13 April 2016

Stepping out in Nicaragua

Working horses in Nicaragua are now lighter on their hooves thanks to an expert farriery workshop.

A lack of professional hoof care in the Managua and Masaya regions of Nicaragua has prompted a training programme run by a global farriery team.

The workshop was headed up by farrier trainers Tom Burch RSS MBE and Victor Rivera from El Salvador, who between them have over 20 years’ experience of training farriers for a variety of equine charities.

Brooke vets Carlos Torres and Mirciadez Corralez made sure everything ran smoothly on the day and that the trainee farriers improved their equine handling, hoof balance assessment, use of local tools and communication with horse owners. Discussions on pricing and ways to create demand for their services were also tackled.

Learning about hoof care

Locally made tools at a fraction of the cost

Farriery training often relies on western tools, but fixing or replacing them can be prohibitively expensive so instead the trainees used locally made flat knives and mallets. This not only provided work for local craftsmen but, at a fraction of the cost - one western hoof kit buys 15 local kits – it also helped Brooke funding go much further.

Handle with care

Trainee farriers were astonished to learn that calm handling was all that was needed to allow them to trim their horses’ hooves. With just a little training, poor welfare practices such as raising their voice or restraining their animals are no longer an issue.

At the end of the first workshop, 80 percent of the trainee farriers were competent hoof trimmers. To continue this valuable work, Brooke has put in place a mentoring programme that will provide one-to-one support from a vet and a trainer each month.

In May 2013, we began working in Nicaragua - a country with an estimated 400,000 equines. Our work is delivered through local partner Oikos – Cooperação e Desenvolvimento (Cooperation and Development).