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Belvoir brothers are top farriers

Tom and James Holliday
Tom and James Holliday

Two brothers who live on the grounds at Belvoir Castle are hammering out a great reputation for themselves as two of the nation’s finest farriers.

James Holliday, 24, has represented England in competitions while 22-year-old Tom recently returned from Las Vegas after claiming third place in the industry’s world championships.

Tom and James Holliday
Tom and James Holliday

They look after the shoes of hunters, racehorses, ponies and domestic horses via their business, Holliday Farriery Services.

James said: “We are based at an old fashioned coke forge at the kennels at Belvoir Castle but we also have a van which we travel around the area in with all our tools.

“It’s quite a high risk job but neither of us have had any injuries while farrying so far – we work on generally quite kind animals.

“Your body does get tired though, it really aches after a day’s work.”

Tom and James Holliday
Tom and James Holliday

Tom was surprised by the success he enjoyed at the World Championships Blacksmiths in the United States.

“They had these six coke fires set up in the car park of one of the hotels in Las Vegas and there were quite a lot of people watching,” said Tom.

“We had to make two shoes and put one of them on a horse inside a set time.

“There were probably about 100 farriers and blacksmiths competing so I was pretty pleased to get third place in my class.”

James has been selected again for the England squad and is preparing for a competition involving all the British nations in Cardiff next month.

The lads have enjoyed lots of success at county show events and competitions throughout the UK.

The inspiration for their careers came from grandfather Jim Dobson. He joined the army as a farrier just after the Second World War and ended up as a riding instructor at Melton’s Remount Depot, what is now the Defence Animal Centre.

He trained the horses for the Queen’s 1953 coronation.

The Holliday brothers use many of the labour-intensive farriery skills which have been used for centuries.

James added: “The processes we use are much the same as ever but there is more understanding of the anatomy of the horse and the hoof.”

For more information on the brothers’ business, visit www.hollidayfarrier services.co.uk


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