Global farriery project spearheads improved equine hoof health

Brooke farrier Rakesh Kumar mentoring local farrier Mohammad Syeed.
Brooke farrier Rakesh Kumar mentoring local farrier Mohammad Syeed. © Atul Loke / Panos Pictures

International animal welfare charity Brooke has announced a new Global Farriery Project to provide expert mentorship and training for community-based farriers who will themselves become skilled trainers and equine welfare advocates.

The initiative was launched on October 23 at an event co-hosted by Kirsten Rausing of The Alborada Trust and Brooke CEO Petra Ingram at The Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket.

The project aims to transform the farriery trade into a recognised, respected and regulated profession in low and middle-income countries and make lasting improvements to animal welfare.

As the saying goes – ‘no hoof, no horse’, and many UK horse owners will know that hoof health is one of the most important areas of animal welfare to get right. If a horse is uncomfortable on its feet, it can lead to problems including lameness, arthritis and increased vulnerability to infections and disease.

In developing countries where Brooke works, many working horses, donkeys and mules are receiving poor treatment, where farriers often have a lack of training or tools, and suffer a low status in the community.

The project was presented by Brooke’s lead farrier Alex Ridgeway, who also runs Motion Horse Farriery in Newmarket.

“Farriery is one of the oldest crafts there is and it’s vital to ensuring positive welfare for all equines,” he said.

Female farrier Fatou Toure in Thies, Senegal.
Fatou Toure is a trained farrier in Thies, Senegal, and is now mentoring other farriers. © Sylvain Cherkaoui

“Unfortunately, farriery is still unregulated in many parts of the world and many of the world’s hardest working horses, donkeys and mules are living without access to good hoof care, leading to unnecessary suffering. I’m excited to implement this new project across Brooke’s work and create lasting change for working equines and those who depend on them,” Ridgeway said.

Early project success stories include Fatou Toure, a young woman living in Senegal who used to be an artistic metal worker, but when she saw a farrier at work she became determined to become one herself. Brooke and its partner ASPAE (Senegalese Association for the Protection of Animals and the Environment) trained her and provided her with the tools of the trade. Fatou now helps mentor a new generation of farriers and Brooke is currently supporting efforts to have a degree in farriery introduced on a national scale.

Through the new Global Farriery Project, Brooke hopes to train more mentors like Fatou within rural communities, resulting in better hoof health for millions of animals and sustainable livelihoods for millions of families.

The Alborda Trust aims to provide funding for medical and veterinary causes, research and education, the welfare of animals and help with relief to disaster areas worldwide.

Brooke is an international charity that protects and improves the lives of the working horses, donkeys and mules that give people in the developing world the opportunity to work their way out of poverty.

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