The United Kingdom Horse Shoers Union

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Tears for Two Timing Terry

A complaint by Terry Hargreaves against fellow farrier Peter Baker has been thrown out by the FRC Investigating Committee. Hargreaves, an elected farrier member of the FRC, made a formal complaint against Peter Baker after reading a message on the Horses Mouth Discussion Board at www.ukhsu.com. Hargreaves alleged that the posting, made on 13th October 2005 under the topic “FRC election of Working Farriers“, amounted to an act of "Deformation of Character in stating he was biased on the FRC Disciplinary Committee in the way he questioned farriers".

The actual words used by Mr Baker were as follows:

“Terry is the one that needs most of all to come on line. I have told him so. The reason about which he knows my feelings that after close to ten years in office he hasn't and still isn't communicating with his electorate.
“Several members of UKHSU have expressed their dismay along with our legal representative about the way he questions the accused members of his craft at disciplinary hearings, which on several occasions I have been a witness.
“If there is no other reason for him coming on line it would be prudent for him to explain his reasons for such questioning of his peers at their lowest ebb.”

In a letter from the FRC it says that "The committee considered that in the context of an election it was not unreasonable for the participants to express views or report opinions which may not be acceptable to those concerned. Whether any such comments may be defined as deformation of character could only be decided by a court of law.”

Hargreaves made no attempt to communicate with Peter to discuss the matter. Both were standing in the FRC elections at the time, though not against each other, and both were elected. To use the Disciplinary system to settle what would appear to be a personal grievance would appear to be unprofessional conduct in itself. It is bound to be asked whether Hargreaves is a fit person to represent farriers on the FRC and especially to sit on the Disciplinary Committee when he is so ready to abuse the system to attack a fellow farrier.

Peter Baker comments “The comments made were an honest and accurate observation based on my experience of attending meetings. At no stage did I say or even suggest Hargreaves was or is biased. Several farriers that have for varying reasons been before Disciplinary Committee have had reason to comment on how poorly Hargreaves questioned them. The Disciplinary system causes great hardship to those unfortunate farriers who are caught up in it. It is a serious matter which Terry should be concerned about and willing to discuss. I am saddened that he was not man enough to deal with any perceived slight by talking to me and that he failed to respond to UKHSU's attempts at mediation.“

Will Terry Hargreaves now resign from the FRC? He can hardly enjoy the confidence or trust of his colleagues after such an episode. If he fails to resign his seat, it may well be that he should be put on a disciplinary charge / be subject of a complaint, to let him know what it feels like to have to defend himself and experience the stressful situation. This could well demonstrate to others that the FRC disciplinary process should be concentrated towards poor workmanship and animal cruelty and not be used in the way it has currently been allowed to develop. If he goes it is unclear whether a new election would be called or whether the place would be taken by the runner up in the election, West Country farrier Rob Lowe.

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