Helping Horses Worldwide

As a responsible horse owner, you make management decisions that affect the current well-being of your horse and his future vitality.
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As a responsible horse owner, you make management decisions that affect the current well-being of your horse and his future vitality. You order low-dust bedding for your gelding with heaves. Your veterinarian arrives for her scheduled visit and you observe as she administers your mare’s autumn vaccinations. You keep the new pony that shipped in yesterday in his own separate paddock so you can watch for any signs of illness before introducing him to the rest of your herd. While these decisions to better care for your horse might seem commonsense and perhaps mundane, they are the result of management recommendations that have emerged from decades of research from institutions all over the world. The Animal Health Trust (AHT) in Newmarket, England, is a major player in the equine research field and its scientists’ endeavors touch our horses’ lives daily–from pioneering passive transfer of serum to protect against equine influenza to helping you determine the best way to bring equine athletes back from devastating performance injuries.

The equine scientists and clinicians at this 63-year-old, highly respected charitable organization work on a canvas that is more than just the few research herds that are on the Trust’s grounds, which are based at the center of Britain’s hotbed for Thoroughbred racing. The Trust’s research subjects also include hundreds of equine patients from the whole of Europe each year, and thousands of horses across the globe from which disease information is collated annually. Some of the scientists work in the Centre for Equine Studies, which was officially launched in 1997 (equine research was in full swing beginning in the early 1940s, but the group was based in downtown Newmarket until its current purpose-designed facility was opened), while others work just across the driveway in the Centre for Preventive Medicine. Top canine and feline researchers also work at this facility. The Horse spent a few days shadowing clinicians and researchers on the equine side to find out what some of the Trust’s greatest accomplishments have been, and get a glimpse of what breakthroughs might be around the corner.

The Clinical Side: Children’s Show Ponies to Olympic Mounts

Perhaps the side of the AHT’s Centre for Equine Studies that’s most visible to owners is the diagnosis and treatment of clinical cases. “Horses come from all over the country and continent of Europe,” says Sue Dyson, VetMB, PhD, FRCVS, head of Clinical Orthopaedics. “With respect to the clinical work, about 90% is orthopedic or performance-related and the rest is cardiac and respiratory problems. The complexity of the cases varies hugely.”

There are two large, well-known referral practices in Newmarket that handle a regular client base and emergencies, whereas the Trust is more of a specialty clinic

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Written by:

Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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