Carl O’Dwyer has been involved in the horse industry as a farrier for 50 years, with his main area of expertise specializing in problem horseshoeing of performance horses. His main passion is the Harness Racing industry and shoeing Square Gaiters and Standard Breds. He was actively involved in the Farrier competition circuit in Australia and New Zealand and won several competitions in individual and team events within the region.
In 1971, Carl formed O’Dwyer Horseshoe Sales Australia as he saw a need for mechanically produced horseshoes. O’Dwyer Horseshoes used state of the art technology in the form of automation in the manufacturing process to produce quality products. In 2002, the company joined with Mustad Hoofcare SA and Carl is still involved as consultant on product development and performs several clinics each year for the company.
Carl has served on many committees in the Harness Racing industry, Farrier Industry and also the greater horse industry in Australia. He was a member for several years on the Australian Rural Industries Research and Development Committee (RIDIC), which was responsible for allocating funding to research in the Equine Industry within Australia.
In addition to being a Businessman and Farrier he has also been a successful Harness Racing Trainer and Driver. As a trainer he won a number of major Australian races including the Hunter Cup (Standard Bred), Cochran Cup (Trotter), Dullard Cup (Trotter) and the Consolation Inter Dominion Trot (Trotter). With a foundation of experience across the industry and in business this lead Carl to a role as a Board member of Harness Racing Victoria (2001-2011).
With many years of experience in the horse industry in many diverse areas, Carl’s real passions continue to be the Harness Racing and the Farrier industries.
Malcolm started his apprenticeship in 1950 under the guidance of Mr Casey at Mordialloc. Three years later they shifted to Epsom Racecourse and Malcolm spent the rest of his working life at Epsom.
Malcolm was a Committee Member from 1965 until his retirement in 1996, including five years as VMFA President, with Ernie Shinkfield as Secretary.
Malcolm and Ernie were instrumental in compiling the first Recommended Price List that has continued to be one of the most sought after benefits of VMFA membership.
Beside training four apprentices of his own, Malcolm shared the teaching role with Ron King at Glenormiston Collegewhen the first group of apprentice farriers started there in 1986. In later years Malcolm gave lectures at Box Hill TAFE on hoof care for the strappers course.
After retiring as a farrier in 1996 when Epsom Racecourse was closed down, Malcolm moved to Epping TAFE to set up the facilities for the apprentice farriers’ trade schooling and continued as the Trade School Teacher at Epping for another
3½ years. In honour of his achievements there, he was made a Life Member of TAFE.
When he was about 12 years old Alec had a pony named Dusty and the first time he wanted Dusty shod Jack Castleman (a racehorse trainer in Mildura) offered to shoe him, but told Alec to watch carefully as the next time he’d have to shoe the pony himself. By the time he was about 18 Alec was shoeing a few pacers in Mildura and over the next few years he trained a few pacers as well.
Around 1970 Alec took a pacer to Kilmore to race and happened to strike up a conversation with Carl O’Dwyer who offered him a job. Alec grabbed the opportunity and spent a year under Carl’s guidance, fine-tuning his skills, before Carl started up a new business manufacturing machine-made shoes and Alec was offered the opportunity to take over Carl’s clients – highly regarded pacing trainers such as Gordon Rothacker, the Shinns, the Gaths, Ron Peace, Graham Lang, Ted Demmler, Noel Alexander and the Knights. During the next five years Alec built up a solid reputation as a farrier in the trotting industry.
An opportunity then arose to take over a business at Caulfield shoeing thoroughbreds for Angus Armanasco, Colin Little, Brian Ralph, Jack Godby, etc. Eventually this expanded to shoeing for John Hawkes at Epsom, Tom Hughes, Brian Ralph and Henry Davis at Flemington as well as the Caulfield trainers. With the growth of his business, Alec agreed to take on his first apprentice when David Mangan approached him, wanting to learn to shoe horses. (He doesn’t recall David attending trade school.)
Alec’s next apprentice was his youngest son Paul and when he was about half way through his time Alec’s oldest son, Mark, decided he also wanted to be a farrier and was signed up as a mature-age apprentice. Both Paul and Mark attended Trade School.
Alec served as a Committee Member for several years while he was working inMelbourne.
However, in 1990 Alec fell in love with a property for sale inTamworth, decided to grab the opportunity to pursue his life-long dream of breeding horses and handed over his shoeing business to his sons, Mark and Paul.
Alec has now retired and moved back to Melbourne to be near his family.
Ray was born in Ferntree Gully on 10 April 1947, married Veronica (Ronny) Gilcrist in 1966 and has four children. Mark a motor mechanic, Leanne a trained personal carer, Robert a farrier, trainer and former professional jockey and Craig a farrier and amateur jockey.
Ray started with J A Lucas (Reg and Les’ father) of Mountview Road, Boronia on 9th December 1962 and also worked with Don Cook at Victorian Dairies. He then went to work for Carl O’Dwyer in Kilmore in 1968. Ray also worked for and with John Pittard over a number of years before he established himself in his own right.
Ray continued working for himself thereon until 2003 when he retired due to having major back surgery.
During his career as a farrier Ray shod all classes of horses from ponies to racehorses and worked with many different vets on hoof problems and corrective shoeing, with foals and young horses being his speciality.