The British Equine Veterinary association (BEVA) has launched a new, free-to-members online CPD course, presented by Gemma Pearson, to help equine vets, nurses and clients minimise patient stress.

Gemma Pearson RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Behavioural Medicine (Equine), Director of Equine Behaviour, The Horse Trust, The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, has worked with BEVA to develop and produce the six-part “Hold Your Horses” CPD course. It is pre-recorded so can be completed on demand and is suitable for every member of the veterinary team involved with the care of horses.

Research published in EVE by Pearson in 2020 reported that 95% of equine vets work with “difficult” horses on at least a monthly basis, and that 81% of them had sustained at least one injury in the last 5 years. The research also indicated that some vets overestimate their understanding of equine learning theory. Developing an extended understanding of how horses learn can make clinical care less stressful for the horses as well as the vets, nurses, owners. Reduced patient stress also improves workplace safety; important in a role that has been identified as one of the most dangerous civilian professions.

“Horses have limited cognitive skills and so we should try to better understand what motivates and reinforces unwanted behaviours rather than assuming the horse is being wilfully or maliciously disobedient,” said Gemma. “To do this we need to appreciate how horses learn. Better horse handling leads to happier horses,and this means happier vets and nurses and owners/clients with the ultimate knock on of better safety, better job satisfaction and better retention in the profession.”

The training sessions include:

Injury rates

How horses learn

How to read emotions and body language

Restraint during veterinary care

Anthrozoology (the study of animal and human interactions and how else, beyond learning theory, we impact horses’ behaviours)

Psychopharmaceuticals

Gemma said: “One of the biggest push backs I get from people that haven’t started to develop low stress vet care as a routine is that they haven’t got time. But those who do use it say that it saves them time and keeps them safer, this also brings obvious commercial benefit to the practice - so what’s not to like?”

BEVA members can sign up for the new BEVA Hold Your Horses course here

More information on how to become a BEVA member can be found here: Join | BEVA