Not knowing very much at all about horses or their footwear, I had always fallen into the trap of thinking of the ancient art of horseshoe-making as something quaint and traditional, belonging in the past.

But according to former world champion Darren Bazin, who runs the British Horseshoeing School in Desborough, there are now more farriers than in the days of “working horses”.

In fact the rise in popularity, which has seen horses increasingly used for leisure pastimes such as sports, has meant that more farriers are now needed to make horseshoes than in previous centuries when heavy working horses were more commonly used throughout the country.

The 42-year-old said: “There are more people training now than when we had working horses as there are so many horses in the leisure industry. But our training system is being overhauled so the trainees will be reduced as they are now training more apprentices than are required.

“In Northamptonshire we are pretty rural and there are a lot of horses about and there are quite a few farriers in Northamptonshire, about 30 to 40.”

The British Horseshoeing School was set up by Darren about two years ago as an independent facility. As a three-time world champion farrier, Darren brings about 20 years of experience in thetrade to his role.

He tutors the people who come to him for an education in a discipline which is thousands of years old but still very much used in modern times.

Darren, who also runs a farrier business called Willowbrook Equine Farriers, said: “We can do a maximum of six students in one go. Most of my courses are one-day courses but I do longer courses for the guys who come from abroad, they can come for a week or 10 days.

“It is training for the industry more than taster courses, it is giving people a bit more of my knowledge and a bit of what I have learned over the past 20 years.”

Not only does Darren take on apprentices in his own business but he also tutors at the school, helping students ranging from British trainees who want to develop their skills in certain areas to visitors from across the world who are keen to develop their own skills with the help of a former world champion.

The school runs short courses for every level, although longer courses are also available.

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