Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 19 October 2018

In Pictures: The hands that shape the shoes - Irish farriers eye Euro success

 

Farriers Sam Brennan from Limerick, Eddie Channon from Newbridge, and James Woods from Limerick working at the RACE Training centre in Kildare town, and who are representing Ireland in the European Farrier Championships. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke
Farriers Sam Brennan from Limerick, Eddie Channon from Newbridge, and James Woods from Limerick working at the RACE Training centre in Kildare town, and who are representing Ireland in the European Farrier Championships. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke
John Downing

John Downing

Ireland's top farriers are preparing to pit their skills against the best of their trade across mainland Europe.

A team of four master farriers from across the country are in strict training for the European Farrier Championships to be held in Aarberg in Switzerland on June 22 and 23.

Farrier Sam Brennan shapes a shoe at the RACE Training centre in Kildare town
Farrier Sam Brennan shapes a shoe at the RACE Training centre in Kildare town

The team is managed by master farrier John McLoughlin from Nurney, Co Kildare and members were chosen earlier this year after a well-contested competition.

The team members are Eddie Channon from Newbridge, Kildare; James Woods, Shanagolden, Limerick; Paul Duddy, Strabane, Tyrone; and Sam Brennan, Askeaton, Limerick.

Farrier Eddie Channon from Newbridge working at the RACE Training centre in Kildare town
Farrier Eddie Channon from Newbridge working at the RACE Training centre in Kildare town

They gather regularly at the Farrier School in Kildare Town, to hone their skills and practice carrying out tasks against the clock as the competition demands. The team is operating under the aegis of the Irish Master Farriers' Association which has 140 members including apprentices.

As team manager, John McLoughlin is confident they will be in the shakedown for prizes - and with a bit of luck can bring off a big win. He explains that the competition comprises five separate classes, with phases one to four directed at horseshoe-making from scratch through the various phases.

Farrier Sam Brennan from Limerick puts a shoe on a horse at the RACE Training centre in Kildare town
Farrier Sam Brennan from Limerick puts a shoe on a horse at the RACE Training centre in Kildare town

Demands

The final test involves shoeing a horse within strict time limits. "The contest demands making two shoes and putting one of these on a horse within 60 minutes. You have to combine top class work with efficiency and speed," John McLoughlin explains.

The Irish Master Farriers' Association (IMFA) is keen to maintain as many of the old skills as possible in an era of mechanisation and factory-made shoes. Members say that many master farriers regularly make shoes from scratch to meet specific customer demands and this skill is much prized.

Also Read


John McLoughlin says members are confident that the trade generally is in good shape with members present in most parts of the country.

Eight apprentices begin a four-year training scheme each year at the Kildare-based school and the training combines the practical work with a master farrier with periods of study and training in the school.

Farriers Sam Brennan frmo Limerick, Eddie Channon from Newbridge, John McLoughlin from Kildare and James Woods from Limerick working at the RACE Training centre in Kildare town, and who are representing Ireland in the European Farrier Championships.
Farriers Sam Brennan frmo Limerick, Eddie Channon from Newbridge, John McLoughlin from Kildare and James Woods from Limerick working at the RACE Training centre in Kildare town, and who are representing Ireland in the European Farrier Championships.

As competition time approaches the team will step up training with more sessions in Kildare. A total of 16 teams from across Europe are competing in the competition hosted by the Swiss farriers and two judges, one from USA and another from Canada, will adjudicate.

Farriers working at the RACE Training centre in Kildare town.
Farriers working at the RACE Training centre in Kildare town.

Indo Farming

Get the latest news from the FarmIreland team 3 times a week.





More in Rural Life