Veterinary Tales about Horses
told by Leo Rogier Verberne
From horse practitioner to breeding manager
The true stories in this book are a selection from the daily practice of a horse practitioner. They largely take place in the countryside of the province of Noord-Brabant. Since the end of the second world war in 1945 horse farming went through drastic changes. Workhorses used to carry out heavy work on farms were replaced by tractors. The strong and obedient workhorse was then used to breed a lighter and faster riding horse. It was used in harness for carriage driving and riding under saddle in dressage and show jumping. So a versatile recreational horse was needed. The rural villages saw the rise of saddle horse riding associations where farmers’ sons practiced equestrian sport.
1970: versatile recreational horse
In the period 1970-2015, the versatile recreational horse was the basis for the breeding of various specialised horses: for driving carriages, for dressage- and show jumping competitions, for eventing (a combined competition including cross country), endurance (marathon in horse riding), for reining and western riding (cowboys’ work). Horses of the KWPN (Royal Dutch Warmblood Horse Studbook) became trend-setting in several of these disciplines. They were exported to countries all over the world. Huub and Tiny van Helvoirt from the village Rosmalen contributed significantly through the breeding of top-quality dressage horses.
2015: specialised dressage horse
The specialisation of these horses also had far-reaching consequences for the daily work of the horse practitioners. From now on, these costly animals were treated in specialised horse clinics in the event of lameness or illness. It is here that the veterinary inspections prior to the purchase and sale of these animals were also performed. The work of the general horse practitioner was gradually limited to emergencies (like colic, deliveries and wounds) and managing breeding practices. The treatment of a lame or ill horse at the owner’s home has nearly disappeared. The horse practitioner is an old trade now, much like the miller, horse driver and farm worker. These developments occur in the background of the stories in this book.
© Leo Rogier Verberne