The New Frontiers of Equine Veterinary Practice

When people talk about new frontiers in veterinary medicine very often the issue is advanced technologies or techniques. In this blog new frontiers are taken literally with regards to equine veterinary medicine.

The equestrian community is growing globally, and one of the fastest growing countries in this regard is the People’s Republic of China. As a very fast-growing economic power, China is creating a very wealthy middle class with access to the world through the internet, television and travel. With this growing prosperity is an increased demand for western luxury goods like foreign cars, jewelry and fashion, travel, but also western sports, and more specifically Olympic sports. This includes equestrian sports where the human animal bond is an attraction. In addition, the power of the horse relates to past Chinese Dynasties. Horses in China are popular and while owning or riding horses is difficult in urban environments, it is not impossible, which we can see by the growing numbers of horses and equestrian clubs. The traditional Chinese horses are not suitable for the modern equestrian disciplines (perhaps with the exception of endurance) and therefore more and more sport horses are exported to China for Show Jumping, Dressage and 3 Day Eventing.

In 2011 I was involved in building an equine veterinary clinic in China with a company that owns hundreds of imported horses from all over the world for show, sport and leisure. Their problem was a lack of equestrian infrastructure like proper horse food, hay and shavings, transportation, training, competition and ………. veterinary care. At that time, we could not get veterinary colleges in China convinced of the bright future of equine veterinary medicine, so we had to educate Chinese equine vets by ourselves in our newly built clinic, and abroad in Europe, to engage them in a large and diverse caseload so we could teach new theories and skills.

In 2016 we have held our first Oculus International Equestrian Summit in China bringing together over 200 riders, trainers, owners, veterinarians from different parts of the world to show the importance of our professional veterinary skills in the development of equestrian sports.

This year our equine veterinary clinic has been officially acknowledged by the China Veterinary Health Authority as the first one in mainland China. Also, we have begun initial discussions to help one of the top veterinary colleges in China, Nanjing Agricultural University develop a high level equine veterinary education program.

Oculus Insights is taking new frontiers literally by managing the first official equine veterinary clinic in China, developing a second sport horse clinic in China and assisting a top Chinese Veterinary College in the professional equine education of their students. Combined we are focused on helping our profession improve the wellbeing and performance of horses, wherever they are.

Joop Loomans DVM, PhD, PTV FEI Certified Equine Practitioner

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