Hartpury’s students get the inside track on equine lameness in specialist seminars


A group of University Centre students attended a series of seminars for an insight into equine clinical lameness examination at a state-of-the-art veterinary practice.

Hartpury’s BSc (Hons) Bioveterinary Science students learn the theory behind clinical lameness examinations during modules on animal health and disease so they relished the opportunity to see the techniques in practice. They were also accompanied by a few equine students who have a particular interest in the subject area.

The seminars were delivered by Ben Coles, of Three Counties Equine Hospital, who specialises in sports horse medicine and lameness diagnosis and gave students an insight into how vets investigate lameness in horses. He initially visited the Hartpury yard and performed a physical examination, including flexion tests and a trot-up, where the horse is assessed in motion, on real clinical cases.

Ben explained: “While certain lameness can be obvious and easy to diagnose, such as abscesses or serious injuries, others can be mild and difficult to identify. Finding the cause of subtle lameness may require more in-depth investigations that can include diagnostic imaging, such as x-ray, MRI or ultrasound.”

Students then got the chance to visit the equine hospital in a follow-up session and were able to see some of the specialist diagnostic imaging equipment that Three Counties Equine use to conduct scans during their investigations. This technology helps vets reach a more accurate diagnosis which means the most appropriate treatment can be prescribed.

Mollie King, final year Bioveterinary Science student, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the lameness assessment seminars, which complemented my current modules and enhanced my knowledge.

“It was a great experience to go through clinical cases with a specialist equine vet, from the first consultation right through to the diagnostics and treatment. It was a great opportunity provided, which will benefit me when working with horses at any stage throughout and after my degree!”

Jessie Guscott, who also studies Bioveterinary Science, added: “The sessions were brilliant, especially visiting the Three Counties Hospital, it was a great chance to look around the diagnostic and operating facilities they have available there, and apply that to what we had learnt about external observation in the first session at the Hartpury yard.

“Ben was friendly and so knowledgeable, he answered all of our many questions and from a veterinary applicant point of view, it was fantastic to meet a vet and make the link with a potential future placement.”

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