Pro Features

Vets rearing for service at Horse of the Year

When you have up to 2000 horses competing at Land Rover Horse of the Year you can expect the onsite vets are going to be pretty busy!

Vet Services Hawke’s Bay equine vet Richard McKenzie says that’s certainly the case for their team of veterinarians and support team.

“You can say we’re pretty tired by the end of the week, for sure.”

Richard says the early part of the week is about treating horses that have travelled, some a long distance, they may have either picked up a ‘travel injury’ or illness such as colic.

“It’s pretty hectic at the beginning of the week as you have a large number of horses arriving within a few days and some have travelled from the far north, the South Island or from overseas and they may have a cut, abrasion or illness during their travel.

“They need to be assessed and with the horses required to be drug-free to compete, it can be a big disappointment for the owner and competitor if we have to treat their horse with drugs. The event is the climax of their season, some of the horses are worth a lot of money, so it can be an emotional time if they then can’t compete.

Richard says after the arrivals period, it gets a bit quieter in the middle of the week before getting busier again as the event finals start to commence.

“We’re usually treating a few niggly injuries during the week and then there’s a bit of pressure and emotion as the competitions head towards the final rounds.”

As well as a base tent, the Vet Services team of 4-5 vets and nurses use their vehicles across the large event site. Technology is also important for quick diagnosis and the team is armed with a mobile digital radiology unit, an ultrasound unit and an endoscopy unit.

“It’s rare, but there can be some serious injuries over the week and we might have to refer surgical treatment to vet hospitals at Massey University and Waikato

Other work over the week includes pre- purchase checks, as horses are bought and sold.

Another big spinoff for Vet Services of being involved with HOY is getting to see some of their clients horses compete and win or place as well as catching up with other clients that are attending as spectators.

“It’s rewarding to see some of our clients perform well and it is always great to catch up with our local clients who are watching the events.

“Having a strong visual brand presence also helps reinforce that we’re very active in the equine vet services area too.