DVMs to play key role in 2010 World Equestrian Games - DVM
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DVMs to play key role in 2010 World Equestrian Games
Virginia equine sports vet to organize, direct them at 16-day competition in Kentucky


"It's been an enriching experience," she says. "The world of equestrian sport is small, a close-knit community. I'm lucky to be part of it."

Kohn remembers working at one of the first major equine sports events held at Kentucky Horse Park shortly after it opened – the three-day world championships in eventing – the discipline that is likened to a triathalon for horses, testing them for accuracy, boldness and stamina in dressage, cross-country and show jumping. "It drew about 30,000 people and was a great success," she recalls.

Kohn says it's still a bit early to arrange all the medical protocols for the WEG, but that input from DVMs will be needed early on to help ensure that turf and other surfaces for dressage, cross-country and other disciplines are perfect. "Proper footing for the horses is critical, and that has to be worked on well in advance to be optimal. Vets are involved with that," Kohn says.

One reason Allen believes the Kentucky venue is perfect for the 2010 WEG is that "all the infrastructure is already there for us. We won't need to re-invent the wheel," he says. "We'll probably put up a temporary hospital structure about a year before the games, but it won't have to be too sophisticated – just sufficient for things like suturing minor injuries, treating for exhaustion and the like. For anything more serious, there are the two excellent hospitals just off-site."

The DVMs who will be assembled into a pool over the next three years will be mostly volunteers – from all parts of the country although most probably will come from Kentucky, Allen explains.

Some DVMs will perform medication testing, some are there for treating – strategically placed along the cross-country and marathon courses or at the show rings – and some will serve in a judging capacity. After the grueling, 100-mile endurance event, for instance, veterinarians will choose the horse deemed to be in the best condition from the 10 fastest.

Allen says the 16-day competition will be in two segments – four disciplines during the first eight days, and four in the last eight days. Some vets may work one segment, others both.

"Part of our assignment is just to help make these games a fun, pleasant experience for everyone," Allen says.

"If we do our jobs correctly, most visitors won't even know we (DVMs) were there. Hopefully, they'll just come away with the realization that there were a lot of good, helpful American veterinarians around."


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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