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Over the past 5 years, 365 farriers and blacksmiths from around the world have expanded their forging skills by participating in the mail-in exercise that’s co-sponsored by the World Championship Blacksmiths’ Competition and American Farriers Journal.
With the mail-in entries evaluated during Canada’s annual Calgary Stampede, this highly educational mail-in forging exercise is different from traditional shoeing contests. In fact, there are no rules as to how you must make each year’s shoe or how many shoes you can make before turning out one that best demonstrates your forging skills.
The emphasis is on expanding your forging skills by working extensively in the fire and having the results evaluated by the Calgary judges. In addition, some $143,685.93 in products donated by leading farrier suppliers have been shared with participants over the 5 years.
Several innovative farriers have make extraordinary efforts to forge the mail-in forging exercise shoes.
Heather Shoebotham, a blacksmith in Belfast, South Africa, forged a diagonal weighted bar shoe from Damascus steel and a hind trotter shoe from titanium.
“With the diagonal weighted shoe, I did the bar in 112 layer Damascus and used 224 layer Damascus on the remainder of the shoe,” she says. “Since you need a light shoe for a trotter, I forged…