North Yorkshire-based Steven Beane took the British Farrier and Blacksmith Association’s national champion title, while his wife Sarah was fourth – and the highest ever placed female farrier. Reserve champion was Lewis Balfour and Sarah took the prize for the “best shod foot”.
Steven enjoyed a successful run at the show during which he also won three classes; open agricultural shoe-making, heavy horse shoeing, and surgical shoe-making, and was crowned the show’s champion. Sarah won the open hunter shoeing class, in which Steven came second.
Steven, who met Sarah at a shoeing competition in Ayrshire 13 years ago, told H&H the Great Yorkshire Show had been a “good couple of days” for the Beanes.
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind,” he said. “It’s a funny thing, people ask why I do it but I just love the buzz of it. You enter competitions because it keeps your everyday standards higher. You’re putting what you do day in, day out against fellow farriers around the country. It’s the prestige of it.
“The national championship is the biggest competition we have in the UK, it’s the one everyone wants to win. Sarah’s ecstatic to have been in the top five, she wants to go on to be in the top two, and eventually wants to win it.
“We haven’t had many competitions in the last 18 months because of Covid, and even though I’m an experienced competitor I still went there thinking ‘am I still good enough to win?’. You don’t know until you go somewhere and compete against everyone else.”
Steven said there is “without a doubt” a rivalry between him and Sarah when it comes to competing.
“We’ve been training head to head and obviously we’ve kept our eye in the game by competing against each other in practice so that’s probably worked in our favour,” he said.
“I’m very competitive so I went with the aim to win. On the first day Sarah won and I was second, we have a hot tub at home and that night the hot tub chat was quite quiet!”
Steven said he believes competitions help keep standards of shoeing high.
“You have hunter and heavy horse shoeing and surgical and agricultural shoe-making; every single discipline as a farrier got tested. You can’t say ‘I have a weakness and don’t like shoeing Shires’, for example. If you want to be champion you have to be good at all of them, that’s key,” he said.
“I never used to train in terms of fitness but now the classes and what they demand are a lot higher so since I’ve started training I’ve lost 12lbs by going to the gym, making shoes, and forging. I wouldn’t have said I was unfit before but I wasn’t as fit as I am now. You have to be really fit because the demand and standard is being pushed all the time.”
Steven has returned to work and said his success has been well received by clients.
“It’s been really nice, clients have been putting posts on Facebook. Some of the dressage yards and rehab yards I go to just know you as ‘Steven the farrier that comes here’ and now all of a sudden they’re like “oh!”. It’s nice for the clients,” he said.
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