The specialized responsibilities of veterinary care and management of international competition sport horses should see some improvements in the future; a group of international treating, consulting and regulatory veterinarians have formed a new association.
According to its founders, the goal of the fledgling International Sport Horse Veterinarians Association will be to create educational opportunities for treating veterinarians associated with international-level horses and events and to improve communication among these veterinarians in matters relevant to their management of these horses within international regulations.
Sport-horse veterinary specialists from all over the world gathered informally one evening during the convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, held in Las Vegas, Nevada, last week; their agenda: to establish this new association.
I had a chance to speak with the USA's Timothy R. Ober DVM (right), who was credited with running the meeting, when he stopped by my booth in the trade show. He was enthusiastic about the number of US and international veterinarians who had gathered and was optimistic that better communication could improve some of the logistics and questions that treating veterinarians had in the past when preparing horses for international travel and competition. Dr. Ober also said that the organization will work to develop an exchange of information and cooperation with the Veterinary Department of the F?d?ration Equestre Internationale (FEI).
Some of the international veterinarians who specifically mentioned their attendance at the meeting included show-jumping and eventing specialist Julian Willmore of Australia, and Jan-Hein Swagemakers, head veterinarian for the German showjumping team. Both foreign vets were enthusiastic about the new association and its goals.
A complete list of members of the new association is not yet available.
I was struck throughout the week by how many sport-horse specialist veterinarians from so many countries were in attendance at the convention, where a concurrent specialty program was offered by the United States Equestrian Federation. USEF's FEI Veterinarian Course was open to FEI-licensed veterinarians for continuing education credit and to licensed veterinarians interested in becoming FEI vets.
The course was directed by Great Britain's John McEwen MRCVS and the USA's Kent Allen DVM, Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively, of the FEI Veterinary Committee. Special seminars in rules, medications and infectious diseases were dovetailed with specific offerings from the main AAEP program to offer a complete curriculum for veterinarians whose work includes attending to international-level horses or officiating at FEI events. USEF also offered a second course for aspiring horse show veterinarians for USEF events.