Thursday, December 23, 2010

British Farrier Brendan Murray Receives Medal for Service

British farrier Brendan Murray received the ultimate compliment of his country at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky when he was asked to carry his nation's flag into the arena at the head of their delegation. I just happened to be there to take this picture as they were lining up at the gate.
On December 16, 2010, in front of a packed crowd at the International Horse Show, Olympia, the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) presented a medal of honor to farrier Brendan Murray of Cambridgeshire, England. Brendan was one of five individuals who was recognized by the BEF for outstanding achievement and contribution to the international equestrian world.

Brendan has been British senior eventing team farrier since 1992, and served his country at five Olympic and World Equestrian Games and nine European Championships. He was also show farrier for Olympia.

British World Class Performance Director Will Connell commented on Brendan's award: "Brendan is the mainstay of the stable area, carrying out any job that needs doing and ensures all aspects of the groom's welfare is attended to. He is completely committed to the success of Team GBR."  

I'm looking forward to Brendan's memoirs and hope he'll think of me when he's looking for an editor. In addition to all he must know about the British equestrians and their exploits around the world, he has had an interesting side life working as a stunt rider in films.

His biggest role in front of the camera, though, was when he was seen by an estimated two and a half billion people around the world when he served with the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery in 1997 as an escort for the casket of Princess Diana to Westminster Abbey in London during her funeral procession. Hoofcare & Lameness's Hoofcare Online newsletter reported on Brendan's role in that sad event back in 1997.

Most recently, Brendan starred at the World Equestrian Games as the anti-gravity test driver for a media video about the Land Rover extreme driving test range. I've yet to witness him shoeing a horse but he certainly has a fascinating life, as expounded in this video interview with him before the World Equestrian Games began.

I went looking for a photo of him shoeing a horse on the web and found only one. It was taken in 2000 in Sydney, Australia at the Olympics and published on a sports web site in Iran. Somehow that didn't surprise me.

British equestrians dressage rider Laura Bechtolsheimer, vaulter Joanne Eccles, eventer Nicola Wilson and para-equestrian dressage rider Sophie Wells were also awarded medals for outstanding achievements in their respective disciplines last week at the Olympia show. Each of those equestrians returned to Britain from the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in October with medals.

Special thanks to event rider and broadcaster @SamanthaLClark for the heads-up for this post and for producing the videos featuring Brendan Murray.

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