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About me and my project

I am the equine veterinarian, life long equestrian and animal lover. I am interested in force-free animal handling and applied learning theory. My aim is to help the horses and their humans go through medical care in an easier, less stressful, more ethical and safer way.

BIO

My name is Katerina and I am the equine veterinarian. I graduated from the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Brno, Czech Republic.

I have a particular interest in equine medicine and behaviour. During my studies, I regularly attended seminars, congresses, webinars, and workshops and I've also completed 3 externships:

  • American Fondouk Veterinary Hospital, Fez, Morocco
  • Veterinary clinics of the Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, Estonia
  • Sommerton Equine Hospital, Kildare, Ireland

After finishing my studies, I've worked at the equine veterinary clinic for 2 years, focusing mainly on anaesthesia and reproduction. From time to time, some non-cooperative patients were left to me to care for them but generally, no one was really interested in proper behaviour modification.

After 2 years, I've left the veterinary clinic to establish my own field practice. I've focused on a stud farm and emergency medicine, reproduction, rehabilitation (Dorn therapy) and solving the difficult equine patients' behavioural problems.

WHAT I DO

I specialize in equine learning theory, science-based equine training, and human-horse relationship within the veterinary care.

I've started using applied learning theory routinely for my patients. Since 2015 I've been providing consultations and organizing seminars and workshops for horse owners and veterinarians.

Now I write articles and eBooks and I also make short videos which, I hope, will help the horse owners, as well as the equine professionals, care for the horses more effectively.

WHY

I've been always very keen on working with horses without stress and helping my patients in the best possible way. Many of the horses I've met (or I have heard about from my colleagues) showed various kinds of avoidance behaviour as a response to veterinary procedures. Some of them were so dangerous that the treatment was very limited.

I realized that to be able to treat my patients effectively and safely, I need to have a deeper understanding of what is on the background of their behaviour.

Horses learn almost constantly to keep their behavioural repertoire up-to-date with the changing environment. They learn from every interaction with a human, therefore they do so also during the veterinary procedures. In the most serious cases I've had to deal with, the horses actually displayed a precisely learned behaviour which paid off last time.

The key to successful treatment of a horse patient is not just in knowing what procedure or what drug to choose and what is dosage, but also about being able to handle the horse in a safe and calm manner.

As far as I know, more advanced equine learning theory and ways of safe and ethical handling of the difficult horse patients are not a part of the curriculum at the most of the veterinary universities. 

As there are no guidelines for the approach to the non-compliant equine patient, the vets as well as the owners have to rely on their horse handling skills received (often by trial-and-error) in their personal or professional life.

My aim is to change it. To identify and share the guidelines for systematic, professional, safe and low-stress approach to a horse patient.

The aims of the project:

  • Gathering the scientific information on the field of equine behaviour, perception and learning in the context of the equine health care
  • Providing alternative educational opportunities for horse owners and veterinarians
  • Promoting the professional, humane and low-stress approach as a standard for the veterinary care

Focusing on:

  • Handling the equine patient safely and effectively in a calm manner
  • Training the specific husbandry behaviours
  • Professional approach to a non-compliant patient