New equine sports performance complex to open in April 2014

Lameness Arena

Rendering of new equine lameness arena, which should be completed in April 2014. (Photo courtesy of UF Large Animal Hospital)

The UF Large Animal Hospital will soon boast a new equine sports performance complex, providing the opportunity for faculty veterinarians to better examine and diagnose horses with lameness and other performance issues.

“Students will also benefit by being able to learn more about the various types of performance horses we routinely see, observing them performing their discipline, and better relating their common problems,” said Dr. Alison Morton, director of the Lameness and Imaging Service and an associate professor of large animal surgery. “This arena will support the increasing number of equine patients seen by the Lameness and Imaging Service. In addition, we are excited to be able to offer this new venue for performance horses that arrive at UF with issues that are often difficult to identify without direct observation of them under saddle.”

Construction of the complex, which will be located just west of the equine hospital barns, is currently underway and should be completed in April 2014.

The University of Florida Equine Sports Performance Complex will:

• Provide a better environment for equine athletes and their riders. Horses are often more comfortable, better behaved and therefore safer when they are in a familiar environment, such as a riding arena, that has a contained fence line and sure footing.

• Allow accurate diagnosis of performance issues that may only be observed under saddle (when there is a rider on the horse) or other types of tack such as harness and cart. This can help with subtle lameness problems, problems related to bridle and bit, problems with upper or lower airway function, diagnosis of saddle fit problems, or other issues.

• Provide two surfaces for gait analysis. Some types of lameness may be more prevalent on hard ground, others on soft ground.

• The arena will be large enough to allow most disciplines to be performed for example show jumping, dressage, western sports, driving and others.

• Enable horse owners and veterinarians to observe the examination in a safe and comfortable environment.

• Provide a dedicated area for examinations that is free from interference or interruption from other hospital activities or poor weather conditions.

• Provide an area for rehabilitative exercise therapy for patients undergoing treatment.



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