Transforming farriery into a recognised, respected and regulated profession in low and middle-income countries is the aim of a new project by an international equine charity and The Worshipful Company of Farriers (WCF).
The Global Farriery Project by working equine charity Brooke will provide expert mentorship and training, with the WCF working with Brooke to implement technical training resources and joining the call for global regulation.
Launched last year, the project was created to dispel negative perceptions towards the trade and promote sustainable mentoring within equine owning communities. To date, more than 1000 farriers and 21 new mentors have benefitted from the training and gone on to provide expert care and services for their communities.
“When we start work in new areas or communities, most animals have hoof problems, and lameness is still one of the most common issues. That’s why investing time and resources into this vital profession is so important,” said Alex Ridgeway, Brooke’s lead farrier and owner of Motion Horse Farriery in Newmarket.
“We’re very excited to have the invaluable support of the Worshipful Company of Farriers in working towards our goal of transforming farriery into a globally regulated and respected profession. Farriery is one of the oldest crafts there is, and it’s vital to ensuring positive welfare for all equines. We look forward to building on our successes, working with WCF to expand the project around Africa and Asia.”
These successes include Senegal, where the Ministry of Vocational Training has announced a new formal accreditation for farriery from this year. Such developments are not only of benefit to the millions of working horses and donkeys, but also to the livelihoods of millions of families.
David Buckton, Immediate Past Master, Worshipful Company of Farriers, said that sometimes in the communities in which Brooke operates, “No foot, no horse, no income” can become a reality.
“The Worshipful Company of Farriers are very pleased to be a part of this project which, by raising the status and skills of farriers in low to middle-income countries, will be of great benefit to the welfare of horses, donkeys and mules. Better welfare of their animals will improve the livelihoods of the equine owning families. We are thrilled and very much looking forward to working with Brooke on the Global Farriery Project.”
One such farrier benefiting is Mohammad, a Brooke-trained farrier in India who has been working in the profession for 20 years. Brooke approached Mohammad and offered to give him farriery and handling training to improve the quality of his work. After attending training sessions over the course of a year, Mohammad is now a proud animal welfare advocate on behalf of Brooke. He works long days to support his wife and 12 children and notes that he now gets more customers as people know that he is associated with Brooke and will give a higher quality service.
“Working with Brooke has been very beneficial to me, after meeting the farrier trainer my knowledge has increased and I always welcome them in future to teach me more,” he said.
Looking ahead, Brooke and the WCF will work together to raise the profile of farriery around the world and ensure more people like Mohammad get the training and tools they need to promote good hoof health within their communities.