Well, the first two months of our work with the Blue Cross Equine team at Burford have simply flown past! We have been very busy each week, checking over new arrivals and those about to go to new homes, vaccinating, drawing passports and inserting microchips.
The best thing about working with the Blue Cross is how completely focused the whole Equine team is on ensuring the long-term good welfare of the animals for which they take responsibility. Each horse is treated as an individual – some arrive having been mistreated, others without ever having been handled before. The Equine team work with each horse at its own pace to train them to be polite, well-mannered and easy to care for, and no horse is pushed to do more than it is ready for.
The behaviour training techniques the team and I use are very gentle and very effective – working alongside them it is amazing how quickly an anxious horse can relax and allow me to take a blood sample, give an injection or examine a leg or foot. The same techniques are used when the ever-patient farriery team of Phil, Barney and Emma are at work.
Rescued horses can then be re-homed with confidence, knowing that they have their own ‘toolkit’ of good behaviour for their re-homer, farrier and vet.
Behaviour training is at the root of the #dontkillyourvet campaign that you may have seen recently on social media. Training is always going to be a safer and more sustainable solution to managing a ‘difficult’ horse than battling with them to restrain or sedate them. We are planning to include some behaviour training topics in our next client evening this summer, including a practical demonstration – keep your eyes peeled for further information!
Written by Sally Hodgson BSc (Hons) MA VetMB MRCVS