Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America and also one of the poorest, with high levels of poverty and unemployment. The country contains an estimated 400,000 working horses, which communities depend upon for vital income and services.
Poor standards of basic care mean that these working horses are suffering from numerous but preventable injuries from ill-fitting tack and shoes, poor body condition and overall poor working conditions.
In Nicaragua we have launched a new community-centred approach to training people in developing countries how to better care for their working horses. The bespoke training programme has been designed specifically to match the needs of the community and provide the foundation for an enduring change in the way people shoe and harness their horses –and so improve horse welfare and the livelihoods of the people who depend upon them.
Focusing in the south-eastern boundary of Managua during 2012, the programme is helping members of the local community by providing them with basic horse care and management skills to look after their own working horses, as well as advancing the skills of local horseshoe makers, farriers and harness makers. This combined approach will enable both horse owners and service providers to work together in the future and become more self-sufficient.
Throughout 2011 we conducted research in the Central American country to assess the conditions of working horses and gain an in-depth understanding of horse owners’ needs. We have used this research to design a tailored training programme to help alleviate horse suffering with a combination of community-focussed education programmes alongside shoe-making and harness-making courses for local people.
Working with horse owners – With the support of the local team in Nicaragua, the charity organises monthly community group meetings which are open to horse owners within our working area. They cover the aspects of basic horse care that research showed was most needed: educating owners on basic first aid, farriery, harness fitting, health, nutrition, road safety and security.
Training service providers – The charity is improving the skills of local horse service providers such as farriers, saddlers and horseshoe makers to provide horse owners with sustainable and lasting access to affordable, good quality horse care within their community.
Care to Share Appeal...
Buy a care pack for a working horse in Nicaragua today.