DVMs ready for World Equestrian Games

DVMs ready for World Equestrian Games

Looking after more than 900 horses from 60 countries poses challenges for veterinarians
Feb 01, 2010

A multicultural event: Equine veterinarians are gearing up to care for horses from all over the globe that will be participating in the 2010 World Equestrian Games, being held for the first time in the United States.
National Report — The World Equestrian Games is a monumental event. For many of the riders, the games mark the pinnacle of their sport.

But the 2010 games has taken on an even greater significance. For the first time in the spectacle's nearly 30-year history, the games will leave the comfortable confines of Europe and come stateside, where equestrian sports typically struggle to find a wide audience. In September, Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., will play host to what will be the year's largest international sporting event in the United States.

And the inclusion of a new event — Para Dressage — might make this the largest version of the games to date. Although the exact number won't be finalized until summer, about 900 horses from up to 60 different countries could participate, a substantial increase from the 850 competing in 2006.

"Essentially, it's the biggest airlift of horses since World War II," says Kent Allen, DVM, who is coordinating the veterinary activities for the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

Accordingly, the event will receive more oversight by veterinary medicine than has ever been provided at any previous equestrian event. Allen and his team of veterinarians must guarantee that the hundreds of horses remain in good condition from the moment they arrive in the United States to the moment they leave.

Even though international horses will be checked for disease before they even depart for the states, they will have to go through an additional quarantine upon arrival in the United States. Most of the horses will arrive at the Cincinnati airport, where a temporary quarantine facility will be set up. The rest will enter the country at permanent import quarantine centers in New York, Miami and Los Angeles.