FWP is a practical CPD course designed to both provide farriers with training in horse welfare, and to build on their education and client communication skills. The aim is to build on existing skills that farriers use to educate owners, but in particular to equip them to work with those owners who they may feel are struggling with their horse care practices.
Redwings are running the CPD course over two days – 26th July and 30th August – with additional mentoring sessions at their Ada Cole Centre near Harlow, Essex. The course is free to attend and farriers are encouraged to sign up to make the most of this free CPD opportunity, as attendance at all meetings will allow farriers to claim a maximum of 10 CPD points towards their annual Farriers Registration Council (FRC) CPD requirement. Breakfast and lunch will also be provided for a small donation.
Led by Redwings’ Education and Campaigns Manager Andie Vilela, FWP has been developed in conjunction with renowned farrier Dean Bland of Well Equine and with the support of the British Farriers and Blacksmiths Association (BFBA). As this course is the first of its kind, participants will also have the chance to assist Redwings with evaluating its effectiveness, with findings and feedback independently evaluated by Jenny Lynden of University of Surrey.
“As farriers,” explains Dean, “we recognise the ways we support the welfare of equines through the practical work that we do. However, changes to horse ownership mean that increasingly we are being asked to undertake other kinds of work, which includes supporting horses owned by people relatively new to horse ownership by providing guidance and advice, and offering encouragement to follow that advice.
“It’s amazing when an owner takes on board our advice and works with us to help us to support their horse. Also if we invested more in these skills to advise and support, we could develop more effective solutions to overcome some of the most problematic situations we encounter; solutions that would have a massive impact on both our working lives and on equine welfare.
“The challenge of changes in horse ownership are part of an ongoing welfare situation that welfare charities, such as Redwings, are describing as a ‘Horse Crisis’. It is a situation that places huge demands on charities and is driving changes in their work and approach that mirror our own.”
Andie Vilela from Redwings commented: “As a result of the ‘Horse Crisis’, charities are operating at maximum capacity so we need to find solutions that are more sustainable wherever possible, such as helping horses in situ by supporting the knowledge and management provided by their owners. Consequently, we’re developing projects that support horse owners in their communities through education.
“What’s so exciting about the work that farriers are doing is that we know they are already key advisors to horse owners. Our CPD, Forging Welfare Partnerships, is about working together to support farrier understanding of welfare work by organisations like Redwings, as well as to support their communication skills so they can have an impact on vulnerable horses and struggling owners that they may come into contact with.”
Andie continues: “We’re initially looking for farriers in the Essex area to take part in the first CPD event and we’d like to invite those interested to get in touch. We launched the project in May at House and Jackson Veterinary Hospital in Blackmore and have already received encouraging feedback from farriers attending the event. We look forward to hearing from anyone else who is interested in getting involved and hope you can join us.”