Interview with our Indian coordinator after his European Tour:
Thanks to our crowdfunding, our Indian coordinator, Sahib Parminder Singh was able to train during 3 months with farriers in several countries in Europe. Once again FAF would like to thank all the contributors of this crowdfunding, Werkman Horseshoes for kindly inviting Sahib to the Spring Games, all host-farriers who have welcomed him and worked with him to share their knowledge!
How do you feel after these 3 months travelling around Europe ?
After 3 months in Europe: I feel happy to go home ! I want to get back to my work quickly because I have so many ideas in my head !
I want to get my notes and photos in order and get to work! I also wish to share with other farriers and students what I have learned here& help them improve their own work.
How did you feel discovering new cultures, food, athmospheres ?
I adapted to the European scene pretty well, and felt part of a big family, everybody helped me during my trip and I want to thank them all for this.
In Europe, riders and animal lovers and carers seem to be mostly girls, I rarely saw boys and men looking after animals and horses. Of course, I have to mention there a lot of women farriers in Europe, they seem pretty strong and good, even though some of them look like models!
Europeans seem to follow the rules, especially regarding traffic and garbage and railway crossings! You don’t even need a gate keeper on a railway crossing in Europe. In India it’s all the opposite!
I noted how clean the air & the water in the lakes were, you can drink from any fountain! I miss my Indian food, but I enjoyed tasting the different beers all over Europe. I like pizza and cheesecake with Bernard and Princess cake with Uno in Sweden! Riina made Indian chaï for me everyday…
The fresh fruits were great; I never felt bad eating non-veg as the meat felt safe in Europe compared to India.
What did you learn in each countries you have visited ?
Arriving at Amsterdam airport in the night, I felt a little lost and got overcharged by a taxidriver who charged me 51 euros to get me to my modest hotel, a huge sum by Indian standards! but the next morning, I met Isabel from FAF and we had a very nice day in Amsterdam : the trams, electric buses and a canal ferry ride are the highlights – we had headphones on the boat provided all the details about the city – all this seemed very new to me !
We arrived in Groningen a day before the start of the Spring Games, which gave me a chance to visit the Werkman factory.
What struck me was how automatized everything was!
Preparing for the Games with the Werkman staff, I was amazed at the number of forges and anvils in the competition venue, and then once people started arriving, I was rather overwhelmed by so many unknown faces all coming together for the same purpose : farriery and forging. As time went by, I became acquainted with many farriers from all around the world, and I made new friends who helped me with my questions. I attended several lectures all in English; I was impressed by the audience’s participation in questions and answers.
On the practical side, I observed different forging techniques, and a huge quantity of farriery equipment and tools at all the commercial stands there. I found out about different types of shoes, even glue-on shoes.
In Sweden :
I worked with Uno on draft horses for the first time. I had lots of opportunity for forging. I went shoeing one day with Uno to an island and we had to take a ferry .
The food was very different: grilled lamb and fish and the very special dishes were to taste raw fish and even meet with boiled rice or baked potatoes .
My short stay with Bengt mostly gave me trimming experience. We went to the police to shoe their horses then I spent some time forging with Bengt’s staff and visited his farrier supply shop. I was also interviewed by a Norwegian journalist.
with Riina, I worked for 14 days on horses and ponies, and in my forging practice I improved my toe clips and clinching.
In cases of chronic laminitis, I learned to situate the position of the pedal bone and correct the break-over, even with no access to X Ray. I also saw farriers using wooden shoes for laminitis treatment. I also went to Riina’s grandparents’ summer wooden cottage on a lake and ate a lot of fish.
First in Bremen, I had a chance to clarify many points about anatomy with Charlotte, which was important as I had lots of questions. We went to a workshop on gluing techniques for shoes, and did some gluing on foals for conformation correction. I also went to visit the Dallmer factory where plastic shoes are produced and there is a focus on corrective shoes for foals. I also had a chance to meet Mr. Dallmer who is a very old man precursor in plastic shoes in Europe in the 1980’s.
With Jenny in Leipzig, I saw a full horse dissection and for the first time, I made a dissection of the limb on my own, this gave me confidence.
With Andi in Bavaria, I visited the very large Bavarian Stud Farm where he occupies a teaching position in the farriery school. I also attended 2 workshops, one on aluminium shoes conducted by a famous French farrier, Antoine Corona, who developed a full line of aluminium shoes that are very well known to farriers working with performances horses. I attended another one on lameness with Hans Casteljins . I learned to be very methodical in the analysis of the foot (pulse, heat, hoof tester etc) and systematic in the analysis of limb pain. With Andi, I did lots of hot shoeing, and had a chance to work with young horses and sports horses (show jumpers, dressage, driving).
Finally in Switzerland:
I had extended practice with forging, and I took care of my sore back! I helped with the FAF annual ‘Forge en Fête’ event at the workshop. I did forging demonstration and I also made small shoes as key rings for the visitors.
What kind of farriery novelties have you discovered?
Farriery novelties: Glue and aluminium shoeing, hot shoeing, and dealing with some cases of lameness.
Will some tips you have learned during this trip change your way of working? Which ones?
With hot shoeing, I have learned to level, shape the shoe.
Also, I have learned more about the needs of sports horses, such as studs.
Did you notice different ways of working and practicing farriery in the different countries you have visited?
Differences between the countries:
Some countries do less hot shoeing, but in Germany and Switzerland I saw they use hot shoeing all the time, and favour spikes for grip on road surfaces. In Finland they use a lot of pads because of stony grounds.
What is the most important thing you have learned and that will be useful for the well-being of horses in India?
Most important points for use in India :
-Techniques for working on weak hooves: gluing.
-Improving my work with young horses and foals, correcting their conformation by good trimming.
-Fitting a mobile farriery van as I saw in all the European countries. Having a fully equipped vehicle will help me to show a way to improve farriery by carrying all the equipment with me in the many different places of my country that I visit. It will also help organising workshops at horse fairs and in villages.