Engaging Students in Equine Careers Through Farm Shadows Program
A recent Farm Shadows high school Farm Shadow experience was held at Nova Quarter Horse Farm and organized by Dr. Alison Powers from Premier Equine Veterinary Ambulatory Services in Lemont. Dr. Powers explained the many services required of a veterinarian including the procedures used to treat colic in horses (photo on left). A farrier provided students with an understanding of the education, experience, and role of his profession as a highly skilled equine hoof-care professional, while allowing students to understand how to begin the process of working with the horse’s hooves (photo on right).
FFA students traveled to the opposite corner of Cook County to be a part of our final high school Farm Shadows experience for school year 2021-22. The Rolling Meadows students learned about jobs within the large animal vet science field of work including the skills needed to be a large animal equine veterinarian, farrier, and nutritionist.
The program was led by Dr. Alison Powers of Premier Equine and was held at Nova Quarter Horses Barn in Mokena, IL. Dr. Powers provided the students access to her Ambulatory Veterinary Services traveling truck that includes medical supplies and equipment where they learned about the services administered by the team. Participants observed horse movements to understand how to diagnose a variety of conditions and viewed some actual x-rays. Dr. Powers also discussed common health issues in horses and spoke about the preventive care that is required to take diligent care of the animals. “The mobile vet trucks are impressive. I never thought about the vet going to the animal,” shared student, Aaron.
Speakers from Nutrena gave an overview of large animal nutrition, including costs to feed the horses a healthy diet. They also discussed how to determine feed amount depending on each horse. One student commented, “The science that goes into feed really impressed me. I enjoyed helping with the measurements to determine the horse’s weight.”
A farrier, a craftsman who trims and shoes horses' hooves, provided a glimpse into the education and training required for the position. Students were surprised by the physicality of the job and the dangers of the profession.
The Farm Shadows Program wrapped up our high school series for the school year. Our thanks to the Cook County Farm Bureau® Foundation with support from Compeer Financial for allowing local students opportunities to gain experience about careers in agriculture right here in Cook County.
When asked what was helpful about the Equine Shadow, students said, “I’m really glad that they showed what they do on an actual horse which is something that I never have got to see in person on a live animal” and “The whole thing, because it was very interesting.” For more information about how to become a partner in our Farm Shadow experiences for next year, email us at [email protected].