Equitarians to be in the Limelight at the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ Annual Convention, December 6-9, 2015 in Las Vegas

Equitarian Initiative has organized a terrific line-up of presentations highlighting the growing and successful efforts to improve working equid health. The half day program will feature veterinarians that are leading programs and training in countries in Latin America and Africa. British veterinarian Derek Knottenbelt, will lead off the session. He is renowned for his expertise in many areas of equine medicine, and a fiercely strong advocate for veterinary leadership in working equid welfare. An inspiration to many Equitarians, he is an impressive teacher who will undoubtedly convince the audience to become more involved. Coming from Morocco, Gigi Kay will describe the unique work of the American Fondouk, the first and biggest hospital for working equids, and a major training center for veterinary students from abroad. Mariano Hernandez Gil from Mexico will share the impact of mandatory social service for veterinary students who chose to dedicate their 6 months of service to working equids. The session includes five U.S. based veterinarians who will share their expertise and experience in multiple aspects of Equitarian work: The strong link between equine health and human health in developing countries and the evidence of the critical role working equids play in the welfare of very poor women (Jennie Lane); the evolution of the first American Equitarian project in the Dominican Republic and its impact (Jay Merriam); sustainable health services for working equids on American Indian Reservations (Eric Davis); the value of partnerships with other non-profits and local veterinary colleges (Julie Wilson); and how telemedicine consultations are helping Tufts clinicians solve difficult cases from afar while exposing them to a much wider variety of equine diseases (Melissa Mazan).  Practice tips for Equitarians will follow, with great information that may also have application in regular practice. Essentials of planning a project and getting through customs will be tackled by Dave Turoff. Tracy Turner will present the new, inexpensive, easy to use, castration tool that has become the favorite of all of the Equitarian veterinarians that have used it. The challenges of critical hoof care without conventional tools and shoes will be covered by Steve O’Grady. After a year of helping working equids in Nicaragua, Sara Gomez Ibanez will present the methods and results of her investigation into the multiple causes of poor body condition there. Creative fundraising for her project for working horses in Haiti will be shared by Wisconsin practitioner Judy Batker. To top off these great learning opportunities, Equitarian Initiative and the American Fondouk will have booths in the convention’s trade show, where attendees can come learn how to become involved in this effort where so many veterinarians are needed. Please join us in Las Vegas!


Let Neil Gray (neil@ngraydvm.com) or Judy Batker (jbatker@frontier.com) know what hours you are able to help us at the booth. We are planning to close the booth during the afternoon sessions on Tuesday 12/8 so all can attend the Equitarian talks.

2015 AAEP Equitarian Booth Schedule


AAEP Annual Convention

Full Bucket

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