Gunnedah equine dentist Ian Wharton is one of the trainers in first-of-its kind qualification that has started this week in Tamworth.
The certificate IV in equine dentistry is the most updated course available in Australia, and – as a longtime and sought-after practitioner – Mr Wharton is there to provide “hands-on, in-the-mouth” training.
With 120 mandatory workplace hours, up to the latest codes of practice and quality-assured by Australian Skills Quality Authority, the qualification supersedes others and is internationally recognised – and is available right here in our region.
Students came from as far away as Western Australia and Far North Queensland for an 18-day residential with local and far-flung trainers who have worked nationally and internationally.
They started on Monday in the training rooms at AELEC, looking at the teeth and jaws of horse skulls that lined the bench and sat in front of each student.
Joblink Plus is the registered training organisation, and training executive manager Samantha Crebert said: “I never thought I’d be issuing purchase orders for horse heads.”
Mr Wharton said the importance of good equine dental health couldn’t be overstated.
“It is a very rewarding career to take the pain out of a horse’s mouth,” he said.
“The way a horse’s dentition is set up in our domesticated environment, they get sharp edges, they get dominant teeth, and it locks up the whole function of the jaw …
“They can’t turn properly, they’re throwing their head and resisting the bit [and their handlers] think it can be chiropractic.
“But if you can fix the way the lower jaw works in relation to the skull, as it should in their natural environment, then all that chiropractic stuff is taken care of. It’s amazing.”