I have been around horses since before I can remember. My father was a keen competitor in many disciplines especially carriage driving. So I learnt to casually ride and drive a horse as some children might learn to ride a bike. Although born in Cheltenham, I moved to Lancashire when I was in my early teens. In Lancashire my Father ran a rescue centre (at which we lived) of 80+ horses for an equine charity. I was exposed to all kinds of horses with a myriad of physical and mental issues. I also gained a clear understanding of horse welfare. This is the reason I consider thoroughly the welfare of any animal I work with.
Throughout my school life, I had always assumed that I would follow more of an academic career path rather than swinging a hammer all day long. I do not remember when I made the exact decision to become a Farrier, but I do recall the allure of such an old and well respected trade. Farriery is steeped in history. It is a precise art and also a straightforward science. Every foot is a mental and physical challenge and every day is different.
At 17 I moved to Perthshire in Scotland and shortly after started my apprenticeship. The work we did was varied though we did a lot of Eventers, Show jumpers and show pony studs. During my time, I became a keen shoemaker and started competing in shoeing competitions. This is where I learnt the extreme attention to detail which makes our Trade such an art form.
Upon completing my 4 ½ year apprenticeship and receiving my Diploma, I decided to further my skills and knowledge by traveling. I was sponsored by the British Farriers and Blacksmiths Association to travel to the United States. There, I was privileged to travel around the south west to work with some of the best Farriers in the country. There I shod horses which participated in almost all the different western disciplines. While there I fell in love with southern California and went back there to work less than a year after I returned from my first trip.
I once again returned to Scotland to work free-lance for other successful farriers in the area. Gaining experience and absorbing different ideas on horseshoeing. I have worked on all the different breeds from Clydesdales to Shetlands, Hackney ponies to Highland ponies, Barrel racers to Harness racers, Mustangs to Mules, Polo to Pony club and all sorts in between.
I have now relocated to set up my own practice. I hope to further my skills through education and competition in the future.