We are only half way through January and already it has been a busy start to the year, with lots more dates already in the diary for the coming months.
In February Nigel will be competing at the World Horseshoeing Classic in Kentucky which is an international four man team competition. He will be in a team alongside Billy Crothers, Mark Evans and Ryan Mcdonald against 17 others from across the world in a competition held over three gruelling days. It’s a long way to go, he shoes horses every and it requires a lot of additional hours in the forge so, why compete?
It’s fun. The forge at a team practise is full of bad jokes and leg-pulling so we would be lying if we told you he didn’t enjoy it, but surely there is more to it?
Farriers that compete scrutinise their work to within a millimetre. They share their individual approaches to a specific shoeing job, discuss new ideas for approaching a misshapen foot or specific ailment, and exchange experiences. Whilst a plethora of machine made shoes are available on the market, regularly making shoes from bar stock hones forging skills so that a farrier can make or adapt any shoe to suit any horse for a specific need. No two horses feet are the same. In addition, qualified farriers often work on their own or in small groups and so competitions facilitate communication and learning from each other. Such is the educational value of farriery competitions, they are recognised by the Farriers Registration Council as a valuable contribution toward continuing professional development (CPD).
Apprentices that train with us are actively encouraged to compete. In addition to the reasons already outlined, competitions prepare an apprentice for working within a time limit and under pressure which is perfect preparation for their final examinations.
What does this mean for our clients? Essentially it is a show of our commitment to consistently achieving the highest standard possible. Whilst farriery competitions are not the only way in which this can be achieved (which is why Nigel also commits to a broader range of CPD activities throughout the year) it is one way in which our work can be judged and we learn from others, so we might as well have fun along the way!
Kentucky will be one of a few competitions that Nigel will be taking part in this year. Emily and Nigel both have an entry for the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment’s annual farriery competition “Cavalry Black Pairs” on the 23rd February.
Wish us luck – we’ll try to keep you posted along the way!