Recognising the farrier who, through his or her knowledge, skill and effort, has made a difference to horses’ performance, wellbeing or both this year
The winner of the NAF Five Star PROFEET Farrier of the Year 2023 is Matt Strawson of Louth, Lincs
A farrier for 13 years, Matt has been around horses his whole life but found the work of a farrier fascinating.
“There is no better feeling than helping a lame horse, solving and fixing a problem, and creating comfort. I shoe a lot of competition horses and seeing them do well gives me ultimate job satisfaction,” says Matt, who says there is always more to learn.
A satisfied client says: “Matt is a fantastic farrier. His skills are second to none and people always ask who my farrier is when they see my horse’s feet. He is a perfectionist with the horses’ comfort at the forefront of his mind. His work ethic is beyond the norm – nothing is too much trouble and he will move heaven and earth to be there if a horse needs him. He’s never let us down and the difference he makes to my horses is fantastic.”
The other farriers shortlisted for the NAF Five Star PROFEET Farrier of the Year 2023 are:
• Dale Greenwood of Walsall, West Mids
This is the second year that Dale has made this shortlist. At 16, he started helping a local farrier who was part of the Welsh world champion shoeing team.
“I was lucky to get that training and it set me up well for the future,” says Dale, who has now been qualified for 16 years. “I shoe a wide range of horses and enjoy making a difference to how they move. Many horses come to me with poor feet and I work hard to improve them, but I also enjoy the wide variety of people I meet and hearing their stories.”
A satisfied client says: “Dale has been our farrier for 15 years and has never let us down. One of our mares has white line disease and lost shoes frequently, but she’s never lost one with Dale! He’s so caring with all our horses, and even turns them out after.”
• James Greig of Chelmsford, Essex
James first saw a farrier working at a riding school where he spent the weekends with his sister. Completely fascinated, he decided farriery was the career for him.
“I never swayed on this decision throughout my teenage years and my passion for horses spurred me on every day,” says James, who has now been a farrier for more than 20 years. “I’ve worked with so many different horses, but I always approach them the same, with respect, kindness and patience. I have many loyal customers who’ve known me since I was an apprentice and I feel truly touched to be nominated.”
A satisfied client says: “James worked with me to help a pony with canker after two years of no progress with a different farrier. With his expertise, the pony has made a fantastic recovery. James now works with all the horses on the yard and is so kind with them all.”
• Nathan Salter of Bourne, Lincs
Nathan grew up as a member of the Burghley branch of the Pony Club.
“Watching the farrier shoe our ponies was the moment I knew I was hooked. I’d always loved horses, but it was at that point I realised I could combine my passion and my career,” recalls Nathan. “It is truly one of the most rewarding professions and I count myself extremely lucky to be able to get up every day and genuinely love going to work!”
A satisfied client says: “I’ve never come across a farrier who takes such pride and genuine care in his work. He deals with naughty foals, dramatic mares, flamboyant stallions and everything in between, all with a smile and good humour. He takes great pride in his work, never rushes and you can tell he wants nothing but the best for your horses. There aren’t enough words for me to express how much I appreciate him.”
Previous winners of this prestigious award include the late Brendan Murray, Chris Bailey, Jim Balfour, Paul Woodall and Daniel Bennett.
About the Horse & Hound Awards 2023
The Horse & Hound Awards returned for the eighth year in a row, running again in partnership with NAF.
As ever, the H&H Awards winners were nominated and voted for by you. We recognised both the big names who have made 2023 special and the unsung heroes who make it possible for all of us to enjoy equestrian sport and our horses, at whatever level.
This year, we hosted a glittering ceremony at Dallas Burston Polo Club in Warwickshire where some 300 people, including Olympic and Paralympic superstars, enjoyed a glamorous evening of champagne, winner reveals, Oscar-style speeches and dancing.