Vet Tech Student Brings Horse Whispering Skills to Classroom

Posted by on February 12, 2014

Veterinary technology student, Erin Manney, has “a strange connection” to horses that her dad sometimes refers to as horse whispering.

Manney admits she has a unique bond with horses, but says, “I don’t whisper. I talk.”

“They have a body language,” she explains, “that speaks so loud you can analyze what they are saying to you. I’ve been in the horse industry since I was born.”

Vet tech student, Erin Manney, with Miss Tricky and Dylan

Her father raised and professionally showed horses, and Manney and her sister spent all their time growing up in the barn learning the ropes of the trade. One of those skills was that of the farrier, a specialist in equine foot care. That is why vet tech instructor Sara Bjorstrom asked Manney to speak to her Equine class.

“As an experienced farrier, Erin has to address hoof diseases on a daily basis,” explains Bjorstrom. “Many equine veterinarians will work with a farrier like Erin to treat these diseases. It is important for vet tech students to understand that farrier work (trimming and shoeing horses’ hooves) requires a great deal of specialized skills, physical resilience and attention to detail. Typically, veterinary technicians and veterinarians do not have the experience, or detailed technical training, that a farrier receives.”

Vet tech student, Erin Manney

“I had planned to have a farrier from the community come to class,” Bjorstrom added. “Luckily, I found an experienced farrier right here on campus!”

Manney also has experience with animal chiropractic practices and has led an exciting journey over the years, including working with racetrack thoroughbreds in Arkansas, Washington and Arizona. Her skill set and her stories wowed her classmates.

“Her peers were impressed with the level of knowledge and years of experience Erin has as a farrier,” said Bjorstrom. “It is a very specialized field that is vital to the health and performance of horses.”

Bjorstrom believes students teaching other students can be a valuable lesson. “It is important for students to realize that they, and their peers, have valuable experiences outside of the classroom that we all may benefit from. The diversity of MSB students enhances the learning environment.”

Manney appreciated the opportunity to speak to her peers, and felt she learned from the experience along the way.

“It’s not as easy as it seems,” she reflects. “To be honest, it’s a bit scary. It gives me a whole new respect for my instructors. It’s hard to get everything that you want to say, said.”

Manney’s undying love for horses led her to the veterinary technology field. In a perfect world, she will find a job in the equine field. For now, she is happy to be working alongside her peers toward graduation.


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