Horse garments for teaching equine anatomy

Credit : Rafael M. Leandro/The Horse

Monday 05 November - 17h05 | Ian Clayton

Horse garments for teaching equine anatomy

Understanding the complex physiological structures of horses, with their 205 bones and 700 skeletal muscles, is a requirement for veterinary students as well as equine osteopaths, chiropractors and others. And anatomical horse garments are now an option to help with visualization, alongside approaches like body painting. 

 - Horse garments for teaching equine anatomy

An example of horse-safe painting technique by Gillian Higgins
Credit : Horses Inside Out

As Christa Lesté-Lasser rereported recently on The Horse's web site, a Brazilian research team has developed comfortable anatomical garments for the animals to wear, which they suggest have some advantages over painting.

“We began to observe that body painting required a lot of artistic technique and up to six hours of painting time, which sometimes made the horses uncomfortable, and then it didn’t even last very long,” Rafael M. Leandro, PhD, professor of animal morphology in the Anhembi Morumbi University School of Veterinary Medicine in Sao Paulo, told Lesté-Lasser. “Thinking about the welfare of the animal, we decided to come up with some alternative methods of teaching, and the garment fit our criteria.”

In the abstract for their study, the researchers add that, “The technique can be used across different disciplines, enhances students' ability to identify anatomic structures in living bodies, and provides insights into the topography of one or more body systems at the same time. The fact that garments are amenable to palpation by large groups of students with no damage to the painting favors repeated use in hands-on wet labs.”

For more information, see the article in The Horse here. And for more on Great Britain’s Gillian Higgins, who developed the safe body painting technique, see her company's web site here. In the FAQ for the Horses Inside Out site, the question 'What paint do you use and long does it take?' is asked, with the following response: "I use a safe paint, hypo-allergenic, non-toxic and water-based which washes off easily. This does mean horses cannot go out in the rain!"

Further reading...