My name is Eve Herne and I’m currently completing a six month work placement at Moulton College Equestrian Centre, mostly in the Equine Therapy Centre. This work placement is part of the practical ‘sandwich year’ of my BSc (hons) Veterinary Physiotherapy degree I am doing at Harper Adams University.
I have already completed two years of my degree before coming to Moulton which gives me an amazing opportunity to put my theoretical knowledge into practice.
I was lucky enough to be able to start my placement in July despite COVID-19 which meant I was straight in helping with yard duties looking after the college horses as well as assisting in the Equine Therapy Centre.
I have learnt masses about horse locomotion, rehabilitation and the benefits of hydrotherapy for very different types of horses. Clients in the Equine Therapy Centre range from Shetland ponies to huge event horses and this variety has helped me to understand how equine anatomy and exercise can work hand in hand to create a fitter, healthier and happier horse all round no matter what their level of ridden work.
Another important aspect of the therapy sessions is ensuring both horse and owner have a nice time. Communication is key and the staff at Moulton College are amazing at reassuring the horses and keeping the owners completely up to date on how the horse is looking and working during their session as well as providing recommendations of a tailored exercise plan so the therapy sessions are as beneficial as possible.
The aqua-treadmill is the perfect exercise for almost all horses as they have to maintain a constant rhythm, balance and engage their core. The tactile stimulation of the water on the horse’s coronet band forces them to pick their legs up and over the water creating a rounded shape and building muscle along the top line and in the hind end.
Swimming in the pool is excellent fitness work especially for horses that cannot do canter work over ground due to being unable to handle concussive forces on their legs. The equine cold salt water spa is used mostly for alleviating inflammation in the immediate stages after an injury. I have been lucky enough to watch and assist with horses using all of these different types of therapies and learnt the best way to handle the horses especially if it is their first ‘taster’ session.
As well as the therapy sessions I have been able to help out with daily horse care for the college horses including feeding, poo picking, yard maintenance and I was lucky enough to be able to ride some of the lovely college horses in order to bring them back into work for the students to ride in September.
My aims for this placement are to improve my horse handling skills, improve my interpersonal communication skills and to further my understanding of equine anatomy, locomotion and rehabilitation as well as horse management.