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President's address

I lost a customer the other day. Sometimes circumstances just conspire against you, and there is nothing you can do to retrieve the situation - you just have to pick yourself up and move on. It used to really upset me, but nowadays there is always someone fitter and prettier to attract the younger clientele! I have lost customers who used to sit in a pram watching while I shod their mother’s horses, now that does make you feel old. Do remember, young farriers, that when the phone rings, that prospective new customer has had another farrier already, and there must be a reason for wanting to change. I always try to check why they have decided to change as it may save you some hassle in the future. My customers joke that it is harder to get off my list than on it.

In June I had the pleasure of visiting the royal highland Show in edinburgh to present the national Championship Competition awards. The competition continues its travels round the country each year and this was its first time ever at the royal highland Show. This was one of my bucket list destinations and I was really looking forward to the trip. It was a credit to Alan Murdoch with his team who made sure the competition was run very smoothly and efficiently in a real laid back environment.

It was a family affair this year, as Ben Casserley became this year’s BFBA national Champion with his

dad Andrew being placed sixth, and also becoming Show Champion Striker. There was a collective sigh and we all had a lump in our throats as they hugged. It was a hard fought competition with top competitors from the British Isles and well done to nigel Fennell for becoming reserve Show Champion. Apprentices were also in attendance and Andrew Tennant became national Apprentice Champion. The highland Show Champion - coming third in two classes and winning three of the five classes - was paul robinson. The show champion apprentice was Alistair McClintock. Well done to you all.

I also had the pleasure of meeting David Wilson Snr at the show. David is a past-president of the Association and a globally-recognised World Champion blacksmith and farrier. I must admit I was in awe of meeting such an iconic figure of not only the Association but of farriery as well. he was showing us his new book, a biography of his life that will be on sale later this year, look out for it.

hot on the heels of the highland show was the presentation for all the recently qualified apprentices and those who had achieved the AWCF exam. These events are among my favourite days, I have been to several with my qualifying apprentices. I just love to see the young guys and gals starting out on their chosen career; after all it is a long road to get there, requiring dedication, hard work and the support of their parents. This year was different for several reasons. Firstly, it was the graduation of my last apprentice Joe Matthews. Secondly, I was on the other side this time, giving a short talk and presenting gifts to David Blake for the best portfolio and to James holliday for the best forging skills. Well done you two and well done to the 17 farriers who were there to collect their Associate certificate - and I did say 17 - the most on record to pass the associate exam in one sitting. I am proud of our training system and the further education available for qualified farriers with the aspiration to improve themselves.

August and September will be a busy months for us starting with the popular BFBA Apprentice pre- Diploma days on August 29th & 30th. If your apprentice is going to take their diploma exam in the next year, do send them to Stoneleigh to get some exam practice and feedback from real examiners. These days are fun to run and we try to give the apprentices an authentic exam experience without the pressure of their finals. In order to give them guidance on their level and take some of the worry out of the day itself, feedback is given individually on all aspects of the day. There will also be a presentation from last year’s Cultural exchange student to whet your appetite for applying to do the same.

September will see the Farrier Focus day run alongside the International Team Shoeing Competition, so look out for information on the itinerary for this weekend on the Forge website and Facebook page. Craig D’Arcy has worked hard on this, so come along and support the Association’s event of the year. Cheer your favourite country, visit the trade fair or enjoy the demonstrations and lectures. you may even feel like putting on a steward’s vest and helping run the busy competition for a couple of hours. you will be very welcome and please do come and find me for a chat over a beer or a cup of tea.

Chris Linssner BFBA President

ForgeMagazine; FarrieryFocus 2 Forge | August 2015 ˮ Win a £10! voucher

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To enter, go to COMPETITIONS on our website, or send your entries to BFBA, The Forge, Avenue B, 10th Street, NAC, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire CV8 2LG and the author of the best one will receive a £10 voucher courtesy of well known photographer Tom Ryan.


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