The Respondent, Dr Mark Nathan Caldwell PhD FWCF of Church Lawton, Staffordshire, appeared before the Disciplinary Committee (the Committee) of the Farriers Registration Council (the Council) to answer the charges set out in the Notice of Inquiry dated 6 July 2021.

Charges and Findings of Fact made by the Committee

“That, being registered under the Farriers (Registration) Act 1975 (as amended) (“the Act”):

A. On or around 25 October 2019, during a presentation given by you at a farriery clinic in Sanford, North Carolina, USA, you:

(i) Made a comment to the effect that you had wanted to be a gynaecologist, and/or that if any women in the audience would like you to inspect their genitalia, you would oblige them; Proved

(ii) Asked for a female volunteer from the audience and:

   (a) asked that volunteer to walk around the room and encouraged members of the audience to “check her out”; Proved and/or

   (b) ran at that volunteer so that she ran away from you, at which point you commented to the effect that women often ran away from you and/or that you wished she had not run away; Proved

(iii) Asked women in the audience to stand up and walk around, and made comments about women wearing high heels to make their legs and “backsides” more attractive to men; Proved

(iv) Made comments to the effect that the early hours of the morning were a good time for a man to ask a woman to come home with him, as she would be more willing to take off her clothes as she was so tired of wearing high heels; Proved

(v) Put up a slide of a stripper or pole dancer on a pole; Proved

(vi) Commented that the stripper or pole dancer was your “standard for your apprentices” or words to that effect; Not proved

(vii) Asked two male volunteers to raise their shirts to show their bodies, and commented on their respective builds; Proved

(viii) Asked a male volunteer to lie on the floor, and when he did so, put a foot on his stomach; Proved

(ix) Asked for a male volunteer from the audience to come to the stage, where you continuously kicked apart his legs and feet. Proved

B. In or around August 2017, during a presentation given by you at a farriery clinic in Bonner Springs, Kansas, USA, you:

(i) Used offensive language and/or swear words; Proved

(ii) Made a comment to the effect that if any women in the audience would like you to inspect their genitalia, you would oblige them; Proved

(iii) Asked a female volunteer from the audience to put herself in a “push up” or “all fours” position on the floor, and commented with a sexual innuendo when she did so; Proved

C. Your conduct in A and/or B above was:

(i) With regards to all the above, inappropriate and/or offensive and/or unprofessional; Proved

(ii) With regards to A(i), A(ii), A(iii), A(iv), A(v), A(vi), B(ii) and/or B(iii), sexual in nature; Proved

(iii) With regards to A(ii), A(iii), A(vii), A(viii) A(ix) and/or B(iii) potentially or actually embarrassing and/or humiliating to the volunteer in question. Charge C(iii) in relation to charges A(ii)(a) and (b) and A(iii) is found proved in relation to the conduct alleged being potentially embarrassing and/or humiliating but is not proved in relation to the conduct being actually embarrassing and/or humiliating.

And that in relation to the facts alleged above, whether individually or in any combination, you are guilty of serious misconduct in a professional respect.”

The above charges are brought under section 15(1)(a) of the Act.

Decision of the Committee on Serious Misconduct in a Professional Respect

The Committee considered that the Respondent, a highly experienced and internationally renowned farrier, was in a position of responsibility when he was conducting the clinics in question in the United States. He would have been looked upon as an informed role model. The Committee considered that his conduct was likely to have contributed to a less inclusive environment in the farriers’ community for women. The Committee considered that the Respondent was a role model for other farriers as well as being seen as representing the profession by other professionals. His conduct was likely to tarnish his reputation, and the reputation of the profession.

The Committee found that the Respondent’s conduct was inappropriate and/or offensive and/or unprofessional, and in many cases was sexual in nature. It was not limited to a single incident or event; sexual references which demeaned women were a consistent feature throughout two events. Further, the Respondent had an opportunity after receiving feedback in 2017, to reflect on and amend his conduct, but failed to do so.

The Committee noted that the Respondent admitted that he would have behaved differently in front of a larger and more formal audience at the BEVA (British Equine Veterinary Association) conference. The Committee did not accept conduct of this kind was appropriate in any professional setting. In the judgement of the Committee, its task is to uphold the standards and reputation of the farriery profession, and the Committee has no doubt that the Respondent’s conduct has fallen well below the standard to be expected from a reasonably competent farrier. The Committee considered that the Respondent’s conduct had the potential to bring the reputation of the profession into disrepute at a national and international level.

Having regard to all these factors, the Committee, in its judgement, was firmly of the view that, on the basis of the facts found proved, the Respondent has been guilty of serious misconduct in a professional respect.

Decision of the Committee on Sanction

The Committee noted that the Respondent admitted at the outset of the hearing that some aspects of the allegation were factually accurate and in poor taste but denied that they crossed the threshold to being unprofessional, inappropriate or offensive. It further noted that during the course of the hearing, the Respondent accepted that most of the charges were factually correct and that some aspects of his behaviour had been inappropriate. He denied that his behaviour was unprofessional.

