It happens every year: dozens of nations send teams of farriers to the forge in Stoneleigh, England to compete in the 34th International Team Farrier Competition. In the farrier world, this is a very big deal: national honor is at stake and the dominance of certain countries over the history of event make this a proving ground for nations who want to show that they just might be able to beat the English, Welsh and Scots at their own game.
Come to think of it, the Welsh and Scots are trying to prove that they can beat the English, too. And some years, they do.
But this year is different. There are changes going on in British farriery at all levels, which will be explained in a later article. But even the British team has a rookie in its ranks.
If you were at Stoneleigh today, you would have seen the well-organized Canadian team, which enjoyed excellent post-Calgary publicity. Aaron Steves, the first team member from New Brunswick, was featured on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's national radio and the Shaw television network, and we have a little clip to share. He's been kindly reporting on Facebook this weekend.
With Aaron in England are two veteran Canadian Team members, Tom Barnett and Randy Brassard, along with newcomer Travis Buck, all from Ontario. Alternate is Dan Corkery, also from Ontario.
The British team has possibly the greatest depth in the world. They can choose from world champions, national champions, European champions, and there is a long list of veterans who have been to Stoneleigh before and can stay calm in the face of defending the nation's honor.
So why would a farrier who has only been qualified for a year and a half earn a place on the team? He just must be that good.
Watch the Hoof Blog and the Hoofcare and Lameness Facebook Page for news on how all the nations--including the USA--do at Stoneleigh this year.
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