Annually competitors, both serving and ex serving Farriers get together and take part in one of the toughest competitions going: The Cavalry Black Pairs Shoeing Competition at Hyde Park Barracks. Sparks fly when their ancient skills are put to the test in an hour long round.
The competitors work in pairs to shoe one of 12 Household Cavalry Chargers to strict time parameters in the Army forge. Each pair only shoes two feet, one front one rear both on the same side, and the competition is to ensure both sides fit the horse perfectly even though shoed by different people.
The competitors must “dress” and measure the feet then they must cut the steel from a piece of flat bar stock and shape the shoe using just one anvil and one fire. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third placed ‘pair’. A prize for Best dressed foot. Best individual and best military pair are awarded.
All of this must be done including nailing the shoe to the foot in just 1 hour. Horse shoeing is an increasingly rare skill, but the Farriers’ naturally competitive nature means that titles like this one are hotly contested. Being under pressure however is all in a day’s work for our experienced military team.