered farrier, approved farriery apprentice, or veterinary surgeon to shoe a horse.
To qualify for registration as a farrier – a highly skilled profession – people must complete a four-year-and-two-month advanced apprenticeship with an approved training farrier, and pass the Diploma of the Worshipful Company of Farriers examination.
Sarah Mills told Beverley Magistrates’ Court: “The Register of Farriers is administered by the Farriers Registration Council and it is council policy to pursue a private prosecution when sufficient evidence is available.
“Arnold is neither a registered farrier nor an approved apprentice.”
The magistrates were told that, on August 30 last year, Arnold undertook farriery on a horse at premises in the village of Huggate, by removing its rear shoes and nailing new shoes to the four hoofs of the same horse.
Arnold has had five previous convictions for illegal farriery dating back to 1999, with others in 2000, 2001 and two in 2009, one of which was committed at Belton, near Doncaster.
Ms Mills said: “We became aware of the latest offence as a result of enquiries made by a council investigator.
“He is on our radar due to his past.”
Arnold did not attend court and was convicted in his absence.
Magistrates fined him the maximum penalty of £1,000 . He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs in the sum of £2,276.80.
The FRC says unregistered persons engaging in farriery are breaking the law and any horse owner choosing to use an unregistered person may compromise the welfare of their horse and could incur additional shoeing bills to correct the effects of poor workmanship.
Arnold was not available for comment.