A dying craft kept alive by local Centennial Parklands farriers
Hot shoeing horses is a dying, historical farrier craft, but Sydney boys Bondi Farriers are some of rare remaining few who are keeping the flame alive.
The boys use the old blacksmith’s hot shoeing method (the process of heating the horseshoe before shoeing the horse) of forging horse shoes in a furnace and re-shaping and modifying them by hand. Hot-shoeing became common in the 16th century in Europe.
Farriers’ work is mainly concerned with the shape and care of horses’ hooves, but the majority of farriers today ‘cold shoe’ horses which doesn’t allow them to get the most accurate shape match possible.
The Bondi Farriers team of three – Richard Ballard, Jeff Hotson and Anthony Hamer – specialise in repairing cracks in hooves, corrective shoeing for lame horses, the application of equilox (adhesive hoof repair substance) and in all general hoof maintenance.
The team carries out their physically demanding work amongst the flames and smoke of the furnace, with red-hot steel, majestic horses, scenic heritage buildings and the farriers themselves providing a dramatic context for photo and film opportunities.
This month marks 12 months since the Bondi Farriers joined the Centennial Parklands’ Equestrian Centre, bringing with them 25 years experience of working with horses.
Originally a show jumper for the state of Victoria, Richard Ballard completed his Master Farrier apprenticeship in Melbourne and has been shoeing horses since he was 14 years old. He has worked for himself in Sydney, Adelaide and Victoria, shoeing horses at some of the country’s most renowned racecourses, including Flemington, Caulfield, Cranbourne and Mornington.
Richard and Jeff also do a lot of work in the racing community in Sydney at Rosehill, Warwick Farm and Randwick racecourses.
Bondi Farriers cater to all types of horses and their attention to detail and thoroughness is second to none. The boys farrier up to 75 per cent of the horses in CPEC, and surrounding Eastern suburbs, and it is getting busier by the day.
“Since we opened in February it has been flat chat but we love what we do so the long days don’t bother us,” said Richard Ballard, owner of Bondi Farriers. “We love working with horses and we get the satisfaction from helping all types of horses – from million dollar racehorses to a family’s Shetland pony.
“There is no better feeling than knowing that we have helped that horse perform better or even live better. Horses are my life and I am really looking forward to building the business here at the Equestrian Centre. The horses here are some of the happiest I have ever worked with and it’s great to work in CPEC’s friendly environment.”
The Bondi Farriers are all trade accredited and Richard and Jeff are registered NSW Master Farriers.
For more information about the Centennial Parklands Equestrian Centre visit www.cpequestrian.com.au
new and existing clients
Richard Ballard has over twenty years experience as a farrier and is on site at the Equestrian Centre daily.
Centennial Park Veterinary Practice is a specialist equine practice ideally situated within the Centre.
John Leckie has been providing agistment and livery services in Moore Park for over 30 years.