Off to a good start in 2015! Courses 1 & 2 at FAF-FID Farriery Institute, Dundlod.
The first 2-week module started at the end of January with 9 new candidates on board. Most of the new students met the FAF-FID team for the very first time.
Our present cohort is made up of students coming from all over India : Bengal, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Rajasthan. All share the same goal : to become qualified farriers ready to serve their community.
Getting going with a new batch of students can be a real challenge, since students vary hugely in their degree of experience with horses and their skills with tools. These can sometimes be quite limited. These new students came from different backgrounds, some were grooms, riders or breeders, but all share the same enthusiasm to learn and practice farriery as FAF-FID teaches it.
However, FAF-FID has to be creative and capable of reinventing itself to adapt courses and teaching objectives to the reality of the new students.
Our goals remain unchanged, however. The first course must equip students with basic knowledge of the anatomy and conformation of the horse’s foot and hoof, and of the basic principles of trimming and of horsecare right across the life-span.
As for the second course, the principal areas covered are the practice of trimming and cold shoeing, with additional repetition of other basic procedures: analysis of conformations and gaits, detailed observation of the hoof and frequent reminders of anatomical concepts. The relevant anatomical terms do not exist in Hindi, thus requiring considerable memorization on the part of the students, and the need for repeated exposure and visual aids during work on the horses.
At the start of this new course, we were hugely helped once again by Sahib Parminder Singh, who is playing an increasingly important role as a FAF-FID qualified farrier, teaching assistant and now officially our interpreter during the courses (Hindi- English-Punjabi). He is also a course coordinator who deals with student enquiries.
The FAF Geneva board aims for increased Indian participation and growing sustainability, so there have been some encouraging developments. Sahib, by his organizing several successful workshops at fairs and meetings in his native Punjab, is helping to ‘spread the word’. In addition, we have also taken on board past student and qualified farrier Gaje Singh, to help out with the practical aspects of farriery teaching on this course and the next. For Gaje, coming back also means further professional development and continuing education, an opportunity to revise his knowledge and practice.
Our European volunteer this year was Andi Hundsmann from Bavaria in Germany. Andi was generously sponsored by Strohm AG, Farrier Supplies also in Germany. As a farrier with extensive experience of shoeing, hoofcare and teaching, Andi is a specialist of Equine Anatomy. He has written a textbook for farriers entitled « a bit of Anatomy for the ambitious farrier » which has been translated into English by Dr. Hans Casteleijn. Thanks to this extensive experience and a passion for the field, he was an excellent choice for the January course. Andi was very generous and congenial with the trainees and left a wealth of rich teaching and video material with FAF-FID and the students, a huge enrichment for our fledgling Institute library!FAF-FID is extremely grateful to Andi for this contribution.
For the second course in March 2015, our volunteer was Camille Goujon from France. Camille was sponsored by Epona Shoe (United States), a company that has been supporting us since the beginning on our Indian adventure. As a farrier who is particularly interested in diseases of the hoof capsule and the comfort of the horse, Camille made some unusual encounters during his stay. One of these was when we went for a day’s trimming at stables attached to a Hindu temple, where the local Pandit (Hindu priest) owns about 30 horses for his own contemplation. These horses, which are not ridden or active in any way, are overweight and rather immobile, strangely mirroring their owner’s physique….. An arthritic horse that wouldn’t give his feet due to painful joints, finally got perfectly trimmed lying in the sand, with one farrier working on each foot separately at the same time! A unique situation indeed !