My 5.30am alarm was set for a long day of working at the stud farm including 2 hours of travelling.
The first job was to take off the horses’ rugs and put the turn out rugs on. This was a good opportunity to spend time in the stables with the horses. With a riding hat on for health and safety, we put the head collars on the horses that were going outside into the fields and led them outside.
Every two hours, the horses were swapped (inside/outside).
As the horses had a morning and evening feed, I helped with the food preparation. Each horse had supplements specific for their needs, advised by the vet. These included linseed oil, vitamin E and calmers. We discussed common health problems such as colic, laminitis and Cushing’s disease. I then asked about opinions of lethal injection vs gunshot euthanasia as I’d discussed horse euthanasia with a small animal vet before. There are a lot more cons to lethal injection including: only barbiturates shut down the brain first, it is a longer process, disposing the body is more difficult.
An interesting job was faecal egg counting as I was able to put my microscope skills to good use. This was done to identify which horses needed worming and to check the wormers have been successful (there are many different ones used).
- I weighed 3 grams of each bag of faeces (one for each horse).
- I transferred this into a beaker with 42ml of tap water and stirred.
- I then filtered this through a tea strainer into another beaker before pouring the contents into a centrifuge tube.
- I placed the tubes into the centrifuge for 2 minutes at 1500bpm, I then discarded the supernatant.
- I topped up the tube with saturated salt solution and used a pipette to prepare a slide.
- I viewed the sample under the microscope at x40 magnification, using the grid to ensure the same area was used per sample.
- I multiplied this number by 50 to calculate the number of eggs per gram of faeces.
I then helped with field duty which meant walking down the road to check on the horses in the fields. Once foals are old enough to eat by themselves, they are weaned and taken down to the fields.
An interesting case was a horse who came in with a wound, it gradually got worse exposing bone and an X-Ray showed this as a grey area- meaning the bone needed to be removed. The horse was operated on, so twice a day the wound is washed with hibiscrub before lazer therapy which encourages cell growth, decreasing recovery time. Vulketan cream was then applied to the area.