VET’S DIARY: Waiting game for the international trials

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Our local Burgham Horse Trials was awarded international recognition for their second event of 2014, on July 25 and 26, at Burgham Park, near Longhorsley, writes Lesley Barwise-Munro.

So the next thing I know is that they need a fully qualified Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) official vet to oversee the event and ‘how’s about it Lesley?’ Thank you, organiserMartyn Johnson.

The online exam was already completed for the Olympics at Greenwich Park, so I was one step down the line. The official training course was at Hartpury in the spring, not too arduous, followed by three FEI-mentored events, and what better than having to go to Badminton, Floors and Bramham Horse Trials?

The time at these events was spent shadowing the FEI delegate vet and finding out what the role of the veterinary delegate involved at the different levels of FEI events.

The role includes horse inspection on arrival for general health and biosecurity protection of all competing horses, checking for nasal discharge, a rise in body temperature, skin infections such as ringworm and also any injuries from travel that might compromise the horses’ ability to compete. Passport and microchip checks are also carried out to ensure the correct identification of each horse and to make sure that horses are correctly vaccinated under FEI regulations.

At three-day events there are two horse inspections/trot-ups. The first is before any of the three disciplines, dressage, cross country and show jumping have started, this is to ensure soundness to compete. The second trot-up is the morning after cross country to ensure no compromise of horse welfare by show jumping as the final phase. All horses have to be closely monitored at the end of the cross country, making sure that they are cooled down and walking freely with no injuries.

Each part of the FEI veterinary delegate’s job is to ensure that the horses’ welfare before, during and after competing is looked after. Random drugs testing is also carried out on horses by the FEI vets to ensure clean sport and again to protect the horses’ welfare. FEI vets work closely with and refer back to the governing group at the event, referred to as the ground jury. Teamwork, as with all event organisation, is essential.

Having now completed all my training, I am waiting apprehensively to hear if my application for the qualification is firstly accepted and secondly comes through in time for Burgham International.

The timescale has been tight with just three weeks to the event. We hope you will come and support it. As well as the Alnorthumbria equine team being involved with the FEI event, we are also proud to be supporting the horse trials by providing cross country vets and sponsoring a British eventing class. We wish the organising team all the best for a great weekend.