AS one of Australia's leading farriers, Steve Izzard's 'office' is about as far removed from most desk jobs as you can imagine.
When The Queanbeyan Age caught up with Izzard earlier this week in his backyard smithy, the 35-year-old was already hard at work.
Hammer in hand, Izzard steadily beats a piece of glowing steel into shape, occasionally returning it to the heat of the forge while keeping an expert eye on its progress.
The heat in the room is noticeable but far from unbearable. One suspects however, that by mid-summer the suburban workshop becomes uncomfortable to say the least.
"It's obviously pretty physical work," Izzard tells me.
"But I like it. I like to work for myself. "It's a taxing job on the body and I probably haven't looked after myself as best I could have which is why I've been in and out of it a bit over the years. But I'm in it to stay these days so I have to take care of myself a bit better."
A well-known figure in Queanbeyan racing circles, Izzard is the farrier of choice for a majority of local stables. As a teenager, Izzard's first paying gig - if only a $10 job - was with Queanbeyan trainer Myffy Rae. He has since shod countless local horses including none other than sprint champion Karuta Queen.
Izzard's passion for the profession first emerged at an early age as he learned to shoe his own horses on his grandfather's property. "You definitely need to be a horse person to do this job," he says.
"I've always liked being around horses and just the challenges of the work, of making sure the horse is comfortable.
"I mostly shoe race horses these days and they've got to have their feet right if they want to run. When they gallop they put a lot of stress on their hooves so it's important they're shod right to make sure they're not getting hurt.
"Away from the stables, the talented craftsman has also recently returned to the competitive blacksmith and farrier scene after nearly a decade on the sidelines. Earlier this month, Izzard dominated the South Australian Championships at the Adelaide Show, taking out four categories while also claiming overall honours in the open [expert] division.
A two-time Australian champion by the age of 26, Izzard gave competition away while at the top of his game as a growing family and other priorities took centre stage. "I did realise I'd been missing it," Izzard says of his return to competition this year.
"I was a little bit uncertain as to how I'd go, I knew there was one guy who'd been winning most things lately and beating my old boss was going to be a challenge as well.
"It was definitely good to get back into it though. I'm not too sure what's next from here but one of the [Adelaide Show] judges wants me to go over to the Calgary Stampede in Canada next year which is the World Championships so that might be something."
Izzard also said he was hopeful of expanding his farrier business and taking on an apprentice over the coming months.