Oct. 6, 2022

Symposium brings world experts in equine athletes to Calgary

UCalgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine gives researchers a chance to share their findings and network
Calgary International Equine Symposium 2022
Presentation winners, keynote speakers, and members of UCVM. Adrian Shellard

The fourth Calgary International Equine Symposium brought together students, professors and researchers from all over the world to share their findings on equine health. 

This year’s symposium, held Sept. 8 and 9 at UCalgary’s Spyhill campus, focused on the equine athlete. The event was hosted by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM) and sponsored by Spruce Meadows and the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking.

The Equine Symposium serves as a platform for equine specialists — and those soon-to-be specialists — to network, connect and discuss new research. The goal of the symposium is to inspire and connect equine-focused veterinarians, students and researchers. The symposium allows students to learn more about their potential careers and all attendees to gain insight from their world-renowned peers. With a total of 15 presentations, there was plenty to talk about and take in.

The symposium’s presentations were divided into two categories, podium and poster. The podium presentation gave professors and doctorate-holders the opportunity to deliver in-depth presentations on their research. The poster presentation was less formal and undertaken by master’s and doctorate students. Podium presenters had a chance to win $10,000 for their research, while poster presenters were eligible to win $1,000.

This year’s grand-prize winner for podium was Dr. Michelle Tucker, DVM, PhD, an assistant professor in Perdue University’s Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences. Tucker’s research focused on computational fluid dynamic analysis of the upper airway procedures in equine larynges. 

The winners from the poster category were Anam Hamza, a student at Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island, and Toni-Anne Saworski, a student at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan.

horse jumping

Spruce Meadows Masters tournament 2022.

Adrian Shellard

The symposium also featured two keynote speakers. One was Dr. Susan Stover, DVM, PhD, director of the JD Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory at the University of California at Davis. Stover has more than 200 research publications under her belt and is credited with the discovery and detection of lesions that predispose racehorses to catastrophic injuries.

The second keynote was Dr. John E.A. Bertram, PhD, a professor in UCalgary’s Cumming School of Medicine and adjunct professor of veterinary medicine at UCVM, who also serves as the director of the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program. Both speakers gave their own presentations on equine health. 

The symposium demonstrated there is “incredible research being done across the world to better understand and treat horses,” says Dr. Thilo Pfau, PhD, a professor in both the Faculty of Kinesiology and UCVM, adding that hosting the event is another step along the (bridle) path to UCalgary ultimately establishing an Equine Performance Centre.

“The centre will lead the way in evidence-based horse-performance research and will foster multidisciplinary efforts unlike any others in the world, allowing training of the next generation of researchers, educating the public and ensuring horses can perform at the highest level with minimal risk to their health and well-being,” he says.

The two-day event ended with an award ceremony and social evening ringside at the prestigious Spruce Meadows Masters Tournament. 

Learn more about the Calgary International Equine Symposium and sponsorship information for next year’s symposium.