Costa Rica Veterinary Experience

"Hay!" Let's Talk About Horses!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Hello! My name is Jemma and I am super excited to get to be attending the veterinary Broadreach program! The opportunity to be leader of the day was a super fun role to step into, as it pushed me to exercise leadership skills not only needed to be leader of the day, but to be successful in the veterinary field.

As for the past two days, the group has been split in half. One day, while one group did veterinary work with an equine vet, the other group enjoyed connecting with the horses through a series of activities.

Starting Saturday morning, the Hummingbird cabin had an early start! It’s residents got to milk the dairy cow and collect farm-fresh eggs! On Sunday, cabins took a day off from farm chores to ensure all of us were well-rested for the midterms. All students convened on both days at 8:00 am in the restaurant to enjoy breakfast, including delicious pineapple which Costa Rica has in abundance, before splitting off into groups.

For the students working with the equine vet, it began with a review on how to conduct a physical examination, specifically of a horse. This included conducting an examination on the eyes to observe the mucus membrane, checking the nostrils for discharge and the teeth. A lesson on immunotherapy came next, helping us gain experience with the use of a needle and syringe. While a few students practiced drawing blood, others practiced using that blood to make an intramuscular injection, stimulating the horse’s muscle. Next, we practiced using a stethoscope by calculating the heart rate of our peers. Then, we had the opportunity to calculate the heart rate of the horse, as well as the opportunity listen to gut sounds using the stethoscope. After taking a quick lunch break, students learned how to clear out the stomach by inserting a flexible plastic tube through the nose to the stomach. To conclude the day, students used imaging methods such as an X-ray and ultrasound machine to gain more insight about the bones, ligaments and tendons that are associated with the hooves.

For the other group, the day began with each student being personally matched with a horse for day. Each student got a special moment as they entered the ring and got the opportunity to form a deep bond with their horse. They did this through using body language and their energy that allowed them to control the movement of the horse, as well as gain their respect. We then mounted our horses and set out on a horseback ride. Our horses trotted through creeks, over hills and gave us a view of the picturesque Costa Rican countryside. At our destination we tied our horses up and followed a hiking path to a serene water fall. After eating a quick lunch, we had time to take pictures, swim and make a splash at the refreshing waterfall before riding back to the stables.

For the past two days, once these activities were completed, we had some free time. On Saturday all students received back their second journal entry during free time! After they had the opportunity to swim in the pool while enjoying the amazing view of the volcano, catch up on some studying for the midterm or another activity of their choice before a post-dinner jeopardy study session for the midterm. Sunday, students had the same options and got to enjoy a mental break before resuming studying for the midterm! All students had a final hour of studying before taking the midterm before dinner, a short test consisting of true & false, multiple choice, fill-in the blank and short answer questions. Congratulations to everyone on all their hard work so far academically and their completion of the midterm!