September 4, 2008

What happens when you mix 55 vet tech students, seven horses, and one veterinarian / instructor in a barn for a few hours? Lots of fun and good learning, that’s what, especially if they’re students from Georgian College in Orillia, under the leadership of Deb Wright DVM.

I have some close ties to Georgian College myself – not least of them the fact that Georgian helps to pay the bills for my therapeutic riding program (and most other things around the farm). Teaching Marketing to Business and Management Studies students at Georgian’s Barrie campus is my full-time gig. Almost as importantly, I am also fortunate enough every year to find some excellent volunteers at Georgian. Since our riding program cannot run without our volunteers, this is important!

So when Tine Curran, co-ordinator of Georgian’s vet tech program, asked if I would consider letting the students do a hands-on lab with my horses, I gladly agreed. This week they came out in three groups, each spending about two hours learning how to take a horse’s temperature, find his pulse, listen to his heart, count his respiration rate, bandage a leg, lift and pick out a foot and – maybe most importantly for the veterinarians these students may be working with in the future – distract the horse from whatever the vet may be doing to it!

For some students, horses were old friends, but others were having their very first experience with an equine. That can be a little intimidating, but everyone was very brave, and there were lots of smiles. Since most of my horses LOVE attention, they had a great time, too, especially when the carrots and apples came out.

It was good fun for everyone, and we’re looking forward to next month when the students will be out again, this time learning all about portable x-ray machines and the wonders of the horse’s leg.

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