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 winner of the NAF Five Star PROFEET Farrier of the Year 2021 is
Location: the Wirral, N Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire
“I got a job working with rescue horses at Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary,” says Chris. “I enjoyed working with the horses and learnt a lot about horsemanship.
“When I first saw the farrier I knew it was what I wanted to do. I went on a few trials with ATFs [approved training farriers] but couldn’t leave my job for financial reasons. Six years later I realised I had to achieve my dream no matter what it took. Becoming a farrier has given me a greater sense of purpose, belonging and responsibility.
“I enjoy working with vets and other professionals to get horses sound again, especially cases where being put to sleep is an option and you manage to give them a new lease of life.”
A happy client says: “Chris’s background in animal welfare and behaviour underpins his skills as a farrier. He is a reflective practitioner who treats each horse as an individual. He goes above and beyond to provide bespoke services of the best quality. Chris is reliable, dependable and has an extremely calm and friendly attitude.”
This year’s other nominees were:
Neal Bradbury & Thomas Bradbury
Location: Derbyshire, S Yorks and Notts
“I became interested in farriery at an early age as my father was a farrier [Doug Bradbury MBE FWCF],” says Neal. “I became his apprentice and qualified in 1985, then became an associate of the Worshipful Company of Farriers [AWCF] in 1995 and became a training farrier myself. I trained my son Thomas, who qualified in 2013.
“I take pride in trimming and shoeing all of my clients’ horses and ponies to the best of my ability. I particularly enjoy working on therapeutic cases with vets and tackling a challenging case.”
Thomas adds: “I am extremely proud to be a third-generation farrier of the Bradbury family. I used to tag along in the van with dad and granddad, and pass them nails and tools. My 19-month-old son Finley now loves watching me make shoes and hopefully one day he will continue the next Bradbury generation in farriery.”
A happy client says: “Professional and reliable. A farrier who will turn up at short notice is gold, and they are always looking out for you and your horse. Douglas Bradbury, Neal’s father, was my first pony’s farrier. Doug was a legend, so is his son Neal and his grandson Thomas.”
Location: Surrey and Hampshire
“I got into farriery as my mum used to do driving trials and that got me started in Pony Club and then eventing,” says Sam, who has 1.6m TikTok followers. “I knew I wanted a hands-on career involving horses, where every day is different. I really enjoy shoeing horses for polo and dressage, and I love a remedial shoeing challenge.
“One horse that stands out for me had chronic laminitis with severe rotation of the pedal bone. I used hydroplastic imprint shoes and Equi-Pak pads to correct the bone alignment. It’s taken six months but it’s really satisfying to see the horse being ridden again after a long road of remedial shoeing.”
A happy client says: “Sam is an all-round fantastic farrier in all aspects of the job. He has been with me for many years and every horse just gets better and better after being shod by him. Sam is always so cooperative with the vet and physio, and is precise and neat to fit our horses’ needs. He finishes the hooves with a shiny hoof oil to make them look extra-special.”
Location: South Wales
“I come from a family of farriers – father, brother and cousin – so I was brought up around horses, spending time in the forge as a young boy or with my father going to different yards,” says Keiran. “So I already had an insight to the job when I left school. After qualifying at Hereford College school of farriery, I spent four months shoeing showjumpers in Mexico before setting up my own business in South Wales.
“I have a huge interest in remedial shoeing, especially crack repair.”
A happy client says: “Nothing is ever too much bother for Keiran. Come rain or shine he’s there to shoe our horses, and always with a smile. He never pushes a sale of a full set, and will genuinely tell you if your horse can do without because their feet are strong enough. He’s also always our shoulder to cry on about daily life!”
Previous winners of this prestigious award include top farriers Jim Balfour, Paul Woodall and Daniel Bennett, who presented the 2021 award on behalf of the award’s sponsor NAF PROFEET.
About the Horse & Hound Awards 2021
We’re back! The Horse & Hound Awards returned for the sixth year in a row, running again in partnership with NAF.
Last year’s successful online H&H Awards achieved record participation, with nearly 58,000 votes cast. We were thrilled to be back in person for 2021, with a glittering ceremony at Cheltenham Racecourse. Around 300 people, including Olympic and Paralympic superstars, gathered to enjoy a glamorous evening of champagne and dancing as the winners were revealed.
As previously, the H&H Award winners have been nominated and voted for by you. We seek to recognise both the big names who have made 2021 special and the unsung heroes who make it possible for all of us to enjoy equestrian sport and our horses, at whatever level.