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Creating the Happy and Willing Equine Patient

Ten tips on how to have a better veterinary appointment

jennifer jackson

on 28 October 2015

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Transcript of Creating the Happy and Willing Equine Patient

Creating the Happy and Willing Equine Patient
Embrace the joyful curiosity of the horse
Be Happy, Do Happy and Have Happy!

Horses respond quickly and easily to positive reinforcement. Indulge it!

Relax, Breath Deep and Enjoy. Horses can read your mind
Start and Stop on a Positive Note
1. Start and Stop on a positive note
2. The restraint can be more aversive than the procedure.
3. Relax, Breathe and Enjoy, Horses can read your mind.
4. Change tactics if it's not working
5. Use positive reinforcement wisely
6. Think Comfort
7. Rehabilitation of the patient
8. Time
9. Charting and Expectations
10. Its Always more productive to just move forward. Set yourself up for success
food treats are easy effective
develop a routine of a particular container and present under chin
soothing words and stroking at the whither
Allow the horse some wiggle room and move with the horse.
Clear a path to avoid negative consequences
Try to relax, handlers inadvertently tense up just prior to treatment.
Calm your handler or decided to do it yourself
Change tactics if its not working
References and other websites

Give Positive Reinforcement with correct timing
If horses can learn a behaviour they can unlearn a behaviour.

Horses are quick to learn- embrace that

Horses are a product of their previous experiences, not just temperament.

But don't spend your time in the past, " Its
more productive to just move forward.
Move Forward
Primary and Secondary Reinforcement need to be closely associated with the task.
Feeding within 8 seconds of the required job and affirmative " Good Boy"
Helps build the effectiveness of the soothing verbal command.
Rehabilitation to veterinary procedures
A full history is required and some creative thought.
Break all the steps down
Positively reinforce each step, then create the sequence
8. Take Time
A few moments scratching the horse or going to get a treat will do amazing things for the visit.

I often find people frustrated with the moments it takes to load a mare in the stocks, the first time with posiitve reinforcement. I often time it. It takes the same amount of time with food as whip taps and its less scary. The next time its faster.

In our work place its a happier place to work when the horses walk in the stocks for their breakfast and bandage change.

Encouraging my staff to do this has led to a safer and more efficient work place.

Write down the goals
Recording goals increases the reality of the objection

It improves understanding of the steps required fora rehabilitation.

It makes the problem as real as a lameness or other medical disease.

It helps remove human emotion and labeling .

It keeps us moving forward
Training a horse for an "avoidance cycle" is easier than you think.

If the horse threatens and avoids and we repeat.
The horse is training us to "Pressure and release"!
If the first time the horse finds an escape route reassess and get a new plan.
New treats, different handler, different space, walk the horse, twitch etc.

1) modify the restraint 2) alternate approach
Dr. Sue McDonnell From Penn State University runs a herd of Horses that she studies.
Start and Stop on a Positive Note
Set your self up for success
Relax ,
you and the horse
Positive Reinforcement
Change Tactics
Think Comfort
Splendid Texi

3 Concepts

1. The Procedure is not that painful
2. It will be followed by a reward
3. Ordinary Resistance will not stop the procedure
Overshadowing by Dr. Andrew McLean
In this technique the horse is moved forward and backward, somewhat distracting it from the aversive stimuli. I find it excellent at deworming and calms the animal as opposed to the circle phenomena
Please don't label the horses
Find a nice place to work :)

Horses are genetically selected for survival of the fittest.
They are extremely adept at spotting predators.
Horses are fight or flight animals
Your attitude makes a huge difference to the success of the appointment
Before big days of highly reactive horses I run.
I get my self in a mental state that improves my success
Pressure = motivates and the
Release trains.
A calm voice has powerful impact on horses
3 Basic Tactics
1. Positive Reinforcement - food, scratches, calm words.
2. Pressure and Release- slowing down stopping when desired effect occurs immediately remove pressure
3. Overshadowing - moving the feet for distraction

Can you get by with a smaller needle
a different eye med ?
meds given less often ?
can you stick in a catheter ?
should we be warmer?
should we sedate?
Once you have quietly caught the foal, Stay calm, pull foals neck around and allow her to "fall asleep"

I have catheterized them with the foal pulled around me and with some lidocaine

Where do we go from here

Timing of the release is Pivotal
Don't forget I have put a few articles and videos together on Pinterest
Full transcript