The Flying Anvil Foundation: Fostering farriery knowledge worldwide

Founded in 2010 by Swiss farrier Bernard Duvernay, The Flying Anvil Foundation (FAF) aims to promote farriery knowledge worldwide. They focus especially on countries where the everyday life is depending on working equines and there is a lacking infrastructure of education schemes for farriers.

Equilife (3)The establishment of FAF is an important step for the future development of the well-being of equines in these regions. There equines, such as horses, donkeys and mules, are still a vital part of the agricultural sector and as a mode of transportation. The livelihoods of many families in these regions depend on working equines and due to poverty, as well as a lack of knowledge and resources, the well-being of these animals is often neglected. By emphasising the need for sufficient hoof-care and quality farriery FAF aims to improve the living conditions of these animals through the education of farriers locally and by raising the status of the farriery profession. This will not only improve the lives of the equines but also help secure the food supply for the families depending on these animals.
Additionally the interest in equestrian sports is growing fast in emerging countries which has further developed the need for qualified farriers. The increasing amount of horses being kept for riding and sport purposes has created an even larger demand for craftwork professionals to tend to these horses. This further emphasise that there is an obvious and very real need for establishing farriery education in these regions so that the demand for hoof-care professionals can be properly met.
Initially FAF continued the work of its founder who, since many years back, had organised workshops for farriers in several places throughout the world: Mexico, Kirghizstan, India, Iran, Morocco, Soudan, Egypt and many more. These workshops varies from one-day sessions up to two-week courses and are organised in partnership with local authorities. Through these workshops areas with a high density of horses and a lack of knowledgeable farriers benefits from FAF formal farriery education.
In 2013, parallel to the workshops, FAF was able to start the construction of its first farriery school thanks to a donation from a Genevan foundation. FAF-Farriery Institute Dundlod, the first farriery school in India, started its activities in Dundlod, Rajasthan, in Mars that same year. It provides 4 sets of two-week courses a year and allows Indian farriers to obtain a complete and certified professional education. The courses are run by our international team of farrier volunteers. The building finished its construction and was inaugurated in April 2014.

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Since then, over 20 student have passed through the FAF-Farriery Institute Dundlods’ certification to become qualified farrier professionals. Additionally they are doing so with a broader understanding of the need for quality hoof-care for the overall well-fare of the equines. In India farriery, along with other professions associated with working close to the ground, is traditionally reserved for people found at the bottom of the caste-system. With knowledge in anatomy, trimming, hot- and cold shoeing and forging, the students of the institute are gaining more and more respect in their surrounding communities. Sahib Parminder Singh, graduate of FAF-Farriery Institute Dundlod and qualified farrier since 2013 says: Farriers are generally not treated with respect, the horse owners do not even speak to them. The farrier is just someone carrying out a task. I am now able to communicate with the owners about problems surrounding the health of the hoofs, explain in detail about the anatomy of the horse, the gaits as well as other problems. This process will take time but usually they are interested and want me to come back and continue to shoe their horses.
Currently FAF is organising additional workshops in Iran and Kirghizstan and run regular workshops in the south of India all while spending a lot of its efforts on its pilot institute in India. The aim is to have the school be self-sufficient and be run locally from India in the near future. An initial step in this process was the hiring and further education of Sahib Parminder Singh so that he can become a teacher at the school. He is currently working as the Indian coordinator for FAF and the foundation was able to organize a two month educational trip to Europe where he got to learn from highly qualified farriers that were willing to share their knowledge in farriery and their passion for the profession with their Indian colleague.
FAF’s work with creating sustainable institutions and regular training schemes for farriery education is an important step to increase the status of the farriery profession worldwide. Additionally it plays a vital role in increasing the living standards and well-being of horses and working equines in regions where it is most needed.
For updated information about what is going on with the foundation please visit the Flying Anvil Facebook-page or see our website for information on how to donate or apply to become a volunteer.
The Flying Anvil Foundation
Route de Bossey, 6
+41(0)22 784 00 32

Therese Stub Alhaug
Therese Stub Alhaug


Therese is the editor of Equilife, and is truly dedicated to equestrian sports and horses. She started riding as a little girl, and enjoys her free time with her two horses back home. Portrait interview is her favorite topic, as it has the gift to inspire others through peoples stories, knowledge, training and general life-philosophy, and certainly, their lives with horses.

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