English champion rider Gillian Higgins has devised a novel way to teach horse anatomy to veterinary students, riders and caretakers – she takes up to four hours to paint the animal’s skeletal and muscular systems on live horses, using water-based hypoallergenic paints.
Horse anatomy is pretty tricky, considering students have to understand how the 205 bones and 700 muscles in its body make this beautiful animal work like a well-oiled machine. But instead of boring them with sketches and complicated diagrams, Gillian Higgins uses her artistic skills to paint the anatomical systems on actual horses. “Painting the skeleton and musculature on the side of the horse really helps to bring the subject to life, she told the Daily Mail. “You can discover how to get the best out of your horse by seeing exactly what happens as it moves.” The English horse-ring champion and sports remedial therapist got the idea for “Horses Inside Out” back in 2006 after completing a degree in equine business management. She understood why many riders and trainers were struggling to learn all those bones and muscles with incredibly long names, and started thinking about a way to better make them understand how the horse works.
Gillian started applying paint on her horses gradually, but as her courses gained popularity, she started painting the whole skeletal and muscular systems, one on each side of the horse. She uses uses water-based hypoallergenic paints which are easy to wash off after a lecture, and spends around four hours painting every anatomical detail. Sometimes a rider dressed in a skeleton body suit also reveals the interaction between humans and horses. The 30-year-old’s lectures have become really popular in the equine world, and feedback has been very positive. “Gillian Higgins has taken a simple and inspired idea and executed it exceptionally. Her Inside Out presentations have increased awareness on how we can reduce injury and improve performance and condition, and she’s also helped educate the public on the importance of good digestion” said Jonathan Nelson, Director at Equine Premium.
Photos via Horses Inside Out on Facebook