British farriers swept the board at the 30th annual World Championship Blacksmith’s competition at the Calgary Stampede in Canada this month.

Four out of the five finalists came from the UK, while the fifth farrier although from Canada, trained in Britain.

Steven Beane from North Yorkshire was crowned world champion blacksmith and won $10,000 and two-time winner Darren Bazin from Northamptonshire was reserve. Mr Bazin was also named as shoeing champion at the event.

In third place was the UK’s Derek Gardner and fourth was six-time champion, Welshman Grant Moon.

Rookie of the year went to the UK’s Ben Casserly.

Stephen, who was reserve champion in 2005 and 2006 and came third in 2007, told H&H: “It’s unbelievable, but hasn’t really sunk in yet that I’ve won. I’ll definitely be back next year to defend my title.”

Points were amassed from a number of forging classes testing shoeing and shoemaking skills throughout the four-day competition, before the five farriers with the most points battled it out at the final on Sunday 5 July.

The classes were judged by Billy Crother from Wales and Jim Quick (America), on the preparation and balance of horses’ feet as well as forging, nail placement and finish of the shoe.

Organisers said it was the closest final in the event’s history.

“You can be very good in this industry, but when you make a sport out of it, it’s a whole different dynamic,” said Blaine Virostek, chairman of Stampede’s blacksmith committee.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (16 July, ’09)