Don’t Break your Vet! – A follow up

(Previous – Dont Break your Vet)

At the start of this year I posted about a learning week that the BEVA (British Equine Veterinary Association) launched called “Don’t Break Your Vet”.

One of the the topics covered was easy injections. If you haven’t seen the video it basically is a method of rewarding and releasing as soon as you get the behaviour you wanted.

For injections wise you take a skin twitch and as soon as the horse stands and accepts the twitch you release and reward. So instead of releasing as soon as they resist which will only teach them the opposite you need to wait until you get the behaviour you want. (Obviously go and watch the videos which are with an actual horse behaviourist but thats the very basic idea)

I had the vet out recently for an annual check up and a dental check. Eva let’s the vet put a gag on and have a look but fusses if any work gets done so needs sedated if work is needed. When the vet had a look she decided Eva needed a little bit of work done therefore turned to me and asked how Eva is with needles. As you might imagine my answer was that she is not at all impressed with them and the quicker the better.

The vet decided that rather than go straight in an try injecting her she was going to use the above method and let Eva use her brain a little and distract her rather than let her stay in full red alert of “VET VET VET!” which she was in ever since the vets car arrived on the yard.

After doing the technique only a couple of times Eva got the message and was quite happy to play the game. In fact she went from red alert “It’s a VET” warning to “Ok I like this game“! And it was great to see her relax!

Once Eva was settled into playing the game I then gave her the bucket while the vet gave the injection of sedation. With a slight “ouch” as the needle went in she was perfect! It is the best I have ever seen her with injections!

For this method to actually work on such a dramatic horse such as Eva just shows how quickly horses can pick up on behaviours whether that is good or bad. In future I think I will get all vets to go in and “play the game” with her first so that it re-enforces the training and vets become a source of treats rather than a source of various pointy objects that she is suspicious of!

There is also a clipping training video which I will have to give a go … Although Ill need to either hire or buy a pair of clippers first!

Have you ever tried any of the techniques show in the Don’t break your vet videos?

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