FAF-FID welcomes volunteer-farrier Anthony Wilson back for the second time
After a break due to the hottest time of the year in Rajasthan (India) between May and September, Flying Anvil Foundation-Farriery Institute Dundlod (FAF-FID) is once again bursting with activity!
For this third course of the year, we had the great privilege to once again benefit from the expertise of British farrier Anthony Wilson, volunteering for the second time at FAF-FID. Anthony already gave a course in November 2013, when the construction of the Institute was not yet finished. It was a nice experience for him to see the final result of the building and its great facilities! Bernard’s dream is now set in concrete in the shape of a fantastic horse shoeing school, says Anthony.
October 5th marked the start of the third course of 2015 – this time focusing on cold shoeing, the modification of factory manufactured shoes, how to achieve that perfect fit and forging basic shoes.
The student body was six people strong this time around, five were returning students from earlier in the year and one was a new addition. FAF founder Bernard Duvernay was pleasantly surprised by the vast improvement in the students’ capabilities since he saw them last.
When I saw the students’ work, my first impression was that they’ve made massive progress! They are really showing enthusiasm and a passion for learning from experiences teachers, he explains.
To get the course going the team started with an anatomy revision to make sure everyone was knowledgeable in the common pathological conditions such as laminitis, ossification of ungular cartilages, tendinitis and joint problems. Assisted by our Indian teaching assistants Sahib Parminder Signh and Gaje Singh, Anthony proceeded to teach the students how to best modify factory manufactured shoes in order to aid horses with these different disorders.
We talked about shapes of feet and how to reshape shoes ready to fit. We covered altering factory shoes and using welding to make bar shoes lateral extensions, says Anthony.
Towards the end of the course he organised an eagle eye competition for the students at the institute. This means they get to look at a hoof for a limited amount of time and then go on to make a shoe that fits well within the given time frame. This exercise allows the students to really look at the hoof methodically and to memorize the shape and characteristics of the hoof at a quick glance.
On a field day out of the school the group got to shoe two horses in a nearby stable with new plastic shoes manufactured by a producer in Delhi that previously focused on making plastic parts for the automobile industry. The shoes are not yet available for commercial use but are developed with the goal to provide an affordable but yet comfortable shoe for working equines in mountainous areas. The excursion lead to an interesting day in the field for all involved.
The students that have followed the courses throughout the year are beginning to prepare for the exams at the end of the fourth course that will determine whether they become qualified farriers. When talking about what they plan on doing with their skills and qualifications after graduating from the institute the students all share the same enthusiastic view on the future where they get to continue on practicing farriery and working in close proximity to horses all over India.
My plan is to be a professional farrier and to give my best by helping the horses, by letting my customers know what work I am going to do. I will share my knowledge in the right way and practicing every day, says FAF-FID student Mohammed Saleh Mota.
Our British farrier volunteer Anthony made it back to the UK safe and sound, and filled with new experiences and impressions. He describes his mission at FAF-FID in the following terms; FAF is doing a very worthwhile job out in India and you get a real sense that it’s changing people’s lives for the better and at the same time helping our equine friends. Farriery has given me a great life and to give up a mere two weeks to give something back wasn’t hard – it was a pleasure!
When asked to give some advice to the volunteers for the upcoming course, Johan Verhulpen (Belgium) and Dr.Ramanathan Balachandran (India), Anthony only had this to say;
You are taking on six well rounded farriers who crave knowledge and know-how. Give them everything you can – they won’t waste it. They are a pleasure to work with, I wish I could have stayed longer as two weeks fly by. Good luck and all my very best.
Finally we would like to once again thank Kerckhaert for their continued support and their willingness to sponsor Anthony during his stay at FAF-FID!