Racehorse Lameness Prevention Kicks off Winter Online Learning Series!

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Standardbred Canada (SC) is partnering with Equine Guelph, Ontario Racing and COSA to offer three online courses in Winter of 2023 in priority healthcare areas of lameness, respiratory and gut health. Sponsored by SC, the Racehorse Injury/Lameness Prevention & Care course will be first off the gate in January of 2023.

Close-up of two horses on harness racing competition running aligned. Long stride and so-called “flying trot” enable them speeds up to 50 kilometers per hour.

The two-week online short course, developed specifically for the horse racing industry, will be offered from January 23 – February 3, 2023 and available FREE (value of $95) to the first 100 Standardbred Canada and/or AGCO licence holders who enroll.

Secretariat captured on one leg
Secretariat captured on one leg

Last year’s 2022 offering of the Racehorse Injury/Lameness Prevention & Care course quickly filled to capacity and received glowing reviews from the students.

“This was by far the best short course I have taken. I registered for the course along with my employees who all felt it was exceptional. Everyone learned and retained a lot of knowledge from this course.”

“I really enjoyed the course. I learned a lot and feel I have a good introduction to lameness. I am looking at horses differently when they move.”

Response was also very positive for practical tips gained from the video presentations with expert veterinarians and researchers such as Dr. Jeff Thomason. 

Course participants learn how to notice the small, subtle changes which signify there is something going on before they become a large, noticeable lameness, at which point irreparable damage could have already occurred.  They also learn about bone remodelling during early training, key signs of lameness to look out for and when to take a break from training.

Dr. Melissa McKee
Dr. Melissa McKee, Instructor, Racehorse Injury/Lameness Prevention & Care course

Dr. Melissa McKee will act as course instructor and Dr. Orlaith Cleary will be on-hand in week two as guest expert.

Dr. Melissa McKee grew up in the local horse industry. After graduating, she worked in New Jersey at a large equine referral hospital that provided surgical care, lameness, medicine, emergency, and ambulatory practice, followed by a year in equine practice in Alberta before returning to Ontario as a founding partner of McKee-Pownall Equine Services. She is certified in Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy through the COAC. Melissa has served on the American Association of Equine Practitioners Scholarship, Racing, Education, and Ethics committees, and is an Equine representative for the Ontario Animal Health Network.  Dr. McKee’s professional interests include lameness, diagnostic imaging, MRI, VSMT, and racehorse/sports medicine practice.

McKee will be joined by guest expert, Dr. Orlaith Cleary who graduated with a veterinary degree from University College Dublin, Ireland in June 2003. Cleary joined the Ontario Equine Hospital team in April 2019. Dr. Cleary’s special interests are in advanced imaging (MRI, CT, scintigraphy), as well as all aspects of soft tissue and orthopedic surgery.

McKee and Cleary will be discussing common lameness issues and recent research updates for racehorses as well as early detection and prevention.  You will also learn about the horse’s musculoskeletal system, how they move, best practices for detecting lameness, assessment tools, management of a lame horse and the latest research.

McKee and Cleary will also be joined by Industry Ambassadors, Ruleen Lilley and Renée Kierans, who will be on-hand as peer helpers to assist students and ask questions on hot topics.

In the 2017 Ontario Horse Racing Industry Survey conducted by Equine Guelph, ‘injuries/lameness’ was ranked the number two health issue of concern after respiratory issues.

“We are thrilled to once again offer these valuable short courses on the hot topics of lameness prevention, respiratory health and gut health to the racing industry,” says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. “Many thanks to our partners Standardbred Canada, Ontario Racing and Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) for sponsoring this free series for essential horse healthcare to provide educational opportunities and research updates for their members.”

Ontario Trainers, Grooms, Owners – Sign up now for the free Racehorse Injury/Lameness Prevention & Care starting January 23. Help your racehorses reach their full potential. For those who have never taken an online course before, no prior online learning experience is required. Limited registrations available.  Be sure to hold the dates and register now for these two-week racing-exclusive online courses! 

Racehorse Injury/Lameness Prevention & Care:  January 23 – February 3, 2023 
Racehorse Gut Health & Ulcer/Colic Prevention:  February 27 – March 10 
Racehorse Respiratory Health:  March 20-31, 2023