International gathering of horseshoers
Over the past 10 years this event has been a great success
We recently released an article about the impressive knife handling tournaments that take place on a regular basis in the United States. This week’s article we will stay on American soil.
Since 2006 the American organization, the World Championships Blacksmiths (WCB), has organized a championship for individuals in the horseshoeing field that travels around the Untied States.
The original goal of the WCB’s founders was to establish a meeting for horseshoers in cities where equestrian activities were influential. Their aim was to highlight the positive aspects of the horseshoeing domain and the profession’s values.
The very first competition was held in January 2007. 200 horseshoers accepted the WCB’s invitation to this competition. This championship has since enjoyed continual success. It is comprised of several different levels of competition that attract an ever-increasing number of spectators. The next competitions will take place in Wyoming, Virginia and Nevada.
The Blacksmith organization also sells several products that are famous globally, including the following: ironworks, steel tripods, hammer magnets, supports for blacksmithing punches, anvil stands and gas forges.
Horseshoers enter into the spotlight!
The WCB horseshoeing championships are comprised of four categories:
- Category 1: entry-level competitors
- Category 2: intermediary
- Category 3: professionals
- Category 4: veterans (over 45 years-old)
Several forging competitions (single man, two man, timed event) take place during the weekend-long event. The competitions vary from 12 minutes to 60-70 minutes and test fundamental skills, such as strength and dexterity; competitors must show proof of mastering these skills in order to stay in the competition.
The competing horseshoers use forges to create beautiful horseshoes, demonstrating their techniques and personal knowledge. A panel of professional judges pick the winners. You can get a better idea of the competition by watching the videos posted on the WCB Facebook page.
Another key element in this horseshoeing competition is learning. The championship is a great place for competitors to compare, share and improve their personal techniques.
International horseshoeing championships are held in France too!
The horseshoeing competition organized by the Blacksmiths society that takes place in America is the largest horseshoeing event in the world. However, European countries, especially France, have their own horseshoeing competitions that are comparable in size and importance.
The French horseshoeing championships
The French association Lorraine Maréchalerie organized the French horseshoeing championship. The last leg of this championship, whose goal was to select France’s best horseshoers, was held last February in the Belleray Equestrian Center in the department La Meuse. The Bellaray Equestiran Center also organized this part of the championship.
This event had an exhibit of horseshoeing materials and was, above all, a great chance to see the greatest European specialists in the horseshoeing field create horseshoes.
These experts at handling hammers and anvils came from Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Sweden and Hungary. Much like the competitions held in the United States, these experts were separated into 4 different categories.
Both the World Championship Blacksmiths in America and the European international competitions are examples of events that highlight the horseshoeing field.
Of course the majority of individuals working in this field today no longer use the forging techniques that were used long ago. Presently they use prefabricated horseshoes that can be adjusted to the horse’s hooves.
However, these competitions allow passionate individuals to relive the horseshoeing activities of long ago because these competitions’ rules require that the competitors use real forging techniques (creating horseshoes from raw materials).
During these competitions this forging process, which is disregarded in our everyday activities, is placed in the limelight. Seeing these artists in action in a context that mixes healthy competition, the rewards of a job well done and conviviality reminds us that this profession involves the perpetual search of optimal quality and excellence.