At the end of March 2023, I was delighted to be invited to the British Horse Society (BHS) healthcare and education clinic held at Lingfield Equine Vets. I was attending as one of the BHS VSC because I’m a current BVMSci student at the University of Surrey.
The BHS provide clinics in the Spring and Autumn every year all over the UK, offering a health check by a vet, castration, passporting, microchipping, dental checks, worming and hoof care at a reduced cost, as well as education, advice and support on a huge range of issues.
The aim of the clinic is to castrate horses that might otherwise be left entire, which gives the horses the chance of a more integrated life where they can be kept alongside mares, reducing the incidence of indiscriminate breeding. Eligible horse owners are identified by the network of Welfare Field Officers from various charities or local authorities.
The clinic day started with introductions where I met the vets and nursing staff that were on hand. There were vets from all over the country that had volunteered their time through the British Equine Veterinary Association Trust for the wellbeing of the horses in attendance. All the vets were very generous with their knowledge and made sure I felt comfortable with the jobs I was asked to perform, which included scanning for microchips, observing vital signs under anaesthesia and cleaning up following the procedure. The clinic was an excellent opportunity to revise my anatomical knowledge and gain insight into the surgical procedure that I’ll be performing in a few years!
It was a busy day with a huge variety of horses, ranging from youngstock cobs, Welsh type ponies and Shetlands. All the horses were dealt with in a calm and professional manner and left the practice with a future where they’ll be able to be kept in mixed herds without the management complications that arise from being a stallion.