Horselovers increasingly are looking for knowledge that ‘takes that one step beyond the usual’. They study the optimal management of their horse more in depth, and have become increasingly critical before accepting the expert’s opinion. That is a positive development, but such a critical opinion requires a thorough expertise. Only then you can judge a situation correctly and ask the right questions.
Being a horselover myself, I also am constantly looking for new knowledge, so that I can be a good discussion partner for the experts that I involve with my horse. But how do you find that knowledge? There is so much available out there that we often ‘fail to see the forrest for the trees’. Because what is true? When do we read (sometimes very convincing, but not always correct) opinions and when is the information we read based on facts?
My name is Liesbeth van der Waaij. I have studied Animal Sciences at Wageningen University, the Netherlands, with a master in animal breeding and genetics. Horses were no standard part of the study, but I was allowed to take a 6 months internship at the Swedish Agricultural University in Uppsala, Sweden, in collaboration with the Swedish Warmblood Association. Very interesting and a lot of fun, but it was clear that, due to the absence of job opportunities, there would be no career in horse science for me. Instead, after graduation I went to New Zealand and worked as research assistant for a year. There I got infected with the ‘science bug’, and on my return to the Netherlands, I got the opportunity to do a PhD project on the heritability of trypanosomosis in African cattle, for which I obtained my PhD in the summer of 2001. Since then, I have worked mainly as assistant professor at the universities of Wageningen and Utrecht, the Netherlands. I am also the proud owner of a purebred Arabian gelding, who I love to spend my spare time with.
I notice that I am not the only one who struggles seeking information, and subsequently judging its quality, on the assorted horse-related subjects. That is why in the summer of 2016 I have decided to start facilitating this quest. I can combine my love for science and for developing material for the delegation of knowledge, with that of horses. This has resulted in “The Horse In Depth’, a company that offers more in depth knowledge on horse related subjects in the form of e-learning modules. The name of the company is in English, even though I am Dutch, because the aim is to offer the material both in Dutch and in English.
The aim of ‘The Horse In Depth’ is to present knowledge that is accessible and interesting for many horse lovers, but that offers sufficient challenge for those who are seeking that bit extra. You can access that knowledge from your own computer and study it in your own time. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.