The Star (Nairobi)

4 August 2012

Kenya: Ngong Racecourse All Set for Tomorrow's Season Ender

For every beginning there has to be an end and this Sunday marks the end of the 2011/2012 racing season. So much is on offer on the card. The most interesting will be the jockey's championship that has been fought for in a way that might change people's perception.

By the end of the last meeting, Jacob Lokorian was two wins down at 27 and this can only mean if he wins more than Lesley Sercombe tomorrow, he will earn his first jockey championship.

The George Drew Challenge Series comes to an end as well with a package of course. This is besides the Mickey Migdoll Cup, The Gold Circle Tray, The Sir Ali Bin Salim Stakes and the Chili Cup. As connections prepare to be credited, the one person in focus is the horse farrier (The person who shoes a horse).

And as trainer Nur Nuno puts it, "Without the horses legs that have been shoed, there is no racing" For this reason, any horse that must run has got to have shoes on for protection. Shoeing does play a major role in this discipline but those who do it have been left behind the scenes.

Boniface Isindu is one of the notable professional farriers in Kenya. His has been a 14-year adventure in the horse industry. Born 36 years ago in Western Kenya and disadvantaged by not completing his formal education, he landed as a syce (horse handler/groom) at the Ngong race course in 1995.

Two years down, he felt shoeing horse was more interesting and with the help of Mrs Valerie Limb got started in the basics. He was later based at the Anti Stock Theft Unit. His interests saw horse instructor Alit Manor sponsor him to courses on the subject.

But due to complexities of issues and their consequences, Boniface agrees that farriers end up not being credited for the role as they should. All the major races have got to be won and if a horse is not well shoed then despite his/her capability, they stand no chance. Lameness of a horse is blamed on a farrier and this is what Boniface points out as a challenge.

Horse shoeing is costly, as there are different types of shoes preferred for different horses, a farrier can charge a minimum of Sh400 per horse and above. Nuno, who won the Derby this season through "Just Bluffing" feels the farrier must be given the credit they deserve.

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