Vets with Horsepower charity riders treat injured horse while delivering lectures - Veterinary Practice
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Vets with Horsepower charity riders treat injured horse while delivering lectures

When a seriously injured horse required emergency surgery following a motorway accident in Sweden, the Vets with Horsepower team were in the right place, at the right time – and sprang into action.

It was feared the horse would lose its life after suffering two serious lacerations in the accident and would not make the six-hour journey to Oslo for medical attention.

The team was able to perform urgent surgery at Böden, Sweden where they had travelled to deliver CPD lectures, and while taking part in a charity motorbike ride from the UK to the Arctic Circle.

“The horse was admitted as an emergency with life-threatening haemorrhages. Fortunately, the team had surgeons and anaesthetists who could operate immediately and save the animal’s life,” said Vets with Horsepower motorbike rider, Jessica Kidd.

“Well done to the whole team who kept the lectures going while some were dealing with the emergency. It was fantastic to work together to perform the surgery – such wonderful team spirit and the best result for the horse and its owner.”

Eight bikers left the UK on 15 June 2018 with GPS navigators set for Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Germany, where they delivered five days of lectures and wet labs to vets interested in equine health.

While their fundraising target was £60,000, the adventure has so far raised over £75,000.

A Norbrook contingent travelled as support crew, with 3,800 miles covered in 14 days.

“What an amazing trip. We had so much help to make it happen from riders, sponsors, delegates, friends and well-wishers: getting together for the greater good” said organiser and vet, Derek Knottenbelt.

“Thank you to Norbrook for the extraordinary support – all the way to the Arctic Circle and back!”

The Vets with Horsepower team raised more than £75,000 for charity

As well as the usual challenges of extreme heat or constant rain, the team faced particularly dangerous traffic in Germany, with little respect shown for motorbike riders.

“Other drivers got very close to the bikes – so we had to use the support truck to protect the riders,” Derek said.

Another challenge came very early on when one of the team members had his tank bag and passport stolen on the first day during a stop at services on the way to the Dover ferry. Despite being forced to return home, he was able to re-join the team a week later in Hamburg, Germany, complete with a new passport.

Despite these setbacks there were plenty of highlights, including the audience in Norway who turned out to be staunch supporters of the Vets with Horsepower initiative.

“We were struck by the sense of vibrancy at the start of the lectures,” said Derek. “There was a real sense of anticipation for a good day ahead. And after the lectures were delivered, the audience wanted more.”

The altruistic and philanthropic enthusiasm of the Scandinavians, particularly the Norwegians, is hard to beat, with Skara and Tjome the best venues for delegate participation, raising £24,000 and £23,000 respectively.

Funds raised during the ride will be shared between three charities – conservation organisation Saving the Survivors, The Interstate School of Veterinary Science and Medicine of Dakar, which trains vets across West Africa, and the children’s charity SmileTrain.

Lizzie Barnard, Norbrook Equine Product Manager, said: “Vets around the world have benefited from the knowledge and expertise of the Vets with Horsepower team, while these amazing charities will receive much-needed funds. It’s a win-win for everyone, and Norbrook had a wonderful time as support for the crew.”

You can still donate to the cause and view the full lecture notes and proceedings, which are available on a Norbrook/VWHP USB stick for a donation of £45. Please contact Norbrook for more details.

Vets with Horsepower members Anna-Karin Sandberg and Derek Knottenbelt receive a cheque in Skara, Sweden, following a CPD lecture

Jennifer Parker

Senior Editor at Veterinary Practice

Jennifer Parker, BSc, PgDip, MSc, is a science writer and editor. She studied zoology, endangered species re-covery and palaeoanthropology in the UK. Jennifer was Senior Editor of Veterinary Practice magazine for almost three years; she left the publication in October 2019 to move abroad and pursue a freelance writing career.

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