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A Farrier and an Equine Vet in India

Thu 8th Jan 2015

It was getting dark in the village. The rain clouds were grumbling angrily with heavy rain, but this wasn't going to stop Kirsten and Ché while there were still donkeys to be treated ...

Last year Kirsten Harman, an equine vet and her partner, Ché Broadly, a farrier, volunteered with WVS on a Donkey Camp. 

They found their first trip together incredible where they were immersed in rural Indian culture. They worked hard to treat over 400 donkeys in just four days. All the donkeys seen were wormed and vaccinated for tetanus - neither of which had ever been before. Any wounds, long feet, hobble injuries were treated and the owners were advised and taught by Ché ​on preventing foot injuries and trimming.

We chatted to Ché ​and Kirsten about their trip.

Kirsten: This was Ché's first time and my second going to India. We were really excited to be able to help people and communities and to work with horses and donkeys over there. 

Ché​: The first day we went out I saw that there was a real problem with the tethering on the donkeys. They get really bad scars and it is really uncomfortable for them. 

 What your best memory of working out in India?

Ché: One time there were still ten donkeys to see to in the field. We were starting to get a bit worried, as it was monsoon season. But Kirsten just put on her coat and vaccinated each donkey despite being knee deep in the mud! She just wanted to get the job done. Dr Aswin (who is the ITC Senior Resident Vet) did look at her like she was a bit mad.

What was it like working together?

Kirsten: It was great to be able to bounce ideas and solutions of each other. We didn't even argue a lot which is strange, as we argue more when we are in the UK! We tried to set a good example.

How was your farrier experience, Ché?

Ché: The Indian villagers were interested in what I was doing and they would gather around to watch, as they had never seen a farrier before.

I have donated 35 kilos worth of tools that I brought from the UK so that Dr Aswin can give them out when people need them, of course only when they are fully trained in hoof care.

How would you describe the experience?

Kirsten: It was very worthwhile to go out there, working with Dr Aswin and everyone else. We did feel that we did really make a difference. It was very hands on.​ We felt that we saw the real India.

If like Ché and Kirsten you would like to get involved in volunteering click on this link for more details.