Although today was cloudy and intermittently rainy, we ended the day in high spirits after providing health care to 80 horses in the village of Zaragoza. Our work site was an empty lot where WHW farrier student Jaime Perez had organized a smal
to shelter our table with supplies as well as two posts with a cross bar to serve as our dental station. We were cheered by the higher body condition scores of most horses and the obvious pride the owners showed in their animals. This community holds horse parades frequently, so fewer of our working equids were just pack horses, and more had names.
World Horse Welfare farrier student Jaime Perez working on a young horse
Horses arriving at the Equitarian – WHW worksite in Zaragoza
Over 35 horses were gathered when we arrived so we tried a slightly different approach to get started. Veterinarian Tammy Vretis quickly set out to put sequential numbers on all of the horses to establish an order of go. (She also took a number of great pictures throughout the day along with a treating many
horses!) Drs. Chris Brasmer and Craig Niblett rapidly began to deworm and vaccinate horses before the farriers got going so as to minimize interruption of hoof work. Their high efficiency challenged Dr. Julie Wilson’s and technician Cecilia Mink’s ability to complete the horse’s record form in Spanish, explain the vaccinations, and check for additional health concerns, but they eventually caught up. Dr. Rob Franklin was Johnny on the spot, helping everyone, checking teeth, persuading difficult horses to cooperate, and offering
encouragement whenever our energy lagged. The farriers very patiently cooperated with the veterinary team’s efforts, as did the saddlers, who most willingly explained solutions for back lesions to the owners. Fewer horses had saddle sores, yet there was still plenty of work for the WHW saddlers and their students.
The owners of the first horses sent to the dental station rapidly figured out the potential benefits of floating the teeth and soon persuaded more of their friends to bring their horses for floating if it was indicated. This provided an excellent opportunity for our team’s veterinary students, Clay Whitten and Scott Fleming, and our Guatemalan colleague, Dr. Jorge Caballeros, to hone their dental skills with mentoring from Dr. Niblett.
Drs. Jorge Caballeros and Craig Niblett discussing next steps on a dental case.
Veterinary students Clay Whitten and Scott Fleming check a horse’s teeth before administering ivermectin.
Interesting lameness cases benefited from the expertise of Dr. Keith Latson, who joined us today after an overnight flight from Los Angeles. The WHW farriers did a great job meeting the special needs of the lame horses as well as dressing back the feet of many horses with very long hooves. Probably
our favorite duo of the day was a boy who rode in on his charming little donkey.
Veterinary techinician Cecilia Mink and Danilo Perez with our first burro
We also loved watching the children learn about caring for their horses
and enjoying the Equitarian coloring books.
Dr. Tammy Vretis sharing her equine passion with the horses’ children
A well trained horse enjoying his boys
The community leaders supported today’s work by providing a delicious lunch and at the end of the day, a very eloquent group thank you. We finished up our day with a dinner of outstanding Guatemalan cuisine, and though tired, look forward to getting to a yet another village tomorrow.
The World Horse Welfare and Equitarian Teams with the Zaragoza community leaders
Blog from Julie Wilson, Tammy Vretis, and Cecilia Mink. Pictures by Tammy Vretis