Saturday, September 06, 2014

Hooves Get the White Glove Treatment from Best Shod Horse Judge at Burghley Horse Trials in England

Photo courtesy of Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials and Getty Images

You always hear about it, but rarely does anyone ever see it done. Sure, farriers get dressed up in suits and wear bowler hats and white gloves to inspect horse hooves. Sure they do.

"They" are the British farrier judges on the Worshipful Company of Farriers list who are trained in the fine art of recognizing the difference between shoes made for farrier competitions and shoes actually applied to horses that must compete.

This weekend, the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is on in England, and like the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in the spring and the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park in the summer, the Worshipful Company of Farriers will send out a farrier (or in this case, two) to split hairs over hoofcare.

Detail of photo courtesy of Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials and Getty Images

And what do you know? They really do wear bowlers and white gloves!

These are some of the best event horses in the world, ridden by the best riders from 10 nations. The judges inspected 68 horses, and most would be shod with shoes made from fullered concave stock, like the hind foot you see here, and drilled and tapped for studs.

What are the judges looking for? Apparently there are standards, but when you get to this level, many of the horses are shod by the best farriers in the British Isles. They not only know the craft of shoemaking, they know the sport of eventing and what these horses need for their training and competition.

You can use the search box at the top of the right-hand column to find articles about other best-shod classes for eventers; there have been a few interviews with the judges who have had very interesting comments.

Here's a list of horses, riders and farriers who have won the Burghley Horse Trials' Best Shod Horse Prize in recent years.

Who won this year? Hopefully the news will be available soon.

Thanks to the Burghley Horse Trials for the photo of the judges.
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