Attending a workshop or training day is one of the best things you can do to improve your knowledge of how your horse works, but deciding which event to attend can be tricky. You need to consider the price of your tickets, how you are going to get to the event, and also time spent away from your horses, animals and family. You may need to take time out from your work and you may need to pay for extra horse care to come on a course, but here are five great reasons to come on one of our equine dissection days.
1. You will appreciate the size and structure
You can read textbooks about the equine stomach being the size of a rugby ball or a beachball, but it actually looks rather different when you see it for real. Viewing the equine stomach really makes you understand why horses need to be fed little and often. When we have emptied the contents of a full stomach it is generally the same as a full bucket of feed, which shows how easy it would be to overload the stomach.
The lungs are another great example of how reading about the structure doesn’t do it justice. You might have read that a thoroughbred horse, in peak fitness, racing over a short distance can move the equivalent of six bathtubs of air in and out of it’s lungs. When you actually see the lungs you really do appreciate what an amazing athlete the horse truly is.
2. Textbooks can only teach you 2-D
If you want to understand how your horse works you need to appreciate the horse in 3-D. On one of our equine anatomy courses we had a lady training for her BHS Stage Two Exam and she was so surprised that the navicular bone is not flat. It is actually a sort of concave shape, however she had only seen the structure of the lower leg in a textbook and the navicular bone look flat. This lady said that she found the dissection aspect was ‘more useful than reading 1000 textbooks’, and she went on to attend a dissection day course prior to taking her Stage Three Exam.
3. You will remember what you’ve learnt
Most horse owners are busy people who generally learn by doing. To understand how your hose works from a textbook is quite challenging, and on our dissection day course you will view and hear about the structures briefly in the classroom, before watching a led dissection with our vet. You’ll have a chance to do some dissection yourself if you wish, this is entirely optional.
On this course you will be learning from a farrier as well as a vet, and the discussion on different case studies will really help you remember what you are hearing.The group is small on the course and you can ask as many questions as you like.
4. Dissection is how veterinary and medical students train
There is no substitute for dissection in terms of learning. Dissection needn’t be upsetting it is simply a scientific way of learning. Because real life isn’t like a text book we never know exactly what we might find when we view each structure. Some of the stomachs that have been dissected have contained gastric ulcers, some of the lower legs have had scar tissue from previous tendon injuries, and other abnormalities such as fibrous tissue on a lung have also been found. This makes our dissection day such a dynamic way of learning, because whilst we have a clear structure for what we would like to teach you we always get a few surprises, meaning you learn even more.
5. You will appreciate how and why different injuries and conditions occur in the horse, such as laminitis.
As an owner you think that you understand conditions such as a tendon injury, or laminitis, particularly if your horse has suffered from one of these before.
However without viewing inside the leg or hoof capsule I don’t personally think you can really understand the implications of the injury, and the recovery process. For instance without viewing the internal hoof structure you will never truly appreciate how painful laminitis must be for the horse. You may have read that the sensitive and insensitive laminae interlock together like velcro, however watching two farriers try and separate the structures it is actually very difficult. This separation occurs while the horse is still walking around, and of course he cannot fully take the weight off his feet. These dissection days help you appreciate how injuries occur and why some of these are hard to heal in the horse. I was so blow away by how hard it was for two farriers to separate the laminae that this was my motivation to set up National Laminitis Awareness Day (which is a National Awareness Day running 10th July each year).
If you need more reasons to attend the course don’t forget that the day includes welcome refreshments, lunch and afternoon tea you will also get a copy of all of the slides to refer back to. This way you can continue to learn from your training day with us. I appreciate attending one of our courses is an investment of your time and money which is why I want you to get the most from the day. You can read more about what it is like to attend one of our courses and read why updating your equine anatomy knowledge is so important and you can read testimonials from our dissection days.