NAF Five Star PROFEET Farrier of the Year 2020

The 2020 Horse & Hound Awards, in partnership with NAF, will be an exciting multi-media online bonanza this year, with equestrian fans from around the world invited to join in the fun

  • We are looking for a farrier who has had a positive 
impact, who through his or her knowledge and effort 
has made a difference to an equine or equines’ 
performance or wellbeing this year

    The shortlist has been chosen and voting for this award is open for one week only, until 11.59pm on 5 November, in accordance with these terms and conditions.

    Sam Dracott

    How long have you been a farrier? “I have been properly qualified for around eight years, but including my apprenticeship it would be 12 years in total.”

    What made you become a farrier? “My mum used to compete in driving trials and I used to do eventing. When it came to choosing a career, I wanted to do something that involved horses. I could not have worked in an office – I wanted to do something practical with my hands and horses were all I knew. I love my job – every day is different and it keeps me on my toes.”

    Your best shoeing achievement: “There isn’t one stand-out horse over the years, but I have shod a few high-end dressage horses. However, my best achievement is probably turning around some severely laminitic horses, who have been on death’s door and badly lame – that is always satisfying.”

    Daniel Bennett

    How long have you been a farrier? “In total, 26 years. I joined the army at 16, to get away from horses, but ended up being a farrier in the army. I left in 2005.”

    What made you become a farrier? “I grew up around horses and didn’t do well at school, which put me off training for any qualifications. But then at 18, I gained the qualifications to become a farrier in the army. I went on to teach farriery as well and set up on my own as a farrier on leaving the army.”

    Your best shoeing achievement: “I have had a lot to do with H&H’s equine blogger Hovis – he’s now in his late teens and I have shod him for about 12 years and have more pictures of him on my phone than any other horse! He has raised so much money for charity.

    “I enjoyed working with the army horses and was used to seeing traditional old ‘working horse’ problems, due to how much road work they do. I also work with some top dressage horses.

    “Teaching has been a massive part of my life and is something I enjoy. Farriery competitions have also taken me all over the globe and I have my own YouTube channel and podcast.”

    Alun Evans

    How long have you been a farrier? “I am in my 10th year, including my apprenticeship, and now work for myself.”

    What made you become a farrier? “My family have always bred horses, so I’ve been interested from a young age. I’d see the farrier at the yard and think, ‘I’d like to do that’.”

    Your best shoeing achievement: “There isn’t one stand-out horse, but those who are struggling are the most satisfying to work with. It is always great to see them competing and winning again. I shoe plenty of showjumpers. When I first started out, their problems were mainly acute traumatic issues, but they’re now niggling injuries that worsen, because so many train on surfaces.

    “I have always loved working with horses and problem horses in particular. I get a buzz from working with the vets and owners to bring them back to their best – it is always worth the wait.”

    Ryan Darbyshire

    How long have you been a farrier? “Including my apprenticeship, about 15 years.”

    What made you become a farrier? “It’s a different job and is based outdoors, which has always suited me. When I was young, I used to watch the farrier do our ponies, which is how I became interested. Then I started out in farriery straight after school, aged 16.”

    Your best shoeing achievement: “I get the most satisfaction from seeing a horse walk in lame and then walk away sound. I mostly work with dressage horses and vet referrals – I will be at the vets’ at least once a week. I enjoy working with high-performance prix st georges dressage horses and I see quite a broad range of problems.”

    Place your votes now

    Previous winners of this prestigious award include top farriers Jim Balfour and Paul Woodall.

    About the Horse & Hound Awards 2020

    The H&H Awards, in partnership with NAF, are back – this year’s ceremony will be virtual, an exciting multi-media online bonanza. This innovation means equestrian fans around the world can be part of the celebration. We look forward to sharing the evening with you all.

    This year’s awards will celebrate the heroes of the past decade (2011–2020) in elite equestrian sport, while honouring the unsung stars who have helped our industry, our horses and our spirits during this unusual year.

    As previously, the H&H Award winners will be nominated and voted for by you. Anyone is welcome to nominate the person, group or horse they feel deserves recognition from Thursday 3 September.

    Following the close of nominations at 5pm on 4 October, the H&H judging panel will decide on a shortlist of contenders. The panel will be influenced by the number of nominations and strength of the story of the nominee’s dedication and achievement.

    On 29 October, we will announce the shortlisted candidates in the magazine and online, sharing their stories and inviting you to vote for your winners online, with voting closing on 5 November.

    The winners will be revealed in our sparkling online virtual ceremony on 10 December, with guests joining us from around the world.

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