Herefordshire farriers and blacksmiths show off skills at Rural Craft Centre's national Shoeing and Shoemaking Competition

Ryan McDonald hard at work.

David Symmonds with winners of the master and apprentice competition Nigel Brown (ATF) and Alastair Evans (HLC Apprentice).

First published in News
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Hereford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy News Editor

HEREFORDSHIRE and Ludlow College specialist the Rural Craft Centre has hosted its national Shoeing and Shoemaking competition, attracting more than 150 farriers and blacksmiths from across the UK to its Holme Lacy Campus.

This year is the event's twentieth anniversary, with the prize ceremony opened by one of its founders David Symmonds, who said it is just as important now as it was then.

The competition gives the opportunity for young apprentice farriers to show off their skills and for master farriers to showcase their craft.

It also keeps the Approved Training Farriers in touch with their apprentices’ training facilities.

In addition, Stromsholm ran a seminar at the campus the day before the competition.

Featuring some of the biggest names in the industry, many spectators got to see skills first-hand.

A series of competitions ran throughout the day, with prizes donated by Arthur Cottam and Co, Jim Blurton, Mustad, Strömsholm, Billy Crothers, Forge and Farrier, Silverback Chaps, and Pegasus Horse Shoes.

Team leader for Rural Crafts, Charlotte Gibb, said: “It was excellent to see such a good turnout.

“There was strong competition in all classes, which showcased the high level of skill demanded by the farriery industry.

“It was great to have our two new tutors this year, Alan Woodyatt AWCF and Danny Bennett AWCF. All team members have done a fantastic job.”

Thirty pairs competed in the master and apprentice shoemaking category, judged by Wayne Preece FWCF. First place and the Hereford School of Farriery Shield went to Nigel Brown and Alistair Evans, second to Jim Blurton and Lyle Evans and third to David Smith and Joshua Miller.

Alistair Evans, who completed the Farriery Access course at Holme Lacy and is now on the Advanced Apprenticeship in Farriery at the School of Farriery and is based with ATF Nigel Brown in Pandy, near Abergavenny, said: “I am surprised to have won as this is my first competition and I’m in my first year as an apprentice.

“Competing with Nigel was really good fun and I’ll definitely come back again next year once I have a few more competitions under my belt.”

Thirty pairs took part in the master and apprentice live shoeing category, judged by Ian Allison AWCF and David Symmonds FWCF Hons.

First place and the Capewell Challenge Shield went to Jim Blurton and Rhodri Thomas, second to Richard Spence and Chris Goddard and third to Luke Silcock and Hamish Glyn.

Ten farriers entered the Strömsholm Challenge Eagle Eye competition, producing superb fitting quality forged shoes in just one hour.

Judged by Danny Bennett AWCF, winner David Smith received an anvil and anvil stand, donated by Strömsholm.

Fifteen students entered the Live Forging competition judged by Charlotte Gibb. First place, a tool set and a decorative ironwork book went to Farriery access student Nicholas Johnsey.

Farriery Tutor and Competition Organiser, Doug Wrenn Dip WCF, said: “Thanks to competitors and supporters. Thanks also go to the sponsors without whose generous support this would not be possible."

“This year we had full capacity in the farriery events and this has shown a great industry support for the Farriery and Blacksmithing training that we deliver at Holme Lacy.

“A special thank you should also be made to HLC’s blacksmithing and farriery students for their hard work throughout the day.”

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