of Farriers Associations (EFFA)
The 2012 Annual General Meeting of the European Federation of Farriers Associations (EFFA) was held in Helsinki, Finland on 3 November. Fourteen nations were represented, with Malta attending for the first time.
On Friday, there was a social programme. It started with a visit to a historic brewery, from where horse drawn drays would deliver beer barrels around the city, then moved on to a tour of Helsinki in a private tram. After lunch, delegates and their partners were let loose in the smart shops of Helsinki.
On the Saturday, we had the AGM in the hotel. The President, Flemming Christensen (Denmark), opened the proceedings with a review of the year’s activities. Chief among these were: the assistance that EFFA had been able to provide to Algeria in developing its training programme and to Hungary in running a farriery competition; the agreement of a working relationship with the Federation of European Equine Veterinary Associations (FEEVA); and the very successful Eurochampionships hosted by Austria.
The Eurochampionships were held at Stadl Paura from 2 to 5 August, in conjunction with an event for Haflinger/Friesian horses. There were 55 competitors from 15 nations. The winner was Henrik Berger from Denmark, second place went to Gert jan Salm from the Netherlands, and in third place was David Varini from Great Britain.
Financially, EFFA is in good shape. The Treasurer, Andreas Furgler (Switzerland), was able to report a small surplus of €3000 for the year 2011/12, and forecast breakeven for 2012/13.
The Registrar, Miles Williamson-Noble (UK), reported that there had not been any Accreditation Board visits in 2012, but he was planning a visit to France in 2013 to look at its new training and examination system. The Czech delegation reported that their Government had recently recognised farriery as needing formal training, and had decided that all future farriery apprentices should follow a three year course based on the EFFA standards. The Spanish delegation reported that the only farriery school in Catalonia had now ceased operating, and it looked likely that there would not be any Government recognised training until the current financial situation had improved. The number registered as Certified Euro-Farriers in 2012 was the largest ever, and at over 1500 showed the value of the EFFA accreditation system.
Aksel Vibe (Norway) had been working on some new farriery competition rules, and the implications of these in deciding overall competition winners were discussed. One option was to base the final marks on the individual marks received in each stage of the competition, and the alternative was to award marks for places in each stage and to use these to determine the overall winner. Both options will be tried in parallel at various competitions during 2013, and the results will be compared and discussed further at the 2013 AGM.
Dates and hosts for future events were agreed:
· Educational Event
o 2013 Denmark, 17 to 20 October
o 2015 France, September
· European Championships
o 2014 United Kingdom
o 2016 Denmark
· Annual General Meeting
o 2013 Prague, 7 to 10 November
o 2014 Hungary
o 2015 Switzerland
Chris Oomen (Netherlands) reported on World Skills Europe 2012 which had taken place in Belgium. Unfortunately only 4 nations (Austria, France, Netherlands and Switzerland) had entered the farriery competition. Nils Bolt from Switzerland was the winner. Reasons for the low number of entries were the high entrance costs (€7500 per competitor), the fact that farriery was not a skill included in World Skills, and poor liaison between national skills organisations and the farriery associations in some countries. Delegates felt that better value for money would be achieved by EFFA running a separate competition for apprentice farriers, but noted that it was up to individual nations whether they entered the next World Skills Europe in Lille in 2014.
Flemming Christensen (Denmark) had decided to stand down as President on the grounds of ill health. Peter Frosch (Sweden) was elected to take his place, and Bernard Vessiller (France) was elected Vice President. Michael Kjaer (Denmark) and Gary Burton (UK) were both elected to the Executive Board.
At a dinner following the AGM, the new President, Peter Frosch, presented the outgoing President, Flemming Christensen, with an engraved glass bowl produced by a modern Finnish designer as a mark of his work in support of EFFA.