Hoof care

We train local farriers to provide welfare-friendly hoof trimming and shoeing services. We help them to promote their services, get access to local resources and create profitable businesses so their services will continue to help working equids in the future.

The hoof is a common site of lameness in horses, donkeys and mules. Poor foot care can create problems that impact on the whole animal, causing chronic lameness and pain. Data from the welfare assessment of 4,903 working equids (Pritchard et al, 2005) suggest that over 99 percent of animals surveyed show gait abnormalities.

The gharry horses of Ethiopia have some of the worst problems we see. They are shod badly with rubber tyres and worked hard on poorly maintained roads so they're frequently reshod, thus damaging their hooves more. Additionally, hooves were not being trimmed, resulting in overgrowth and imbalance which led to joint damage and pain. In 2014 a project was initiated to improve farriery services and to work with owners to ensure that horses' hooves were trimmed regularly.

All our training is conducted using local tools. In areas where there is very little farriery, our teams help to forge links with blacksmiths who can make tools in materials which are easily obtained locally. These tools are affordable and can be mended or replaced when necessary, making them a more sustainable option for local farriers.

Where possible we use local farriers with a proven level of expertise to support our training work. An example of this is in Senegal where a team of farriers that had been trained through a World Horse Welfare programme is now supporting and mentoring farriers identified in communities that Brooke is working with.