Have you taken a look at some of the major equine veterinary clinics in the United States this year? They are branching out. Adding imaging centers. Podiatry centers. Performance analysis. Gait analysis. A few years ago the buzz world was alternative therapies...now it's performance technology. The cynics among us will say that the dollar rules, but let's hope that the horse wins in the end.
To that end, Hagyard Davidson McGee, the 130-year-old Lexington, Kentucky equine veterinary service, has changed its name to the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Along with that change came an even bigger one. The Thoroughbred is King at Hagyard, given its location in the heart of the Bluegrass Region, but a side gate to the big pasture has opened and the sport horses are jumping, piaffing, and lunging their way into the practice.
Hagyard's Sport Horse Program is headed by Dr. Duncan Peters and Dr. Jorge Gomez. They will be reaching out to Lexington's burgeoning sport horse scene to offer them the same high-tech services that the Thoroughbreds receive. Clients may choose various levels of interaction with the Hagyard Sport Horse Program. These range from a case-by-case basis to a comprehensive retainer relationship wherein the veterinarian and client form a "partnership" to establish customized programs that reach long-term health and maintenance goals and fully optimize the equine athlete's performance.
This is a clever concept, when you remember that about 1000 sport horses will be coming to Lexington in 2010 (only a few short years away) for the World Equestrian Games. The Thoroughbreds will have to share the spotlight that year and Hagyard is wise to prepare well in advance.
If you were jumping into the sport horse medicine field, where you would begin? By finding a niche, of course, and using it as a toehold to make friends and spread the word. Hagyard is doing just that by sponsoring the two-year-old division of the United States Eventing Association's first-ever Young Event Horse In-Hand Symposium on April 9-10, 2007 in Norwood, North Carolina. Open to yearlings, two-year-olds, and three-year-olds, this pilot program is intended to help breeders and owners of future event horses promote and market their youngstock.
The Symposium will help breeders and trainers learn more about how to present their young stock in the best possible condition and turnout, but also how to present them in-hand and to market them. Eventing's senior statesman, Denny Emerson of Tamarack Hill Farm, will lead the Symposium along with Colorado's Kristi Wysocki and Virginia's Bruce Griffin.
Read a detailed post about the Symposium from the USEA's blog.
Good luck to two new concepts--the USEA's Young Horse Program and Hagyard's Sport Horse Practice. The horse world needs new ideas and new energy and these are two examples of where we can go, when we think we can.