Career in profile - Alwyn McKeown
My passion for horses first began from an early age, both my parents had a long family history with horses which led them to be heavily involved in the racehorse industry at a later stage, with training, racing, and breeding.
I was introduced to horses before I could walk as they were always part of my life, my parents and I found success in the show ring with numerous ponies from lead rein age three to ridden show hunter age eighteen, I competed all over Ireland and the UK taking countless prestigious championships and titles home.
My farrier career was a happy accident as In ever intended to take this path, I had sat my A-Levels and was intending to become an architect as my profession, when one afternoon our farrier came to shoe my horse just like any other visit, but that day a lightbulb switched on and I knew from that moment I would not want to be anything else, I had found my calling and went to peruse my goal at Warwickshire college in England as there was no farrier school in Ireland at that time back in 1994.
I completed my DWCF after four years apprenticeship with Mr. Gary Martin AWCF in Essex where I gained invaluable knowledge, skills and life lessons and then returned home to Co. Antrim to begin my own business in 2000.
Throughout my time training I regularly competed at local and county farrier competitions and then was lucky enough to be selected to be on the Irish apprentice farrier team.
After gaining my DWCF I carried on competing as a Master Farrier both nationally and Internationally and then again was selected to be part of the Ireland Master Farrier Team, I carried on with my commitment to the Team in a supportive role by becoming the Ireland Farrier Team manager which gives me pride seeing the Teams compete and represent Ireland on a wider field.
Whilst competing in 2004 at Glenarm Castle Farrier competition I met Mr. Ivan Bell who was the judge at the event that year, he asked me If I would consider taking a teaching position at The Irish School Of Farriery where I have been a tutor here ever since.
I believe it is a great asset to Ireland to have the School in Ireland for the future of our industry and I hope to see many more generations to come learn and grow their skills and knowledge which it takes to become a farrier.
My passion and desire to further my education led me to undertake my AWCF in 2012 which I achieved with distinction.
I believe education is the foundation for our trade and that we never stop learning, every single day.