Aulakh Sahib Parminder Singh (Jalandhar, Punjab, India)
Aulakh Sahib Parminder Singh was a farmer until 2013. His interest in horses and his curiosity for hoof care led him on to train as a farrier, and he signed up for the first module of FAF-Farriery Institute Dundlod (FAF-FID), India’s very first Farriery Institute established by the Flying Anvil Foundation (FAF) in March 2013.
Compared to other trainees who were already farriers, his year of training wasn’t easy. But thanks to his enthusiasm, his avidity to learn and his sheer hard work, he was successful in the final exam and was awarded his certificate as a qualified farrier.
Since then, he has been working as a farrier in his country, in addition to which he has become the official interpreter at the Institute (some students don't speak English and Sahib translates in Hindi and Punjabit for them) and is FAF’s coordinator for India.
As he says, “My training at FAF-FID changed my life and gave me new professional prospects.”
Indeed, you have to know that in India all professions related to the ground are reserved for the low castes or poor people in general. Since his training, Sahib has seen the change in people’s perceptions. Now he is capable of providing explanations to horse owners and says: "Farriers are not generally treated with respect, owners hardly even bother to talk to them. The farrier just gets on with his job. I am now able to communicate with the owners about the horse disease, anatomy, gait and other problems in detail. This takes time, but in most cases, they are really interested and want me to come back to provide help for their horses. Sometimes they are worried about the ensuing cost. What I do is to invite them to watch me work, and then decide whether to pay me or not."
Sahib has clearly shown his will to learn and his skill in organizing workshops and presentations in India, so FAF decided to give him a chance to come to Europe for 3 months to pursue his professional education. A crowdfunding action was successfully organized by FAF in order to cover the costs of his travel and expenses. During his European Tour, from May to July 2015, Sahib was invited to attend the Werkman Spring Games (Farriery Congress and Contest) in the Netherlands and subsequently, to train with several qualified farriers in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany and Switzerland. As a result of this tremendous training opportunity, Sahib will progressively take on some of the teaching at the Institute.
In many ways, Sahib is a totally unique farrier who is making his mark in the industry and in his country. He is capable of taking on major challenges and is the living proof that the perception of our profession in India can be improved.
—Isabel Guerdat, Development Manager for the Fying Anvil Foundation