Friday, November 15, 2013

Netherlands National Equestrian Training Center Closes Farrier School and All Equine Professional Education Programs

Is the worldwide economic slowdown in danger of jeopardizing educational opportunities for young people who would like to become farriers? Or does it depend on where they live? The Netherlands is the latest country to report a kink in the farrier educational system. (Photo of a farrier working in Dubai by Yousif Al Mulla, used with permission)

Future farriers in The Netherlands are now limited in their choices for schools to learn the profession. Last week the educational agency Helicon announced that the Helicon Opleidingen NHB Deurne (Dutch Equestrian Center) would terminate its professional education training programs. Students currently enrolled will be allowed to remain at the facility to complete up to three years remaining in their schooling, but no new students will enter the program.

Included in the education programs at the center is the nation's oldest farrier program, one of the three farrier schools currently operating in The Netherlands. Most students at Duerne are enrolled in programs to become professional horse trainers and the school is known for its modern facilities; as many as 600 students were enrolled at the school in better times.

Helicon Opleidingen offers vocational studies at 11 colleges. Farrier students at Deurne shod all the horses used in the programs at the modern center and learned therapeutic hoofcare as well.

Budgetary constraints were listed as the cause of the closing of the school. "The current market conditions, the government grants and government requirements mean simply that Helicon in operating NHB Deurne is 1 million (euros) short," Helicon stated in a press release.

According to one Dutch farrier, the economic recession in Holland has created a decreased need for farriers in that country. Deurne had been home to the farrier school for over 40 years; the Nederlandse Vereniging van Hoefsmeden (Dutch Farriers Association) hosted an anniversary celebration there in 2009. Until 1996, Deurne was the only farrier school in The Netherlands.

The management assured current students that their education would be completed.

The Netherlands is one of the world's most successful nations in international equestrian sports, as well as in the breeding and export of dressage, jumping and driving horses. Many of the shoes worn by sport horses all over the world are made in Dutch horseshoe factories, and the University of Utrecht there is known as a leading research center in sport horse medicine and equine biomechanics. According to Deurne's website, over 80,000 people a year attended equestrian events at the facility.

Information for this article was compiled from articles on the and Dutch Farriers Association websites, from correspondence with Dutch farriers, and from media information from Helicon.

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