The membership of the Worshipful Company of Farriers consists of craft farriers, veterinary surgeons and an amalgam of persons committed to the welfare of the Horse, the continuing of the craft and contributing to the success of the City of London. Founded in 1605, the Worshipful Company of Farriers is number 55 on the register of the City of London Livery Companies.
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Master of The Company 2012-2013, Evelyn Webb-Carter
The Master was brought up in Hampshire in a thatched cottage made of old redbrick and stone. He was born just after the war and thus is a baby boomer who seemed to be blamed for all our economic problems from pensions to over reliance on the National Health. It was an age of rationing and "eat everything on your plate". It's a habit which has never left him which does not augur well for his weight this year.
His introduction to the horse was not at all interesting or exciting. "Jumbo" was an old unshod pony kept by his mother which occasionally he sat on. He didn't really start to ride until the 1970s when he was serving in the Grenadier Guards and the opportunity to hunt in Leicestershire presented itself.
Since then he has been associated with horses in one way or another. In the 70s and early 80s he played regimental polo and bought his first horse an Argentinian pony called Salvador. It was the time of troubles in San Salvador and his son Clive (a Freeman) couldn’t understand why the polo pony was always on the TV news. In 1982 he had a bad accident when another pony came down and he broke his arm in several places. Thereafter polo was out and hunting became the passion. Celia always says she never married a horseman nor wanted to but now she is stuck with it.
The Master's family have revolved around hunting for the last 30 years and as they travelled from posting to posting new opportunities to hunt in different places occurred. Leicestershire was always available but a posting to Catterick meant a full yard of 4 horses and two ponies. This allowed the Master to hunt two days a week whilst commanding a brigade! Clive, Helen and Rose (Freeman) all remember those days with much hilarity. The Master would lock the house after hunting so they had to feed the horses and clean the tack before having tea themselves!!
He has met a few farriers in his time most very good and never lost a day’s hunting through a non appearance at short notice. His current farrier has been with him since 1985 and although now operating further afield still comes whenever needed.
There are fewer horses and less hunting now but the slack has been taken up with riding in far off parts in following old campaign routes. These started with Richard Holmes in 1994 when they rode the route taken by the British expeditionary Force in august and September of 1914. The subsequent book written by Richard “Riding the Retreat” is a wonderful read. Subsequent trips took the pair to South Africa, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Spain and Jordan. More recently they have made up a team to ride for the Army’s charity which the Master ran until February this year. Sadly Richard died in 2011 and no longer will the pair be seen riding into the blood sodden sunset reciting Henry Newbolt’s poem, "The Colonel's dead and the Gatling's jammed".
The Master's good friend is Mr. Stitch whom he rides most days in the autumn and winter and the plan is to hunt as much as possible mid week although with the dreaded diary that does not look that good at the moment. Mr Stitch’s conversations with the Master are the subject of a blog which can be viewed on www.themrstitch.blogspot.co.uk
So there you have it, a retired soldier and chief executive whose interest are family, military history and the horse and his ambition is always to try and combine them into one project!