By Pat Crema, BC Director, Equine Foundation of Canada 

It has taken almost a year since my initial tour of Thompson Rivers University’s (TRU) Veterinary Technology facility for the equine simulator to arrive on the campus in Kamloops, BC. The $50,000 donation provided by the Equine Foundation of Canada (EFC) allowed not only the ordering of the life-sized horse model but led the way in obtaining more subsequent funding to a total of $120,000. As a result, the university has purchased a second equine simulator as well as a cow simulator for their students’ learning.

I met with the vet tech staff on March 2, 2023 and was given a thorough “hands-on” orientation of the black “mare.” The equine simulator had been prepared to display the major signs of colic in the abdominal organs, a clinical condition that students would be able to actually see. Being able to add air and body fluids to the various structures enhanced the clinical versatility of the model, providing students with many scenarios that affect equine health.

Heather Shannon, Veterinary Technology Program Chair, Greg Anderson, Dean of Science, and a number of instructors led a lively discussion with me regarding the use of the models in their teaching and future plans for expansion of the program. They are also actively pursuing the establishment of a Veterinary Medicine program at TRU, the first in British Columbia. Informal discussions have been held with the provincial government’s Departments of Agriculture and Education. They foresee being able to share the resources and equipment of the technology program with a future medical one.

“Thank you once again for joining us for the unveiling of the equine mannequin. We are so happy to have this technology for our students, and it truly would not have happened without the support of the Equine Foundation of Canada” says Geralyn Cormack, TRU Director of Development. “We look forward to reporting back on the impact these mannequins have in the program and on learning outcomes for large animal care. We will most definitely be keeping in touch as Thompson Rivers University forges forward in conversations around the pursuit of a veterinary medicine program. Thank you once again for your support!”

Following our discussion, photos were taken of the group in front of the equine simulator. The large ceremonial cardboard cheque for $50,000 took centre stage.

Photo: (L-R) Greg Anderson, Dean of TRU’s Faculty of Science; Pat Crema, EFC BC Director; Samantha Ruth, TRU Veterinary Technology Student; Heather Shannon, TRU Veterinarian Technology Program Chair; and Geralyn Cormack, TRU Director of Development.