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A day in the life of a.... Farrier

10 May 2012

Darren Bazin

Darren is a Senior Consultant at Willowbrook Equine Farriers and is a highly experienced and accomplished Farrier.

A competitive edge and a dedication to his craft saw him become 3x world forging champion, 3 x world shoeing champion and 3 x world champion Blacksmith. He has been consistent member of the England horse shoeing team for the last 15 years and has competed in not only the UK but also the USA, Canada, Scandinavia and Italy. He has also judged both at home and abroad.

Competing at international level shows the level of skill and craftsmanship involved in the role of Farrier as well as the sheer dedication required to be at the top level.

How did you get involved in this role?

I was fortunate to have ridden as a child and so was always around ponies and horses, a good friend of my family was a farrier and I was always fascinated to listen to the stories he had to tell. Then as I got older I would accompany him on his round during my school holidays, then when I left school I was lucky enough to gain an apprenticeship with 5 times World Champion Farrier Billy Crothers, who inspired me to make the very best of myself.

What attracted you to the job?

I always liked working outside and using my hands, combined with working with horses made farriery the perfect career choice for me.

What is a typical day like for you?

We usually start at 7.30am, the vans will be loaded by the apprentices with shoes, nails and any other hoof care products we might need for the day, lists of horses and clients are handed out to the guys that work for me (I currently employ 2 qualified guys and 2 apprentices) The vans then head off and travel from client to client providing which ever farrier service is required. The clients re-book for 4 to 7 weeks time so we know where we are going in weeks in advance and can plan holidays and days off. We all try to be back by 5.30pm but if we have any lost shoes or emergencies then this may become later. When we get back the apprentices usually practice some shoemaking, whilst I catch up on the admin. I usually see my family for a couple of hours and then may come out to have a shoemaking practice myself (I'm currently training for the World Championships) or just to see how the apprentices are getting on.

What is your favorite part of the job?

Traveling round the countryside, working as part of a team to get the best possible athletic performance from the sports horses we do, and competing in farriery competitions.

Which part of your job would you like to change?

Shoeing in the wind and rain!

What is the career progression for someone in your role?

The basic qualification is the Diploma of the Worshipful Company of Farriers, this is gained after a four year, 2 month apprenticeship and is a necessary qualification for farriers in the Uk to become registered, the next qualification is the Associate WCF and applies to farriers who want to show that they have more remedial and therapeutic farriery skills. Finally there is the highest qualification, the Fellowship of WCF. This is for those farriers who wish to become examiners. Farriers may also become Approved training farriers, this enables them to take on and teach apprentices.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of taking a similar role?

Farriery is not a job it's a way of life and you get out of it what you put in to it.

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