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Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Royal Veterinary College Announces Graduate Equine Locomotor Research Diploma for Farriers

These images from recent locomotor research at the RVC were part of a test on the influence of hoof packing on a shod horse's foot deformation at the walk and trot. (©RVC image)

Hoof Blog comment: Progress happens slowly, and this announcement has been a long time coming--about 225 years, in fact. Sometimes making progress requires going back to the beginning of things and looking it all, all over again. That’s what’s happening in Great Britain this summer, as the Royal Veterinary College prepares to invite farriers to return to the vet school, which (like all vet schools) began when 19th century farriers sought to improve their scientific knowledge, banded together, and expanded their skills. The result was the invention a new field of medicine: veterinary science. 

The United Kingdom's Royal Veterinary College (RVC) announced today that it will launch a new Graduate Diploma in Equine Locomotor Research (Grad Dip ELR). The new program offers farriers the opportunity to gain skills and experience in producing original research to both increase the evidence base behind farriery, and to enhance equine welfare.

The Grad Dip ELR is a UK Higher Education Level 6 course which can be taken over a minimum of two and a maximum of five years. The course, which is divided into two distinct sections, Contemporary Study Skills and Applied Equine Locomotion, will be delivered using a variety of methods including face-to-face learning sessions on weekends, webinars and podcasts to facilitate participation of the busy practicing farrier.

Professor Renate Welle
The course will be led by Renate Weller, Dr Med.Vet, PhD, MRCVS, FHEA, who is Professor in Comparative Imaging and Biomechanics at the RVC and by Thilo Pfau, PhD (Dr-Ing), Senior Lecturer in Bioengineering at the RVC. Weller and Pfau will be supported by other members of the RVC’s Structure and Motion lab, the College's Equine Referral Hospital and its epidemiology group.

Thilo Pfau, PhD (Dr-Ing)
They will be joined by the RVC’s Learning Development Manager, Rachel Davis, BSc, PhD, and her team, who have vast experience with vocational learners returning to education.

Comments on the new program:

Professor Weller said: “I am super excited by this course. As an equine clinician, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of farriery in the prevention and treatment of lameness in horses. As a researcher, I am excited to be able to work with people who have the practical experience and knowledge to generate scientific evidence for farriery strategies. It is a historic moment for the RVC -- after 225 years we are welcoming back farriers and I am very honored to be leading this endeavor. The most common problem in equine practice is lameness and I am sure we will see great research coming out of this that will help us to work in a team to improve equine welfare.”

Major (Retd) Richard Waygood, MBE
Major (Retd) Richard Waygood MBE, chef d'equipe of the British Dressage Team, said: “Within my capacity as Performance Manager for the GB Dressage Team we are always trying to find a competitive advantage. I believe this course will enable science and practical farriery to provide factual evidence which will help produce the "x" factor, which generates the marginal gains that are required in the competition field. The flip side of course is horse welfare -- no foot, no horse! A great initiative that will provoke the brain cells and create some thinking outside of the box.”

About the course structure:

Admission will be open to all farriers who are eligible to be registered with the UK’s Farriers Registration Council and have a minimum of two years’ practical experience in advanced foot care. The RVC would consider applications from individuals who can demonstrate the necessary experience in advanced foot care and provide evidence of reflective practice in the form of an extensive portfolio of the farrier’s work.

The program will officially begin in January 2017, with a maximum of 20 enrolled research diploma candidates. Farriers who live outside the UK are eligible to enroll but must meet the requirements of the Farriers Registration Council, or fulfill the extraordinary admission process explained on the program's web page.

The program has two distinct sections of study. The first covers contemporary study skills related to onlne learning, academic writing, and presentation skills. Prospective degree-holding students with recent academic experience may apply for exemption from the first module.

The second section covers Applied Equine Locomotion and has five modules:

  • Module 1: Equine locomotor biomechanics and orthopaedics
  • Module 2: Critical evaluation of scientific literature
  • Module 3: Study design and equine locomotor assessment methods
  • Module 4: Data processing, analysis and presentation
  • Module 5: Research project

The deadline for application is Sunday, September 11, 2016.

The total course fee for section 1 is £910 for UK and EU students and £1,150 (about $1,500US) for international students.The course fee for section 2 is £3,500 for UK and EU students and £3,800 (about $5,000US) for international students, payable in three installments.

About the Royal Veterinary College:
The RVC is the UK’s largest and oldest veterinary school and has a substantially greater number of students and a more diverse student body than any other UK veterinary school. Research at the Royal Veterinary College is of international quality and the RVC’s Structure and Motion lab is home to the largest research group and most extensive facilities dedicated to animal locomotor biomechanics with the horse at its centre. The clinical facilities combined with the expertise of the equine group provides the ideal ground for this course, according to the course announcement.

Note: This program is designed for farriers who have not completed a Bachelors degree, as a way to give them entry to the research community. Farriers who have completed degree programs are eligible for advanced study. "Any farrier with an undergraduate degree can apply for a MRes or PhD, provided they have the funding." Professor Weller told the Hoof Blog today.

To learn more:

More information about the new program at the RVC

Application packet for the program

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