The Committee took into account that the Respondent had offered an apology to the complainants and told the Committee he has since amended the content of his presentations. It noted the many testimonials submitted by his Counsel which attested to his good character and leadership in the profession.

The Committee considered that the Respondent’s insight into his misconduct has developed somewhat over the course of this investigation and the hearing. It came to this conclusion having heard the Respondent accepting during cross-examination that aspects of his conduct were inappropriate. However, the Respondent maintained that his conduct was not unprofessional and disputed that much of it was offensive. The Committee therefore considers that his insight remains incomplete.


The Committee considered whether the public interest in this case could be met by directing that the registration of the Respondent be suspended. It concluded that a short period of suspension is necessary to communicate to the profession and the wider public that such behaviour is entirely inappropriate in a professional setting. It therefore directed that the Respondent’s registration should be suspended for a period of two months. During this period, the Respondent will have an opportunity to reflect on his misconduct and its implications for the reputation of the farriery profession both nationally and internationally.

Both findings and sanction are subject to appeal. The determination and decision of the DC may be read in full at Farriers Registration Council : (farrier-reg.gov.uk)

The Chair of the FRC, Mr Tom Smith FWCF GradDipELR, commented:

"The conduct displayed by Dr Caldwell was abusive towards both men and women, and has the potential to cause great damage to the inclusivity that the farriery profession continually works hard to foster. Dr Caldwell’s conduct brought shame on the reputation of British farriery; his seniority, holding the highest qualifications in the profession, and international renown should have caused him to behave as a role model, and enhance the reputation of the profession rather than tarnishing it on, quite literally, the world stage. Dr Caldwell’s conduct brought about the issue of a global statement with regard to employees and participants being free from harassment at education, training and working events related to the practise of farriery. The statement was endorsed by many farriery bodies globally, and by the Farriers Registration Council in Great Britain.

Together with those responsible for recruiting and training the farriers of tomorrow – Approved Training Farriers and College Training Providers – we shall ensure that abusive behaviours of the kind exhibited in this case do not deter anyone, female or male, from pursuing a career in farriery; this decision proves that those who do behave in such a way shall be held to account.”

Notes for Editors:

Background – The DC of the FRC

The DC is a statutory judicial body that draws its authority from primary legislation (The Farriers (Registration) Act 1975, 1977 & 2017), and from secondary legislation (The DC Rules SI 700/1976). Under the 2017 Act the DC is operated independently of the Council, no individual may serve on both the Council and the DC, and the Council plays no part in deciding complaints brought against Registered Farriers.

Background – Regulation of Farriery

Farriery is a regulated profession, the relevant primary legislation is the Farriers Registration Act, and a farrier must be registered to practise in Great Britain. The Act allows only Registered Farriers, Enrolled Farriery Apprentices, Veterinary Surgeons or Veterinary Trainees, or persons giving first aid in an emergency situation, to practice farriery. For others to do so is a criminal offence which can result in a fine of up to £1,000, legal costs and a criminal record. Notwithstanding the Police lead for criminal matters, the Farriers Registration Council (FRC) may take out private prosecutions against unregistered persons where it is in the public interest to do so, and there is a realistic prospect of a conviction on the evidence available.

Risks to Horses and their Owners

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 an animal owner has a duty of care to provide for the needs of their horse or pony. Using an unregistered person to attend to their horses’ feet may invalidate any insurance in the event that something goes wrong which causes the animal to suffer. The owner may also be liable to investigation and possible prosecution for aiding and abetting a criminal act.

Farrier Training

Farriers must complete a lengthy Approved Apprenticeship to gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to succeed as a professional farrier. Farriery Apprentices must pass an approved examination, the Diploma of the Worshipful Company of Farriers (DipWCF), which is globally recognised before being registered with the FRC. Farriery is a hard, physical but rewarding vocation for men and women, involving forging, assessing the needs of the equine, hoof trimming and making and fitting horseshoes.

How Horse Owners and the Public can check

It is easy to check if a farrier is registered as they are issued with an annual Registration Card and a vehicle window sticker. The simplest way of checking that a farrier is registered is to ask to see a farrier’s registration card, or alternatively check the FRC’s website at www.farrier-reg.gov.uk and click on ‘find a farrier’, alternatively telephone the FRC office on 01733 319911. Approved Apprentices are also issued with an annual registration card.

If a horse owner, or member of the public, witnesses an alleged act of illegal farriery, which may or may not include the use of an illegal assistant (i.e. an assistant who is not an Enrolled Apprentice or a Registered Farrier) it should be reported to the FRC. Immediate animal welfare concerns should be directed to the RSPCA, SSPCA or a Veterinary Surgeon.

Further information can be provided on request, and a telephone interview may be arranged with the Registrar, by contacting the Council via telephone (01733 319911) or by e-mail at frc@farrier-reg.gov.uk

Yours sincerely


Brigadier D J Greenwood