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Using Qualitative Methods to Explore Farrier-Related Barriers to Successful Farriery Interventions for Equine Welfare in India

Functional and Comparative Genomics Department, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZB, UK
Haffkin Biopharmaceutical Corporation, Pune 411018, M.S., India
Brooke India, A 223-226, Pacific Business Park, Sahibabad Industrial area, Ghaziabad 201010, U.P., India
KABIL Office, Flat No.3 C, BD Enclave, Khanamukh, Guwahati-781014, A.S., India
Brooke, 5th floor, Friars Bridge Court, 41-45 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NZ, UK
Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(5), 252;
Received: 27 February 2019 / Revised: 25 April 2019 / Accepted: 13 May 2019 / Published: 18 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
PDF [605 KB, uploaded 18 May 2019]
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Simple Summary

Farriery is important for maintaining equine (horse, mule and donkey) foot health, but is often poorly-executed in low and middle-income countries like India. It is important to understand the challenges in providing farriery services if external agencies want to improve them. This study, undertaken in North India, started to build this understanding by collecting information from farriers’ points of view. Through focus group discussion, it became clear that farriery in this area was very demand-led: farriers found it difficult to practice improved techniques if animal owners were not prepared, or unable, to pay for the extra time that this takes. This was linked to the self-perceived status of farriers within the community: those with higher status (often due to having additional income streams) were more confident in their interactions with animal owners. Difficulties associated with demand were closely linked to the external environment: farriers whose work relied on the local brick kilns had been significantly affected by a recent down-turn in that industry. Training and technical knowledge varied; training was more popular when it was inclusive and addressed the questions farriers had about their work. Understanding this system from the perspective of the stakeholders within it is essential for successful improvement programmes.


Farriery is a critical component of healthcare services for working equids. However, in India, an informal workforce, lack of structured training facilities and non-implementation of farriery regulations pose challenges for quality farriery. Brooke India, an equine welfare organisation, has undertaken many initiatives aiming to improve farriery services, including technical training and engagement with equid-owning communities. However, this has met with varying success. The study aimed to identify factors that prevent farriers providing quality farriery services. Focus-group discussions were conducted with farriers from two districts of Uttar Pradesh with varying programme outcomes. Within each area, farriers were grouped according to previous level of engagement with Brooke programmes. Demand for services, farrier status, the external environment and technical training and knowledge were identified as key elements that affected farriery work. These factors were very context specific: in areas where brick kilns provided the majority of customers, recent closures had resulted in an increase in those farriers’ feeling of insecurity. A systems approach to improving farriery services, taking these factors into account, is advised. Mentoring-based capacity building, which is closely aligned to farrier needs and expectations, is expected to have positive results in terms of technical skill and farrier engagement. View Full-Text
Keywords: farriery; working equids; hoof; socioeconomics; qualitative farriery; working equids; hoof; socioeconomics; qualitative

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Mohite, D.S.; Sheikh, C.S.; Singh, S.; Kalita, J.; Williams, S.; Compston, P.C. Using Qualitative Methods to Explore Farrier-Related Barriers to Successful Farriery Interventions for Equine Welfare in India. Animals 2019, 9, 252.

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