Sunday, May 06, 2007

Martin Deacon Wins 2007 Farriers Prize at Badminton Horse Trials

At the prestigious (and grueling) Badminton Horse Trials in the Cotswold district of England this weekend, one of the world's best farrier competitions was held, and there were no anvils or forges in sight.

Each year, Badminton presents The Farriers Prize, which is a "Plaque to Owner and Farrier of the Best Shod Horse." As I recall, the horses put forward for the prize are inspected and evaluated by a representative of the Worshipful Company of Farriers.

In the past two years, the winners were Welsh farrier teammates and world champion competitive farriers, James Blurton and Billy Crothers. Another year, I remember the prize going to Sam Head, son of Mac Head FWCF, for his shoeing job on one of William Fox-Pitt's horses.

This year's winner was Top 12 finisher Sarah Cohen's Hide and Seek II, and the winning farrier was Martin Deacon FWCF of Leicestershire, England. Sarah was also the highest-placed British rider this year.

Martin is a very well-known farrier in Britain, and a stalwart of the Worshipful Company of Farriers. He is also the author of one of the most popular books sold in the Hoofcare and Lameness library; No Foot No Horse (Foot Balance: The Key to Soundness and Performance) is Martin's treatise on using conventional balance paradigms to shoe both correct and crooked-legged horses. Portions of the book have been reprinted as articles in Hoofcare and Lameness over the years.

Photo of Clayton Fredericks presenting W P in Limbo at the initial vet inspection in front of Badminton House in Gloucestershire, England courtesy of Kit Houghton and Mitsubishi Motors. Yes, the game of badminton takes its name from this estate, although the game was brought back to England by British officers who had been stationed in India. When it was played at an 1873 party on the lawn on Badminton House, the home of the Duke of Beaufort, the nameless game became ever linked to the foxhunting estate.