NAF Five Star PROFEET Farrier of the Year 2022

Welcome to the Horse & Hound Awards 2022, which are back for the seventh year to celebrate the stars of equestrianism, in partnership with NAF

  • Recognising the farrier who, through his or her knowledge and effort, has made a difference to a horse or horses’ performance or wellbeing this year.

    The 2022 winner

    The late Brendan Murray

    Brendan was official Team GBR eventing farrier for 26 years, including duty at seven Olympic Games and over a dozen World and European Championships. He spent 22 years with the King’s Troop, ending as master farrier for the regiment, and was part of the cortège for Princess Diana’s funeral. As part of the British team entourage, Brendan was a linchpin behind the scenes. He would set up immaculate beds for the horses, hang the flags and look after the grooms. Brendan was also the show farrier at the London International Horse Show and had a sideline as a stunt rider and farrier in films.

    A satisfied client says: “Brendan’s life was devoted to the care of horses. He was a gentle soul with the patience of a saint and his farrier skills were second to none. Aside from the more public duties for the King’s Troop and Olympics, Brendan would take the time and care for my own horses, and he often told me how proud he was of them. He lent his experience and knowledge and had a way of putting things so they made sense. I’ll forever miss his guidance, knowledge, expertise and caring touch with my horses.”

    Brendan passed away on 9 September after a short illness.

    Also shortlisted were:

    James Black Location: Bassetlaw, Notts

    From a young age, James was fascinated to watch his competition ponies being shod and was inspired by his own farrier to pursue it as a career. After a pre-farrier placement and then his four-year apprenticeship, James scored a distinction in a final exam and is now preparing for his diploma and BSc degree.

    “I am grateful my apprenticeship gave me a good work ethic,” says James. “This knowledge led me to speak to my peers in the Blankney Hunt and South Notts Pony Club branches, sharing my experience and encouraging others to work hard and never give up on their dreams.

    “Over the past two years, I’ve aimed to give my customers a good service by spending time observing their horses, explaining and drawing diagrams to help them understand what I’m trying to achieve with corrective trimming and shoeing, to enhance horse performance and comfort.”

    A satisfied client says: “James’s dedication and interest in every horse is exemplary. He never leaves until he is sure both horse and owner are happy, and is always studying to improve his knowledge and provide an even better service. He has an amazing knowledge of not just the feet but the whole mechanics of the horse’s legs and feet and takes time to explain and discuss with the customer.”

    Dale Greenwood Location: Walsall, West Mids

    “My stepmum owned a livery yard, so riding horses was all we wanted to do growing up,” says Dale. “At 16, I started helping a local farrier and loved it. I managed to get an apprenticeship with a farrier I knew nothing about, but it turned out he was in the Welsh horse shoeing team who were world champions at the time! I was very lucky to get that training, which involved shoeing a range of horses including racehorses. Everybody who worked there did shoeing competitions, so we spent our evenings practising in the forge. It set me up well for the future.

    “I shoe a wide range of horses including professional showjumpers and carriage horses and a lot of much-loved pets. I get a lot of enjoyment out of making a difference in how a horse moves. Many horses come to me with poor feet and I work hard to improve them; the racehorse background comes in handy there. I also enjoy the wide variety of people I meet and to hear their equestrian story.”

    A satisfied client says: “This man saved my horse! She was 25 with pedal-bone rotation, Cushing’s and a collapsing heel and she lived to the ripe old age of 30 thanks to Dale, who never saw her as a problem. Now I have another thoroughbred with thin soles and again Dale has stepped up to the mark and is totally amazing.”

    Tyler Pesci-Griffiths Location: Cardiff, Glamorgan

    “I have been around horses since the day I was born with my father being a farrier and my mother being a highly experienced horsewoman,” says Tyler. “I took the inspiration to become a farrier from my father, David Griffiths, as well as family friend Wade Willis who trained me. Dad had to retire early due to ill health and I wanted to continue his legacy and make him proud. I used my dad’s business name, Caerphilly Forge, when I set up on my own.

    “My favourite discipline to shoe for is eventing. I shoe a number of eventers including my own and I enjoy seeing them go on and do their job. I take pride in doing the best possible job in each individual foot. There is nothing more satisfying than helping a horse come sound. And the customers are a big highlight. I enjoy a good chat with them and putting the world to rights!”

    A satisfied client says: “Tyler puts so much time and care into his work. He is patient and kind to the horses under his care. He is also supportive to owners with advice and always has the time to explain the treatment.”

    Previous winners of this prestigious award include top farriers Chris Bailey, Jim Balfour, Paul Woodall and Daniel Bennett.

    About the Horse & Hound Awards 2022

    The Horse & Hound Awards returned for the seventh year in a row, running again in partnership with NAF. Some 300 people, including Olympic and Paralympic superstars, gathered to enjoy a glamorous evening of champagne, winner reveals and dancing at Cheltenham Racecourse. As in previous years, the H&H Award winners were nominated and voted for by you, the readers. We seek to recognise both the big names who have made 2022 special and the unsung heroes who make it possible for all of us to enjoy equestrian sport and our horses, at whatever level.

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