As much as we like to think that our clients look forward to their visits from us, the same may not be true for their horses or ponies... We understand that sometimes our patients do not like being examined, having their annual vaccination, being clipped or having a routine veterinary procedure carried out. However this aversion to veterinary intervention may manifest itself as an unpredictable fear response, which can result in injury to a horse, their handler, or the vet.

It may surprise you to know that equine veterinary surgeons have the highest injury risk of all civilian professions, and that one study indicated an equine vet should expect to sustain seven or eight injuries that impeded their work during their career. To me these statistics are worrying, and it is a challenge we must overcome collectively as horse owners and vets. Some of you may have seen the recent #dontbreakyourvet campaign, launched by the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), which aims to increase awareness of this serious issue.

As a practice, we are lucky enough to have experienced grooms available to assist us at our clinic, and for appointments at your yard; our grooms will always wear a hard hat when handling your horse to reduce the risk of injury and we would encourage you to do the same during veterinary visits. We would also ask that you respect a vet’s decision to wear a hat when handling or treating your horse, or if they advise sedation is necessary in order to carry out a veterinary procedure safely.

I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you a link to seven short tutorial videos which BEVA have produced which feature vet and equine behaviourist Gemma Pearson, providing quick and simple ways of teaching your horse to be quiet, relaxed and safe for injections, clipping, worming, examinations and other veterinary procedures. The videos cover the following topics:

  • Easy injections

  • Learning to stand still

  • Calm clipping

  • Leading & trotting up

  • Happy heads

  • Clicker training

  • Worry-free worming

The videos can be found at http://bit.ly/2rMhx5U. Please share these videos far and wide, and lets make your next appointment with our vets a happier and safer experience for you, your horse, and your vet. Remember, #dontbreakyourvet

Jess x