SPANA Launches Fundraising Effort to Train African Farriers

SPANA Launches Fundraising Effort to Train African Farriers

Poorly trimmed or overgrown hooves and ill-fitting shoes are a significant cause of lameness for working animals in developing countries. If left untreated these problems can become chronic and leave the animal in pain and incapable of work.

Photo: Courtesy of the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad

A British animal charity has launched a fundraising campaign to help prevent lameness in working equids in developing countries, after a study in one area found that up to 99% of horses had some kind of hoof abnormality.

In the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad's (SPANA) survey of 320 cart horses in two Ethiopian towns, nearly all were suffering with problems caused by poor farriery.

Poorly trimmed or overgrown hooves and ill-fitting shoes are a significant cause of lameness for working animals in developing countries. If left untreated these problems can become chronic and leave the animal in pain and incapable of work. SPANA hopes to train local farriers in Ethiopia, Morocco, and Tunisia to improve techniques for hoof trimming and shoeing.

“This study is just the tip of the iceberg," said Andrew Stringer, BVSc, PhD, MRCVS, SPANA’s director of veterinary programs. "A simple and very treatable problem like overgrown hooves can lead to tendon damage and in some cases horrific trip injuries. We often see horseshoes crudely hammered in with masonry nails penetrating sensitive areas of the hoof.

“This suffering can go untreated for months and once severe lameness occurs, it is notoriously difficult to manage," he continued. "By the time our vets get to see the animal its condition is sometimes so chronic, it’s too late to help them and euthanasia is the only option. This is why prevention is the best solution.”

If the fundraising appeal is successful SPANA plans to set up farrier training workshops in Ethiopia and Tunisia, as well as provide courses in Morocco for the farriers of Marrakech’s taxi horses.

More information about donating and the charity’s work please visit is available at www.spana.org.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners