Healthy Horses Conference, virtual this year, draws record number of attendees

HHC ImageThe UF College of Veterinary Medicine’s 13th annual Healthy Horses Conference, held virtually this year, was a huge success, drawing 500 registrants — more participants than ever before — and great reviews.

“Every single talk received at least one shout-out as a participant favorite in our post-conference survey,” said the conference’s coordinator, Dr. Sally DeNotta, an assistant professor of large animal medicine and the college’s equine extension veterinarian.

“Overall, we reached far more participants than ever before, with a 500% increase in attendees, and were able to offer the educational program at absolutely no cost,” she said.

The program is designed to improve owner education and provide updates on important aspects of equine health care. Content is provided by veterinary faculty and subject matter experts from the college’s department of large animal clinical sciences and the UF-IFAS department of animal sciences.

“In response to COVID-19, this year’s conference was redesigned and presented in a virtual format, hosted on UF’s Mediasite platform,” DeNotta said.

Industry sponsorship and the cost savings associated with the virtual format enabled the conference to be offered to participants at no cost for the first time ever.

Eleven 15-20-minute lectures covering a broad range of equine health topics in a three-part format. Opening remarks were given by DeNotta, the conference coordinator, and Dr. Chris Sanchez, the college’s interim associate dean for clinical affairs.

The conference concluded with a message from Phillip Buchyn of the college’s development team highlighting donor opportunities. In total, the conference provided nearly four hours of educational content and was viewed a total of 549 times.

“The availability of virtual participation, as well as an absence of typical conference fees, resulted in an unprecedented geographical representation,” DeNotta said. “For the first time ever, the conference reached an international audience, with participants from Central and South America, Europe and the UK.”

The conference was well received, with overwhelmingly positive reviews from participants, she said.

“Overall, participants found the content to be well-organized, easily accessible and applicable to their needs as horse owners,” DeNotta said.

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