Private collection

A horse in the Bourgelat travail around 1900

The Bourgelat travail, which is still kept at the Veterinary School of Alfort, was a travail used for both farrier work and for exact and painful surgeries, such as cataracts, pterygium excision (an inflammation of the eye) or the removal of bladder stones. Created in 1770, its side planks could hold a cinch supporting the horse. The horse was outfitted with a hood inhibiting its vision, its limbs were shackled to the poles creating the four corners and a halter firmly supported its head while its tail was tied to one of the crossbeams. Trapped in the restraining cage, animals endured terrible suffering and some collapsed under the scalpel while others tried to escape through the top. Paramount was the safety of the operator, who had to act quickly while the supports held the animal or caused it small pains to divert its attention.