For this special edition of Hay There we caught up with Dr Gemma Pearson, Director…
Following on from the success of previous courses, The Horse Trust has delivered two more one-day courses on equine behaviour modification techniques for vets and veterinary nurses. The courses, accredited by the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), were held on 26th and 27th July at The Horse Trust’s Home of Rest for Horses in Buckinghamshire and were sponsored by CEVA Animal Health.
The aim of the courses was to further develop the skills of vets and nurses in handling challenging horses using the objective, evidence-based principles of horse training. The training was led by vet Gemma Pearson MRCVS, Senior Clinical Training Scholar in Equine Practice at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, who specialises in dealing with behavioural cases. Gemma discussed equine ethology, cognition and learning theory and explained how these principles can be used to address behavioural problems encountered by vets and nurses in their day-to-day work. Michelle Campbell, Head Groom at the Dick Vet Equine Hospital, also delivered a session on her work and how nurses and grooms can incorporate horse training in their day-to-day activities to facilitate safe and effective practice. The courses incorporated theory sessions with video case studies and hands-on practical sessions for vets and nurses to watch demonstrations of techniques that can be used to handle horses that were clipper shy and difficult to worm, vaccinate, shoe and load. There was also an opportunity to practice the techniques with some of The Horse Trust’s horses.
The course also heard from Carolin Gerdes MRCVS of Rossdales Equine Diagnostic Centre on the difficulties of distinguishing between pain-based behaviour and learnt behaviour. Finally, The Horse Trust’s Liane Preshaw, Director of Knowledge and Skills, delivered a session on using knowledge of horse behaviour and learning to approach a rescue scenario; one commonly encountered by many animal welfare charities.
Feedback from vets that attended the course was very positive, with Sarah Harley MRCVS, an attendee on one of this year’s courses, saying “this is a really useful course, plenty of practical tips and a chance to practice them. I look forward to using what I’ve learnt to make my job safer and help horses and their owners.” Similarly, Ben Portus MRCVS, said “this was an excellent course with practical information and tips I will use every day in equine practice.”
Are you a veterinary surgeon, veterinary nurse, equine groom working at a vet clinic, or team member working at an equine charity? Register you interests for next year’s course by contacting us.