Higher, faster, stronger — horses that is By Annalise Klingbeil - Equine Health and Welfare

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Higher, faster, stronger — horses that is By Annalise Klingbeil

HCBC Staff
Created: June 23, 2016

“You don’t have to have an Olympic horse to benefit from it. It will help anyone exercise their horse better, or give the proper recovery protocol after an exercise, or give the proper training schedule.” By Annalise Klingbeil , Postmedia

The Calgary Chair in Equine Sports Medicine, which is being established by the U of C’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, was announced Wednesday.

Renaud Léguillette, who is the inaugural research chair, said the position will have a “significant impact” on the equine industry in Alberta.

The chair will be focused on how to train horses for top performance, from show jumpers and race horses to rodeo and draft horses, while avoiding injury.

“The benefit will be for everyone really,” he said.

“You don’t have to have an Olympic horse to benefit from it. It will help anyone exercise their horse better, or give the proper recovery protocol after an exercise, or give the proper training schedule.”

The researcher, who has worked with pull horses, show jumpers, chuckwagon horses, barrel racers and more, described the animals as “incredible athletes.

“In my studies, every time I look at new data, it’s like lots of jaw-dropping moments when we look at these numbers, and unbelievable numbers

“They are really designed to be athletes by nature.”

Léguillette’s research is focused on the athletic capacity of horses, such as lung and cardiac physiology during exercise.

As part of his current study, he uses special equipment to measure the oxygen concentration of horses as they run on a track.

“Basically our goal for that kind of project is to be able to develop some short, easy-to-apply protocols that people can use quickly to assess the fitness of their horse, and also the athletic capacity of the horse,” he said.

The professor, who teaches at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and practises as a UCVM equine internal medicine specialist at Moore Equine in Balzac, believes Calgary is “the best place on Earth” for the equine sports medicine program, given that Alberta has the highest horse population per capita in Canada.

“People are very interested, very supportive, and we have so many horses around here with big events like the Calgary Stampede, Spruce Meadows, that it’s the perfect environment to do this kind of study,” he said.

The new chair position was funded by a $250,000 donation from the Calgary Stampede, donations from community members, and through support from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.
By Annalise Klingbeil , Postmedia

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine’s new equine research chair Dr. Renaud Leguillette, and PhD student Stephanie Bond look at the exercise physiology and performance and respiratory function of race horses. A launch was held at the Spyhill facility Wednesday June 22, 2016. (Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary/ For Postmedia)

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