Thursday, August 19, 2010

Irish Farrier Wins Alltech's World Equestrian Games Trip

Irish farrier Damien Gallagher let some sparks fly when he learned he would be coming to America as the guest of Alltech to attend the World Equestrian Games next month.
Damien Gallagher, a farrier from remote County Donegal in northwest Ireland, will be coming to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games next month at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.

No, he's not one of the Irish team farriers. No, he's not a personal farrier to an Irish rider. He won't be packing an apron, and he probably won't be checking a toolbox through customs. What he will be is a VIP. Damien is on the list to be a guest of Alltech, title sponsor of the Games and international horse feed manufacturer.

Customers were invited to fill out entry forms accompanied by a “golden ticket” that was affixed to thousands of Gain Horse Feed bags in Ireland over the past number of months; the contest was to devise a slogan extolling the benefits of the feed, which is the official Irish Animal Health and Nutrition Partner of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

After an exhaustive trawl through more than 5000 slogans submitted, the judges agreed that Damien’s entry best summed up the objectives and achievements that go hand in hand with Alltech and Gain Horse Feeds products.

Damien wrote: “The best thing about Gain Horse Feed is empty feeding pots, happy healthy horses and red rosettes!”

For his winning entry, Damien will receive a pair of tickets to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games along with flights and hotel accommodation. When notified of his win, Damian commented “I am delighted to have won this great prize, it is a trip of a lifetime and I am really looking forward to going on it. Thank you very much to Gain Horse Feeds and Alltech!”

Damien qualified as a farrier in 2005 after completing the four-year apprenticeship program of the Irish Master Farrier Association. After qualifying, he set up his own business in County Donegal.

"Each year it has gradually expanded and I find myself shoeing a wide variety of horses from leisure to competition horses," Damien told Hoofcare and Lameness by email. "I always enjoy working on our native breeds--namely, the Irish draught and Connemara pony--and look forward to our summer when I get the opportunity to carry out corrective work on foals. I mainly work from a mobile unit traveling from yard to yard.

"Both my wife and I are active members of the Letterkenny riding club," Damien commented, regarding his own involvement with horses.  "Although we only compete at amateur level we take great enjoyment from show jumping, cross country and dressage."

"My wife, Nadine, and I will be in Kentucky from the 5th to the 11th of October," he said. "I would love to meet up with some American farriers."

The 2010 World Equestrian Games, by the way, might be quite naturally linked to Ireland; title sponsor Alltech has its roots in Ireland, where its founder, Dr Pearce Lyons, was born. Thirty years ago, he established his animal nutrition company in Kentucky and the rest is history! Alltech now has headquarters in the USA, Ireland, and Thailand. The Games will feature an "Irish Village" promoting Irish horses and horse culture in addition to many more exhibits and pavilions. Damien should feel right at home.

(Note to American readers: when you leave the USA you may be surprised to learn that our blue ribbon is second prize in many countries, and the red ribbon is first prize!)

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