Meet Oli Aman Jodha, the first woman farrier from Kerala
The horses that wear a horseshoe made by this pretty girl, will never forget her. With love and care she shoes the horse without hurting its hoofs. Oli Aman Jodha, a native of Wayanad Ambalavayal, has set the benchmark of becoming first woman farrier in Kerala. She got her first horse named Aman Chand when she was 3 years old.
It was gifted by her mother Amiya Taj and her family friend Raghavan Payyampally. Sukumaran, a forest guard and family friend from Ooty and Raghavan, taught Oli the lessons of horse riding.
Once a Tamilian came to fix a horseshoe for her horse. But when he tried to fix it the horse got ijured and there was profuse bleeding from its hoof. Since this incident, Oli decided to be a farrier herself .
Following this, she received the basic training lessons from Sukumaran. At the age of 9, she went to Nepal where she was trained in fixing horseshoe under the tutelage of farrier Thaj Khan. Born in a conservative Muslim family, her mother Amiya Taj recalls that Aman had to overcome many challenges to achieve her goal. If the horses are made to stand while tfixing the shoe the chnaces of them having high blood pressure are more. So Aman shoes the horse while it is standing only.
“When a good horseman sees a horse, he will know the size of its horseshoe.He must also have the knowledge in Metallurgy”Oli says. If you make the horseshoe in advance, you can fix it fast using tools like the anvil hammer, hoof nippers, nailing hammer, knife or other tools to fit its leg, ''says Oli.
Oli, who loves bees as much as horses, was awarded the National Award for Beekeeping in 2017. The name 'Oli' means queen who fights for the peace of the bees.
In the meantime, a national award came Oli’s way for her expertise in apiculture and even got an invitation to be the resource person in apiculture at Swaminathan Research Foundation, Wayanad, and National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Hyderabad. Her stay in Hyderabad opened a new vista for her in fixing horse shoes as well. People from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh come to her with their horses to have the horse shoes fixed by a true professional.
Oli says that she makes 15-20 horse shoes a month. She is currently doing research in apiculture at Swaminathan Research Foundation. Now Oli also takes free classes on beekeeping, focusing on schools, tribal villages and NGOs.
After 1st standard she dropped out of school . She continued her studies through distance education till 9th standard. Oli says that she wants to continue her studies alongside other interests, but there's no one to support her. She has also endured many bad experiences from people. These kinds of challenges made her stop her primary education.
"My father left her at an early age. My mother toiled hard to look after me. Many people like my family friend Raghavan, former DySP and former head of the Swaminathan Research Foundation, Dr B. Balakrishnan, Horse Trainer Feni Philip, Zakir Ali, Sakhil Ali and Sibin have helped my personal growth and my profession".
Due to financial difficulties, Oli had to sell her own horse. She is now trying to get a license to be a jockey. But the problem is she has neither a horse for herself nor a sponsor. She is also keen 0n doing the Ikaiwan Veterinary Course.
She says that lack of funds is a major challenge for all the aspirants. Paulo Coelho's words, "If you have a wish, the universe will be with you to achieve it" have prompted her 'to strive, to seek and to find and not to surrender'.