Leading farriers from across Europe have gathered at Myerscough College to compete in the European Championship & Convention, described as the ‘best ever held’.
Staged every two years, 54 competitors from 16 nations took part in the three day event at the college’s main Preston campus. The Championships consisted of a series of classes, intended to test forging and shoeing skills for accuracy and ability within strict time frames. They were judged by two of the biggest names in the industry, Aksel Vibe (Norway) and Vincent Lamaille (Belgium). The competition was eventually won by Scotland’s David Varini, his second title, just ahead of England’s Steve Beane and Ireland’s Edward O’Shaughnessy.
For the first time this year, the Championships were combined to include a UK Farriery Convention, held in the college’s International Arena. More than 500 farriers, apprentices, vets and industry staff attended to listen to experts, share knowledge and experience and showcase the vast range of products available. Meanwhile, the Convention Marketplace welcomed farriery suppliers and manufacturers from across the world, while leading clinicians gave lectures and workshops.
Principal & Chief Exec of Myerscough College, Ann Turner, said: ‘’The heat in the original arena with 16 forges and crowds of people with temperatures outside approaching 30 degrees was amazing. At the final dinner and awards presentations there was universal acclaim and thanks to Myerscough. Particular thanks must go to Kelly Thompson (Equine Operations Manager) alongside everyone else who made the event such a success.’’
'’The championships have shown Myerscough as the National centre of excellence in farriery science and hopefuly we’ll be considered to host further international competitions in the future.’’
Out of the original field, David Varini (Scotland), Steven Beane (England), Edward O’Shaughnessy (Ireland), Paul Robinson (Ireland) and Rodney Ross (Ireland) all qualified for the ‘Top Ten’ shoeing round – to trim, forge and fit shoes for two front feet. Following a tense wait, David, Steven and Edward were confirmed to compete in the final shoeing round (to shoe two hind feet) alongside Christian Albergne and Mathieu Delcroix of France. With both of the judges noting an “exceptional standard of work” the final marks showed a margin of less than 2 points separating Champion and Reserve. David Varini, winner of the European Championships in Bordeaux in 2010, had secured his second European title over Yorkshire farrier Steven Beane – current National and World Champion. Irish farrier Edward O’Shaughnessy who lives and works in Newmarket was third with Mathieu and Christian completing in fourth and fifth respectively. Absolutely delighted with claiming the European title once more, David expressed his delight at winning, thanked the sponsors and the organisers for such a “professionally run event in a superb arena”.
by Dave Salmon