Going into my equine placement I was unsure what I wanted to get out of it, as someone with a background in horses I felt that this might be more of a ‘tick-box’ exercise and I had chosen to go to a riding school as I had previous contacts there.
I set out some clear objectives, knowing that I had all of the base knowledge I needed and
challenged myself to learn as many new skills as I could and practice things I needed to gain more confidence in.
As with any equine placement, my mornings started with fetching in all the riding school
ponies needed for morning sessions and making sure anything that was stabled was fed and watered. Grooming and tacking up gave me the chance to do quick observations on a large
number of horses, observing behaviours and any knocks or grazes they may have picked up in the field. Anyone who isn’t so familiar with horses would pick up skills such as catching horses in the field, putting on head collars, leading safely and grooming including picking feet out quickly through spending a short time on a yard with so many horses.
Throughout the day there was opportunities to complete all the relevant husbandry tasks
associated with a riding school and livery yard; mucking out stables, feeding, fetching bales
etc. is all part of the daily routine.
During the two weeks, I spent there, there were a number of days that differed from the
‘normal routine’, for instance, I spent one day with the farrier as he trimmed over 20 horses’
feet. I was able to watch and ask questions and this was great supplementary learning to our equine lectures.
I was also given the opportunity to practice some new skills. Monitoring one horse’s temperature, pulse and respiration every day left me feeling proficient in that skill and much more confident than I was when I started the placement. I also worked with a horse that had recently come onto the yard, desensitising her to having her feet picked up and picked out by riders of a variety of abilities.
All in all, a placement that I thought wouldn’t be essential to my learning turned out to be
not only very enjoyable but also very beneficial. I would suggest to anyone, even those with an equine background that a riding school would make a good pre-clinical equine placement as you will get a large volume of experience and get the chance to practice a wide variety of
skills. You might even get a few hacks to de-stress at the end of a long week!