In the last week of February a community of Farriers converged on Richmond, Kentucky for the first ever team competition on U.S. soil, the first annual World Horseshoeing Classic.
This was the first team competition of this kind in the U.S. and it showed; you had competitors saying how they just wanted to be part of it and didn’t want to let their teammates down, just be lucky to get done, but when the starting bell rung it took on a life of its own. The trophies for each day would be a replica of the foot that the competitor actually shod made out of wood that Ben Hupp made. The Welsh team finished strong and i mean they finished strong, no team really pulled away with trim and fit, but the Welsh team had pulled away by 12 pts in the finish and got the first day win on the Draft Horses, team Texas was second, and sitting in third was the AFT. The first day left no one discouraged but rather motivated by what they had witnessed, the Welsh team had displayed their experience and teamwork which before this had only been witnessed by a handful in the big picture. Team Texas left no one disappointed either with an all-star team that worked with old school/new school exactness.
The second day was the roadster shoeing and it was pretty evident that all the competitors had settled in and they had a new perspective on what it was going to take to win this deal. We reversed the go rounds so if you were in the first round the first day you would be in the second round today. The shoeing in the first round had obviously tightened up from the previous day and it only got tighter in the second round. The Canadians came out to redeem themselves from the previous day and they did just that by winning the Roadster day, with team Texas coming in second, and team WCB rounding out the third spot. The day ended with all the people at the event picking up every foot hundreds of times and rehashing it out over and over again. The third day would start with all four of the top teams staggered 3 points apart, and with 120 points possible in each category it was definitely a horse race.
The final day of competition was started off with the Canadians coming out and scoring big in the first round with a horse that had been over trimmed several weeks prior and did a marvellous job. It looked like the Canadians had a score that couldn’t be beat the Welsh team drew a horse with feet that would be hard to score on. With a couple of low scores on the hoof prep the Welsh amped it up and did some pretty amazing stuff. While everyone was circle around watching the Welsh go team WCB were quietly having the go of a lifetime on the other end of the floor. It went down to the wire but the experience and team work of the Welsh shone through and they were crowned Champions
On the fourth day we had a special treat for a special reason. Richard Ellis, a true friend to the farrier community has been diagnosed with cancer and is fighting the big fight. The Welsh team generously donated their time to come give a clinic on behalf of Richard and it was a special event, these four individuals Jim Blurton, Billy Crothers, Andy Martin and Mark Evans pulled out all the stops and had everyone down on their knees inspecting and observing. The afternoon was a special day that had everyone in attendance understanding a little bit better on how to achieve excellence.
Submitted by Craig Trnka