Taking care of “horse horses”… artisans struggle to survive on the outskirts of Taounate

While the “master” Abdul Rahim Al-Haddad struggled to control, with both hands, one of the mule slats that his owner brought to the weekly market, Salas Btaount, to replace his worn horseshoes, his fellow craftsman Zuhair Al-Haras he was busy trimming one of this beast’s hooves in preparation for fitting a new one. .

The owner of this animal, in preparation for the plowing season, which is approaching with the arrival of autumn, chose Abdul Rahim and his colleague Zuhair to change the shoes of his mule, due to their mastery of the work they have been doing. together with each other for a long time.

On the way to extinction

“The Master” Abdel Rahim Al-Haddad, 40, says he uses a small hammer, iron pliers, a file and a sharp tool to fix horseshoes, or what all Moroccans know as “the safiha.” destined to cut the hooves, emphasizing, in his speech to Hespress, that each animal has a horseshoe that adapts to the size of its hooves.

Abdel Rahim added that he learned this trade when he was 10 years old, pointing out that he accompanied his father, who practiced this trade, along with the trade of blacksmith, to the weekly markets and to the villages of the Taounate region, to help him in his work. .

The same spokesman added that his father is a native of the province of Settat and his travel conditions led him, while exercising his trade as a blacksmith and installer of horseshoes, to stability, in 1986, at the Bab al-Zariba roundabout in the community of Ouarzag in the province of Taounate, pointing out that the unstable conditions of his parents prevented him from attending school.

Speaking to the newspaper, Abdul Rahim added that his profession is struggling to survive, noting that the demand by Al-Bawadi residents to use modern means of transportation to get to weekly markets has exacerbated the decline in demand for his craft.

“This craft is on the verge of extinction, due to the lack of customers and the absence of successors,” says Abdel Rahim Al-Haddad, noting that the current generation sees the blacksmith’s craft in general and the installation of horseshoes in particular as a profession that does not fit their aspirations.

“Municipality” and “Roumieh”

Abd al-Rahim al-Haddad explained that he and his partner Zuhair install horseshoes, including horses, mules and donkeys, by going to the various weekly markets in the Taounate region, noting that the period of validity of the horseshoes is related to the effort done. by the animal and the nature of the paths it travels.

The same spokesman stated that he works with “municipal” and “al-Roumieh” horseshoes, explaining that the former is distinguished by its closed sides, and its disadvantages are the accumulation of dust and pieces of stones inside, while the latter, he explained. that is open at the back and does not allow impurities to accumulate under the animal’s hooves.

Regarding the period in which the demand for changing horseshoes in the markets of the Taounate region increases, “the teacher” Abdel Rahim explained that it coincides with the beginning of the autumn season, in preparation for the plowing season, the proximity of the olive harvest. season, as well as the approach of the summer season, with the beginning of the harvest of the agricultural harvest.

The craftsman himself stressed that the horseshoes help the animals to do their job better and to navigate flexibly off-road, especially in the villages of the Taounate region, which are characterized by their mountainous and rocky nature.

Abd al-Rahim al-Haddad also reported that he had previously benefited from a training course in the manufacture and installation of horseshoes in the city of Tissa, noting that this training, which was supervised by French and Moroccan experts, greatly helped him to Develop your craft skills.