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British Army Farriery Competition

Date: 3rd November 2017 - 5th November 2017

To be held at the Army School of Farriery

Defence Animal Training Regiment

Asfordby Road

Melton Mowbray


LE13 0HX


JUDGE: Mr Stephen Hill FWCF


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Army Farriers have gathered to showcase their skills at the annual British Army Shoeing Competition held at the Army School of Farriery, Melton Mowbray.


The competition marked as one of the major events in the Farriery calendar takes place over three-days. The first day of competition was open to military personnel only and was split into apprentices and seniors. Ex-Military and Registered Civilian Farriers from across the UK competed in the final two days of the competition.


First to showcase their craft were the Junior Army Apprentices who are in their first or second year of training. Their challenge was to make one front and one hind shoe from concave steel in 50 minutes.


Next to enter the forge were the senior Army apprentices who had to produce two shoes, one from flat steel and one from concave steel.


Both classes were timed against the clock and were meticulously judged by Stephen Hill from the Fellowship of the Worshipful Company of Farriers. 


Apprentice Farrier Trooper Ben Moore who was hoping to hammer out a winning shoe said: “I’d never been near a horse before I joined the Army six and a half years ago. It was watching the horses getting shod that really made me want to become a farrier.  I just found it interesting watching them work with steel.”


A member of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment he continued: “It’s been a good competition and whilst we are all competing against one another we also wish one another well. There is great banter and it’s an opportunity to learn so much from each other, simply by watching and listening.”


The third competition saw farriers including ex-military Farriers make, fit, and nail a three quarter fullered fore shoe using flat bar steel in just 55 minutes.


Lance Corporal Rhys Crimmins qualified as a farrier earlier this year and is based in London with the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.


He said: “When I was an apprentice I went to every competition I could because you can learn so much at competitions. You can talk to other farriers and learn what they would have done differently to you.  You also get the feedback from the judge, good and bad. Its important we talk to one another so that we can stay up to date on techniques and equipment, learn from each other and then go and try out different ideas for ourselves.”


The competition carried on through the weekend when civilian farriers competed against military personnel including military farriers from the Household Cavalry and Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery in the Open Hunter Class and Open Therapeutic Class.


Competition organiser and Army Farrrier WO2 Chris McCabe said the prestigious competition was an opportunity for the farriers to display their skill, knowledge, training and techniques. He said: ““It’s been a great competition with great examples of horseshoeing and shoemaking skills.


The farrier role is open to both men and women. It takes three-years of training to qualify during which time the soldiers are taught the metal work skills needed to make and adapt a shoe to the shape of the horses’ hooves and how to fit shoes safely. They also learn about horses’ anatomy and how to diagnose and treat common health problems. All qualified farriers are awarded the Worshipful Company of Farriers Diploma..


The use of horse in the Army dates back to the First World War when around one million horses were sent into combat. Today Farriers support the horses in their important ceremonial role as part of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.


Visit the Photo Gallery for images from the day!

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