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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

British Farrier Gary Darlow Honored by Leading Horse Charity

From England's Horse Trust (formerly the Home of Rest for Horses) comes this photo and news of a special honor given to one of Britain's leading international competitors:

British farrier Gary Darlow of Meadow Bank Farm in Over Peover, Knutsford, England is the first Horse Trust Open Farriery Champion.

Gary won the award, which included a perpetual rose bowl trophy and a check for £250, in a farriery contest recently at the British Army Farrier School at Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. Competitors were required to participate in two classes -- Hunter shoeing and Therapeutic shoeing. Points were awarded for each class and Gary was the overall winner.

Gary, who treats riding ponies, polo ponies, hunters and Shire horses throughout Cheshire, England, learned the profession in the mid-1970s; he is now 48 years old. He has, he says, been competing ever since.

"For the apprentices and other farriers, contests are a fantastic learning curve. I've learned more by competing than from anything else," he says. "You get the best people in the world at competitions and you can learn from watching them. Most of those who compete are very good at what they do but are not recognized for it outside the farrier industry.

"Some of these lads, the practicing they do at home is amazing," Gary added. "Some of these shoes are very complicated to make, because there are so many different sorts of shoes and you have to practice them all. You may know before the competition what you will be asked to do, but you have to spend hours beforehand practicing to reach the standard. Competing at horseshoeing is like any other event: if you don’t practice you won't get there."

He was thrilled by the letter from The Horse Trust following the awards ceremony. Paul Jepson, chief executive of the Trust, wrote: "I can think of no one who has demonstrated a more consistently high standard of farriery over many years and you are a worthy champion."

Note: The Horse Trust was established in 1886 and is the oldest equine charity in the world. They are leading funding source in the UK for research into strangles, sweet itch, ragwort poisoning, colic and laminitis and fund many meetings and horse health initiatives. Over £20 million (approx. $40 million US) has been invested by the Trust in research and education.

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