The School of Equine Herbal Medicine was established in 2014, by equine herbalist Victoria Ferguson, to provide education for horse owners and therapists, wanting to become professional practitioners.

There are currently 9 accredited graduates from the school, most of whom have established equine herbal medicine practices in their own districts. They include …

Debbie Way, Percheron Way, Port Vincent, SA
Skye Berry, Armidale, NSW
Karen Craft, Wallabadah, NSW
Karyn Campbell, Diamond Creek, Vic
Deborah Ware, Natra Horse, Gulgong, NSW
Lisa Hailes, Mornington Peninsula, Vic
Linda Matthews, Kingaroy, Qld
Nicola Crawford, Byaduk, Vic
Dale Logan, DL Equine, Auckland, New Zealand

They all hold a Certificate of Equine Herbal Medicine from the School, and are members of the International Institute of Complimentary Therapists, giving them professional indemnity insurance.

They have all completed the two year course with Distinctions in the subjects of Natural Health Philosophy, Preventive Nutrition, VF Natural Feeding, Practical & Herbal First Aid, Equine Anatomy & Phsyiology, Forms of Using Herbs, The Chemistry of Herbs, Equine Materia Medica, The Classical Art of Blending Herbal Exracts and Holistic Assessment Treatment Principles and Practice and a final closed book examination.

They have also attended at least one practical weekend workshop.

CLASSICAL HERBAL MEDICINE
The course provides training in classical herbal medicine which uses holistic principles. This means each horse is assessed and treated as an individual and customised herbal remedies which heal the causes of illness, not just treating symptoms, are prescribed and dispensed. Medicinal quality herbal extracts of guaranteed provenance, are used, which are only available to qualified practitioners.

This approach is simple yet effective, with no need for multiple feed supplements & products, which are expensive and very possibly harmful in their combined effect.

HORSE WELFARE
It is very important to consider horse welfare when choosing how to keep horses healthy – there are masses of products, often claiming to be herbal, but actually only have a herb or two randomly added, and have been put together and marketed by people who have no qualifications in equine herbal medicine, which is of great concern.

CURRENT STUDENTS
There are currently 16 students from every State of Australia progressing through the course.

Maddie Shoesmith from South Australia became a VF client a few years back, which inspired her to undertake the course.

“My Dad was so impressed with the savings in our vet bills for our polo ponies because I was able to take informed responsibility for the every day care and feeding of the team.   The natural feeding not only saves money but produces outstanding results in terms of condition, muscle tone, temperament and performance. Herbal and practical first aid encompasses just about everything the horses can and do throw at you! And I am really enjoying learning more all the time.”

A fellow South Australian Debra Milne became a VF client many years back and used the case history of this horse in her assignment on Natural Health Philosophy.   It is reproduced here with permission from Debra (and Weebs!)

Question – Illustrate the topic of natural health philosophy with a case study, one of your own horses could be used.

Answer – Weebs a Standardbred gelding, DOB 10th October 2001.

He came to me needing a home in July 2008 as a Stallion, he had served mares and had sired four foals.

Weebs was gelded late at the age of 7 in November 2008. We had a lot of complications in the healing process. Then in 2010 he developed swelling in both front legs, I called out the Vet and had blood tests done, he was put on Bute. The blood results showed only slight elevations but nothing to pinpoint what was causing the problem. As my riding horse I stopped riding and continued with light exercise, keeping him moving in hope to decrease the fluid. I had the Chiropractor and massage therapist out, with no significant change. After a period of time the swelling decreased but returned regularly over the next 2 years. I tried everything I could think of and had the Vet out several times with no success. In 2012 the swelling was now in all four legs, his sheath and pockets of fluid underneath his belly. Again, more blood tests, with no notable changes, the Vet was a new professional to the case, and he diagnosed Weebs with a compromised Lymphatic system, Lymphangitis. The vet prescribed Predi – granules which was no help at all.

I had exhausted all avenues via Veterinary means and other professionals. Weebs was not only suffering with the swelling, he was very uncomfortable, unable to lie down, depressed, his coat was dry and lifeless and was slowly becoming disinterested in life.

So, I sat back and thought about healing the inside, this led me to contacting Victoria Ferguson in September 2012. Victoria after analysing all the information concluded that his Lymphangitis was caused by his gelding, which finally made sense to me with the problems that Weebs suffered after the operation.

Victoria prescribed an oral herbal prescription for a full blood cycle (12 weeks) to cleanse Weebs’s lymphatic system and boost his immune system.

Victoria also formulated a Natural diet for Weebs. After a short time, Weebs’s swelling started to decrease and within a few months was completely gone. He started to feel a lot better and after time his whole health improved and was even better. A revised diet was made for Weebs for ongoing maintenance and he has been on this diet ever since. Weebs has not had another attack of Lymphangitis, he returned to riding and we have ridden through the Flinders Ranges and attended many horsemanship clinics throughout South Australia and Victoria, Weebs has remained healthy and happy now at 17 years old.

© Victoria Ferguson Dip.Herb.Med   26 March 2019