Thursday, November 12, 2015

Worshipful Company of Farriers Awards "Best Shod Horse" Title at Britain's Horse of the Year Show

Carl Bettison AWCF (Hons) judging a hunter during the Worshipful Company of Farrier's Best Shod Horse evaluation at Great Britain's year-end Horse of the Year Show last month. (photo used with permission)

This article is edited for international readers from a British press release

Great Britain’s 2015 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) saw the prestigious Worshipful Company of Farriers (WCF) Best Shod Horse competition take place on Friday, October 9. Entrants lined up ready for their hoof inspection in order to have a chance of winning this reputable award.

This esteemed competition is open to all ridden hunters including lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight divisions. All horses entered into these HOYS classes are judged for the Best Shod Horse competition and a winner is selected from each weight division, along with an overall winner who takes the award.

Lightweight Hunter Revenge, shown by Matthew Ainsworth and shod by Ed Simcock, CJF, DipWCF, was the winner of the WCF Best Shod Horse award for 2015. (E.C. Photography image: used with permission.) 
It is common practice for farriers to spend extra time on making and fitting these shoes ahead of the competition. When judging the class, the name of the farrier remains anonymous to ensure judging is fair and unbiased. All four feet are assessed, picked up and inspected. The judge will be looking for a number of aspects including:
  • Quality of the hooves (Good shape, hoof balance, quality of the hoof wall, no flares in the hoof wall and good concave soles with strong heels)
  • Fitting of the shoes (Correct size, correct weight and width of shoe, position of clips, position of nails and clenches)
  • Shoemaking (Quality of shoemaking; some shoes are technically much more difficult to make or the farrier may use a machine / factory made shoe).
Carl Bettison, Worshipful Company of Farriers Judge © Sam Lane
Carl Bettison, AWCF (Hons) was the judge for the
HOYS Best Shod Horse 
class in 2015. (Sam
Lane photo, Hoof 
Blog archives)
The judge of this class is selected from the Worshipful Company of Farriers' approved judges list. This year Carl Bettison, AWCF (Hons) was chosen for the job. Carl is a former Master of the Worshipful Company of Farriers (2008-2009), a past member of the England Farriery Team in international competitions and also England Team manager. Carl stated “I was honored to be asked to judge!”

When judging this class, Carl said he looked for good quality hooves, as this is key to soundness, along with well-fitted and well-made shoes. Having trained just outside of Oakham in Rutland, England, the majority of Carl’s farrier work involved hunters giving him an expert eye for this particular class.

This year’s award went to No. 1079, Revenge, who also won the Lightweight Hunter Division, as well as taking the overall title of WCF Best Shod Horse. 

The WCF judge examines the horse's hooves looking for specific criteria identified as evidence the farrier has combined skill at shoemaking or altering machine-made shoes with caring for the horse's hoof by choosing the best possible size and shape of shoe and positioning it on the foot to the best advantage for the horse.  The quality of the hoof is also judged. This hoof was not identified as being on the winning horse. (Image supplied by Horse of the Year Show, used with permission)

The winner of the Middleweight section was No. 1097, Gaelic Gamble, with Appledark Magic Touch, No.1111, taking the top spot in the Heavyweight section.

Note: While researching the background for this article, the rules of the British Show Horse Association came to light. They state the shoeing requirements succinctly: "All Horses, if shod, must be shod in shoes that do not cover the frog; Normal shaped open heeled plastic stick-on shoes are permissible. No pads or surgical shoes are allowed; i.e. Bar shoes."

This hind foot is from the winner of the Heavyweight Hunter division. Appledark Magic Touch is an Irish Draught Horse shod by Scott Manson, DipWCF of Gloucestershire, England.
Revenge is shod by Ed Simcock, CJF, DipWCF. Trainer Matthew Ainsworth wrote on his website, "After a long break, the judging of 'Best Shod' returned to HOYS in the Hunter section. Revenge came out on top, from approximately 80 horses! A huge well done to our fantastic farrier, Ed Simcock, who has been with us for nine years."

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