Year in review: Experiences from FAF-FID

During 2015 FAF has continued its work with furthering the professional development of farriery in India. With this year’s four successful courses now completed at FAF-FID and several workshops and demonstrations held across the country the Indian state of farriery steadily improving.

At the centre of this ongoing development are, of course, the students! These newly certified farriers are becoming the profession’s greatest advocates in their respective communities, making them an indispensable link in the continuing chain of the craft’s professional development in India. Hear what they have to say about their experience at FAF-FID and their future as qualified farriers – as well as what’s in store for the institute itself!

The decision to enrol in the FAF educational program mainly stems from a need to properly shoe the horses owned and used by the student’s own families or by people in their surroundings. Due to the lack of qualified farriers available to do the work, many see becoming a farrier themselves as the best, and sometimes only, solution. A solution that combines fulfilling that need and getting a professional artisan education with their love for horses.

MukeshI have my own horses but no proper farrier to look after them, says Mukesh Kumar. He joined FAF-FID with encouragements from his father who had heard great things about the school and thought it appropriate to combine it with his son’s equine interest. Mukesh Kumar continues: I will forward my knowledge to the other residents of my community so they to learn and know the importance of farriery.

Mohammed Saleh Mota expresses similar ideas: My plan is to be a professional farrier and to give my best by helping horses and by letting my customers know what work I am going to do. I will share my knowledge in the right way and practice every day. My customers are getting good improvements in their horses after I started trimming them, they are very satisfied with my work.

Previous graduates of the institute play a big role in spreading the word about the program and the current students plan on keeping that up.

Gagan-DeepFAF-FID farriers like Harpreet Singh and Gaje Singh promoted the school, informed us about the courses and suggested that I learn farriery. I choose this profession since my family is breeding Frieson and Warm Blood horses that need trimming and shoeing but there are no farriers that visit our place, says Gagan Deen Singh. My plan is to work and introduce FAF-FID for learning farriery in all the stud farms. I will share my knowledge in order to improve horse’s hoof health.

Amninder Singh was also inspired by Harpreet and Gaje to come to the institute to learn. Starting with his own horses, Amninder Singh soon wants to move on and work with improving the hoof care of others’ as well as help share both his new knowledge and the news about the courses. Bansi Preedeen, who was recommended to come to the institute when working as a groom at a stud farm, also agrees, I will spread my knowledge by helping horses at stud farms and I will also suggest to others to come to FAF-FID.

The courses at FAF-FID focuses on staple farrier skills such as trimming, shoeing, forging and equine anatomy, but perhaps more importantly, it shows how to best adapt these skills to the context of in India. During their time at the institute they get to watch and learn from renowned farriers on best practice farrier skills, how to treat common deceases like laminitis and lameness as well as general horse handling and behaviour.

Mohammed-SalehAt the end of the year, and subsequently their time at FAF-FID, the participating students look back on their experiences and remembers the incredible relationship with the volunteers. This year FAF was fortunate to have Andi Hundsmann (Germany), Camille Goujon (France), Anthony Wilson (the UK) and Johan Verhulpen (Belgium) teaching at the institute. Their willingness to share their extensive knowledge in a friendly and approachable way helped the future farriers in their professional development and enriched their careers in many ways. Saleh Mota explains more: My training at FAF-FID gave me lots of knowledge regarding the mechanics of the hoof and its importance, […] with the volunteers from different countries it was enriching to see the diversity of approaches.

Additionally, the horse fair in Pushkar is emphasized as a special and educational experience. To see that many types of horses with different injuries and in such various conditions at the end of the students’ training was a great way of tying the whole course together. However, the horses that the team encountered there were often misbehaving, which sparked a discussion on the role of the farrier in a place like that. Here, it is important to stress the need for further education for the horse breeders inhorse handling and proper methods of training horses to be prepared for the farriers. The Flying Anvil should seek to educate the breeders there, step by step, was one of the reactions from the team and it is also something FAF founder Bernard Duveray is planning to develop.

Back in Dundlod in October, the goal of setting up an Indian board for FAF-FID reached one of its final milestones. In order for the school to run locally, a national board, The Indian Farriery Institute (IFI), was set up and itwill eventually become solely responsible for FAF-FID and any future institutes being set up nationwide. This is a crucial part of the development of farriery in India as it empowers people from within the country itself to run the programmes independently of foreign aid, thus creating more sustainable and long-term projects.

In conclusion it has been an eventful year at FAF-FID with farriers from around the world coming together to share knowledge and further the professional development of farriery in India, shaping an aspiration of the trade in the minds of the students: before I was not aware of the differences. Shoeing was just shoeing a horse, but now it’s a craft that I’ve discovered, says Saleh Mota.

KR Bansi