Saturday, December 15, 2012

Farriers Finish 1-2-3 In the Saddle--Not in the Forge--at FEI Bayer New Zealand Showjumping World Cup

Something caught my eye today in a news release from the always-helpful Equestrian New Zealand High Performance Media Liaison Officer, Diana Dobson.

She wrote a straightforward report on showjumper Tim Myers' win at today's FEI Bayer World Cup New Zealand League round at the Taupo Christmas Classic on New Zealand's North Island.

Myers, she noted (probably for the Hoof Blog's benefit), is a farrier. And not just a farrier, but an apprentice. Apprentices put in long days learning the trade and the fact that one has energy and time to ride at an international level is pretty impressive.

Tim Myers, who comes from a racing family and is coached by his father, has a bright future in the show ring--and, no doubt, in the forge, as well. It was the 19-year-old's first big win on the promising 10-year-old Pick Me NZPH. Myers and Pick Me finished fourth in their only other World Cup start.

The problem was that Diana noted that Bernard Denton came in second. And I knew that Bernard, a veteran showjumper, had missed out on winning a spot on the New Zealand showjumping team for the 2008 Olympics--only to find out that he would still go, because he was appointed the New Zealand Olympic Showjumping Team Farrier. (New Zealand did not send a showjumping team to London for the 2012 Olympcs.)

Denton's good horse Suzuki suffered a severe skin laceration on her hindquarters last year; that kept her quiet for a while and in treatment at the Massey University vet school but the pair are back at the highest level of competition now.

Farrier apprentice Tim Myers, age 19, won the FEI Bayer Showjumping World
Cup event in New Zealand today. (photo courtesy Tim Myers)

When this coincidence was pointed out to Diana, she shot back the fact that the #3 finisher, Ross Smith, is a farrier as well. Ross lived and rode competitively in the USA for a few years, out of San Luis Obispo, California.

One thing he noticed in the USA was that some of the sport horses at home in New Zealand would fit the needs of eventers here so he started Among the many horses he bundled off to the USA was Phillip Dutton's Woodburn, who represented the USA at the 2010 World Equestrian Games and Burghley 4* Horse Trials; Woodburn finished second at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.

Smith, who is based in Canterbury on the South Island, and his stallion Quite Cassini were third with eight faults.

The high-flying trio of farriers were in very serious company, including perennial Kiwi team member Katie McVean, but no doubt the luck of the horseshoes--and some very skilled riding--put all three of the farriers at the top today.

Think of all the money the Kiwi equestrian federation would save on shoeing bills if they all made the international team...

--written by Fran Jurga

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