By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: When a guy has driven 18-wheel logging trucks during the wild winters of northern Alberta and Saskatchewan for a living, you won’t hear him complaining about the hours he keeps today as an assistant trainer at Hastings Racecourse.
Actually, Mal Beveridge is more than an assistant trainer. He’s a top – notch farrier, a constant source of information for grooms and the galloping crew and perhaps more importantly, a sounding board for Craig MacPherson, his boss and long-time friend.
Malcolm grew up in the township of Fairview, Alberta, within the heart of the Peace River Country 70 miles north of Grande Prairie. “I was riding horses in rodeos and at fairgrounds when I was 12 years old,” he says. “I’d win a little prize money from time to time and also get paid $5 a mount.”
Beveridge moved west in 1986 and will forever thank his lucky stars for landing work with trainer Joe Walls (father of Hall of Fame jockey Mickey) upon his arrival. “I didn’t know a soul and wound up shoeing horses for Joe, which eventually led me to working under Troy Taylor, one of the best trainers of all-time at Hastings,” Beveridge says. “It just didn’t get any better than that back in the good ol’ days.”
He’s the first to point out he still “has it pretty good” these days, too. Besides his invaluable input to the MacPherson stable where there are consistently 30-35 four-legged tenants to look after, Beveridge still finds the time to shoe horses for trainers Dino Condilenios and Patty Leaney. “I do between 50-60 a month,” he says. “When I started out years ago, I’d shoe 180 a month. That profession hasn’t changed in 3,000 years.”
A father of two grown-up sons and two daughters, Mal is your typical down-to-earth guy who shoots from the hip and asks questions later. His uninhibited exuberance at times can get people shooting back at him. But those who know him best praise him to the skies. “I try to keep a positive attitude,” Beveridge says. “I love what I do. Every day is a new adventure.”