NEW FOREST apprentice farrier Lewis Cook has won a coveted place in the England team for national and international competitions.
Long hours and hard work have paid off to win the place, with practice before work in the mornings starting at 5am.
He was one of 24 competitors from all over the country competing at the Bath and West Showground for the four team places, and Lewis (20) received his Worshipful Company of Farriers of London medal at the end of the day when his success was announced.
Lewis, who grew up in the heart of the Forest between Beaulieu and Brockenhurst, attended Noadswood School and then Hereford College for a pre-farrier course.
As a young commoner Lewis enjoyed riding the Forest and managing stock with his older brother Oliver.
He said the handling of the semi-feral ponies in the New Forest gave him good standing when starting his apprenticeship.
Now serving under world champion farrier Jim Blurton, based in Welshpool, north Wales, Lewis has received help and support from other farriers in the Forest.
The ex-Noadswood School boy said: “Many thanks to Billy Scott who took me for work experience from school and Robbie Hawthorn who has practised with me.”
Mum Sue said Robbie, who was a member of the England apprentice farrier team this year, was a good friend.
The four-year farrier apprenticeship includes hands-on experience and block release at Myescough College in Lancashire leading to final qualification in May 2021.
But Lewis’s international travels have already started – last week he went to a French college in the Pyrenees where he demonstrated English techniques to French students. He entered a competition with a borrowed set of tools and, to his delight, came third.