Farrier Charlie Sands has achieved a very special double – winning the ‘best shod’ prizes at the Randox Health Grand National and Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials within a 12-month period. He is thought to be the first farrier to do so.
He received the prize at Aintree on Saturday for Drop Out Joe, trained by Charlie Longsdon. Allercombe Ellie, ridden by Charlie’s girlfriend Izzy Taylor, won the award at Badminton in 2016.
Charlie said: “Both horses were wearing handmade shoes. Last year at the Grand National I was second with Pendra [also trained by Charlie Longsdon] and I really wanted to win this year.
“I put tool and fullered aluminium front shoes, which I have spent months practising making, on Drop Out Joe, and he also has lateral extensions on his hinds to help support him.
“Allercombe Ellie toes-in badly, so I made lateral extensions for her in front.
“It’s a real honour to win both competitions, and nice recognition of what we do. Jim Blurton, who judged the shoeing at both Aintree and Badminton, said that he liked the fact that I can shoe horses in two very different disciplines so well.
“I also shoe [trainer] Ben Pauling’s horses, and we had our first Cheltenham Festival winner with Willoughby Court last month.”
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Jim Blurton, a former world champion farrier and lead farrier for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, said: “He shod both horses utterly appropriately and correctly for their jobs and according to their conformation.
“The fact that Charlie can transfer his skills from one discipline to another is a reflection of his ability and on the training system that the Worshipful Company of Farriers has in place in Britain.
“The competition at Badminton has been in existence for 25-30 years, but the Aintree one is more recent and was started to highlight the major part farriery plays in the welfare of the racehorse.”
Charlie, 31, qualified as a farrier eight years ago and has a large shoeing round in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.