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70% female farrier increase celebrated at 150th Royal Bath & West Show

Record number of female entrants to 2013 May/June Championships.

The Royal Bath & West of England Society honours its 150th Anniversary in 2013, celebrates a 70% rise in UK female farriers and hosts the finals of the British Farrier and Blacksmith Association (BFBA) National Championships.

The BFBA challenge takes place alongside the prestigious Royal Bath & West Shoeing Championships. Running 29 May – 31 May, these championships see a record amount of female farriers enter apprentice and qualified classes.

The increase fits a national trend. According to the latest data from the Farriery Registration Council (FRC), between 2006 and 2013 there has been a 70% increase in UK female farrier registrations. Set against the 8% overall rise in UK farriers’ registering, this seven-year female increase becomes highly notable.

Training applications have been just as popular. National Farrier Training Association (NFTA) figures reveal female numbers rising by over a quarter (27%), during the same period.

Champion female farrier, Sarah-Mary Brown (29) is testament to this new farrier breed. Sarah has scooped a haul of championship prizes and in 2010 was awarded the elite accolade: Associate of the Worshipful Company of Farriers. This year, she enters several classes at The Royal Bath & West Championships.

Her participation is especially fitting as she recently became engaged to current World Champion Farrier and 2012 National BFBA winner, Steven Beane, who returns to defend his title.

Sarah-Mary said: ‘There are far more girls around now than there were when I started, which is great. They love their job, even though it is hard and it’s great to see more female farriers entering competitions.’

Taking place: 29 May – 1 June, Tthe Royal Bath & West Show is England’s biggest agricultural event attracting over 1.5 million visitors per annum and bringing to the fore family, farming and West Country life. Alongside the BFBA Championships, the Show’s milestone 150th anniversary will be marked with a number of added attractions, specifically celebrating the Victorian era.

The BFBA Championship finals will be held on Saturday 1st June, the final day of the Toyal Bath & West Show. The competition attracts some of the most skilled farriers in the UK, tasked with forging three different shoes within the allocated time. So skilled are the entrants, the score difference between the winner and second/third place is often as close as one decimal point.

2012 World Champion BFBA winner Steven Beane, is keen to get shoeing in anticipation of the Finals. He said, ‘2012 was tough, 2013 will be harder.’

Alan Lyons, Show Manager at the Bath & West comments on the news: We’ve been in close contact with the Farrier Registration Council, who like us, have noted a rising number in female farrier training and registrations. On our 150th anniversary, nothing is more fitting than to celebrate this talented uptake with these exciting, fast-paced Championships.’

‘Held at the Royal Bath & West Show, they offer a thrilling spectacle, for the whole family, horse lover or not.‘

British farriers are considered to be the best in the world, a fact proven by the annual September International BFBA Championships. Since the event started in 1979, no country outside the UK has produced a winning team.


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