We all miss school, at least parts of it. Before you fall off your chair laughing, try to think back to when you took a course that really grabbed your attention. You could argue and discuss the finer points of literature or math or psychology or science or whatever and really enjoy hearing something you didn't know before. One of those "Wow" moments when things click into place.

I don't think that desire to learn ever leaves us. I do think that our methods of obtaining new information and the feedback process change dramatically.

Horse people are probably the best example of individuals who continue to seek information. We constantly take lessons, practice what we are learning with an almost religious fervor, then compete (test) to see if we have mastered what we are studying.

Think back--how many of us would have gone to a science class in the pouring rain, with mud up to our knees, to take a test that was optional? Okay, so how many of you competed in less-than-ideal conditions this past year?

That innate desire to learn, to progress, to discover a new way is what makes you a reader of this publication. You want to know more than you know now; do something a little better about your horse's health; find out what is new and exciting. That is also the reason we are here--to satisfy our need, and yours, for the best, newest, easiest, and most practical health information in the world.

We also are listening to you. You have asked for more articles on basic problems that you face as a competitor, as a breeder, as a horse owner. You want to know if what you are doing is the best that can be done. You want to test your knowledge, and expand your experience.

In January of 1997, we are starting a series of articles on complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (see introduction on page 68). Many readers have acknowledged they would like to use some of these complementary therapies, but want to know more about them first. Others might have used them with success in some cases, and without success in others. Some might want to know what is out there and have the facts presented to them in a logical, understandable manner.

In May, we will begin a monthly column on nutrition. Feeding your horse has become a science, but there doesn't seem to be a good textbook designed for the person going to the feed store. And, if you ask 30 different people who have experience or are "experts" in feeding horses, you're likely to get 30 different answers. The best advice I ever heard was to feed each horse as an individual. But how do you know what that individual needs, especially in this day of having as many supplements available for horses as you do breakfast cereals for yourself?

We also are starting a series called Focus On Discipline. In these articles, we will look at different disciplines, the types of horses which are used, the common ailments of those horses, and the best means of caring for horses which compete in that discipline to keep them sound and healthy.

Even your veterinarian is constantly seeking knowledge from his or her colleagues and from those who are on the cutting edge researching equine problems in universities. The American Association of Equine Practitioners' convention in December is the largest gathering of equine practitioners in the world, and they are clamoring for the same thing that horse owners want--practical, take-home information.

If there has been a complaint at the AAEP convention in the past couple of years, it has been that there is almost too much to choose from, and there is even more this year. Everything from lameness to pediatrics, internal medicine and surgery to in-depth seminars on joint injections and dentistry. This information comes from the top equine researchers and the best private practitioners from around the world.

So, if your veterinarian is missing in action aduring the first week in December, he or she most likely will have been at the convention. Be sure to ask what's new in the veterinary world, or what they found most interesting. Or, you can look in our January issue, read through our coverage of the convention, and see if there is something you want to learn more about. Then ask your veterinarian.

Life is a learning process; horse people just seem to enjoy applying it a little more than others.

My best wishes for a joyous Christmas season, and a Happy New Year!

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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