As one of our last school trips of the semester, we visited a horse stable to learn about basic horse care. My school is located in the middle of a city so our typical patients are small animals including laboratory animals, dogs, and cats. This horse visit was one of the rare opportunities that we had to work with large animals.
I grew up on a farm with many horses and cows, so large animals are my specialty and this trip was a walk in the park for me. However, it was interesting to observe my classmates react to these large animals.
For a lot of students, it was their first time handling horses. Many were hesitant to approach the horses and were overly gentle with them. Being around horses is something so natural to me that it shocked me to see others who were not so comfortable. I had to remember that the largest animal that they might have handled was maybe a Great Dane.
As my classmates became more comfortable they practiced leg wraps on the horses while my teachers and I helped. I noticed the complete opposite from my first observations. There was a complete lack of fear or awareness that the horse could kick or stomp on them at any moment while they were crawling on the ground wrapping legs in a crowded frenzy. Of course, we were working with some exceptional horses who were used to students and behaved fantastically.
Opportunities like these are amazing, they allow us to expand our knowledge about animals other than just dogs and cats and add practical experience to the theory. Even though this trip involved information that I already knew, it’s good to know that my program makes the effort to educate everybody about as many species as possible.