Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Olympic Farriers Honored with Medal Ceremony by Worshipful Company of Farriers

The podium was crowded at the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, London on the summer night of July 29th. The Olympics had begun a few days before. The world had arrived in London. At nearby Greenwich Park, the eventing was in full swing.

A team medal ceremony was in order; even though they represented different nations' teams, they were all from the same tribe: Team Farrier, indeed, in more ways than one.

Anyone who has ever said, "That farrier deserves a medal" had their wishes come true that night.

The farriers standing together for the official photo represented countries from as far away as Australia.

They were the guests of the famed Worshipful Company of Farriers.

Each farrier was presented with a certificate and engraved silver medal by the Master of the Company, Mr Stephen Scott.

"The Company decided to hold a reception to mark the contribution made by the team farriers, both from the UK and overseas, to the success of the London 2012 Olympics," Mrs Clifford told the Hoof Blog via email.

"We were very fortunate to be able to hold it at Woolwich Barracks, thanks to the Commanding Officer and staff of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, which made it easy to transport the farriers to and from Greenwich Park.

Farriers, dignitaries and hosts at medal ceremony: Captain Richard Todd, Troop Captain, King's Troop; Robert McIntosh (UK); Ben Benson (UK); Major Mark Edward, Commanding Officer, King's Troop; Lee Collins (UK); WCF Upper Warden, Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter; Nicholas Deacon (UK); Marcus Thorne (UK); Sandy Parker (Australia); James Goddard (UK); WCF Master, Mr. Stephen Scott; Ian Hughes (UK); Paul Armstrong (UK); Jim Blurton (UK); Jay Tovey (UK); David Le Corre (France); Per Christofferson (Denmark); William Mulqueen (UK); Simon Persse (UK); WCF Middle Warden, Mr Simon Fleet; WCF Renter Warden, Mr Wayne Upton. (Farriers are listed by name only; dignitaries and hosts by name and title.) Photo provided by Gillian Harris, Forge Magazine.

 The evening began with a champagne reception, followed by a two-course buffet dinner.

"Each farrier was presented with a certificate and engraved silver medal by the Master of the Company, Mr Stephen Scott; sadly and inevitably, not every eligible farrier was able to attend, as some had to be on duty that evening, but those who couldn't get there will receive their certificates and medals in due course."

The silver farrier medal carries the Company's coat of arms. The reverse of each has the individual farrier's name engraved on it. The Company's motto, Vi et Virtute ('By strength and by virtue') is at the bottom.
Invited official team farriers (listed alphabetically by last name of farrier) who could not attend were:
  • Rene Biella (Colombia),
  • Gerardus de Crom (Holland), 
  • Guillaume Duhamel (Chile),
  • Yves Joosen (Saudi Arabia),
  • Dieter Kroehnert (Germany),
  • Todd Meister (USA),
  • Brendan Murray (UK),
  • Andrew Nickalls (UK resident, looking after the New Zealand team), 
  • Randall Pawlak (Canada), 
  • Nigel Perrott (UK resident, looking after the Ireland team), 
  • Sergio Pinto (Portugal),
  • Haydn Price (UK), 
  • Damien Rotkopf (Portugal), 
  • Mark Skippon (UK),
  • Stephen Teichman (USA),
  • Gaelle Terranova (Portugal), 
  • David Watson (Thailand)
The Clerk said that those team farriers were either obliged to work at that time, or had not yet arrived.

The group included a team of British farriers working under London Olympics Lead Farrier Jim Blurton; they provided services to countries that were not staffed with a team farrier. They were also stationed at each arena and warmup ring, as well as staffing the Olympic forge at Greenwich Park. They were highly visible on the telecast of the equestrian events, as one farrier was stationed at the out gate of the main arena, where one of the BBC/NBC cameras was pointed for each dressage rider and showjumper.

Mrs. Clifford continued, "We have received very positive feedback from those who were there, and the event achieved its aim of recognizing the commitment made by the farriers to the well being of the horses involved and to the success of the Games overall."

Woolwich Barracks, home of the King's Troop, Royal Artillery was the site of shooting events for the Olympics, and hosted the farrier reception. ( photo)

About the King's Troop: The Royal Artillery Barracks at Woolwich in the Royal Borough of Greenwich in London, was built in the late 1700s as the home of the Royal Artillery. The King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery moved from the St John's Wood Barracks to their new quarters and stables on the Woolwich site in 2012, bringing with them a complement of 75 or thereabouts horses, historic gun carriages and artillery pieces used for their display. The Barracks are the site of shooting events at the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

About the Company: The records of the City of London Corporation show that on 27th March 1356, in the 30th year of the reign of Edward III, the Mayor, Henry Pykard, summoned before him all the farriers of the City to deal with the many offenses and damages which had been committed by "people not wise therein" who kept forges in the City and meddled with practices which they did not understand, to the greater detriment of the horse. The Mayor ordered the choosing of two Wardens who were given full power to oversee and govern the trade and to deal with any default.

It may be 650 or so years later, but the Worshipful Company of Farriers is still overseeing the trade--in London and throughout the United Kingdom. Farriery in Britain is regulated by an Act of Parliament which requires that only professional farriers in possession of the Company's Diploma can shoe horses.

Hoofcare and Lameness thanks Mrs Charlotte Clifford, Clerk of the Company, and Gillian Harris of Forge Magazine for their kind assistance with this article. 
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