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Tue, 2012-09-18 12:04

Top Eventer Knows the Value of Good Equine Health Care

Authored By: Merial
Allison Springer celebrates her second place finish at the 2012 Rolex Kentucky CCI4*. Leslie Threlkeld/USEA Photo.

Mention the words “Team Arthur” to any equine enthusiast remotely familiar with eventing and they’ll immediately know what you’re talking about. “Arthur,” with his handsome looks and striking presence, has been a crowd favorite since 2007 when the 17-hand Irish Thoroughbred gelding made his debut on the national stage.

Owner and veteran four-star event rider Allison Springer, Upperville, Va., is the other half of this dynamic duo, and their story is one of tenacity, talent, commitment and a special partnership. Springer began riding at the age of six when her father offered her a bribe to quit sucking her thumb. That bribe – a pony! Little did he know the bribe would not only end a bad habit, but also open the door to what would become his daughter’s lifelong passion and vocation.

In the 30 years since, Springer’s riding career has flourished, and today she is considered among the elite in the three-day eventing world. Her accomplishments include being named to the United States Equestrian Team’s Training List in multiple years, beginning in 2008. In 2011, they won the CIC3* division at Red Hills, took second at Pine Top in the Advanced Division and placed in the Top Five at the American Eventing Championships.

In 2012, Springer and Arthur had the highest finish by an American horse and rider combination at the prestigious Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. The two were recently selected as alternates for the 2012 U.S. Equestrian Team that competed at the Games of the XXX Olympiad in London.

Besides the hours of training and conditioning, Springer incorporates proactive equine health care into her formula for success. “Arthur’s overall health is critical for him to perform at the level it takes to be competitive on the world stage,” says Springer. “He’s a very sweet horse, but tends to be very nervous and high energy. And although he is a good shipper, he does seem to be very affected by the changes and stresses of travel and competition.”

A common result of the stress experienced by any horse is the development of equine stomach ulcers,1 and Arthur is no exception.“Years ago, Arthur was just not 100 percent. He was acting a little grumpy, less responsive and less exuberant about his work. Since by nature he is a very sweet horse, it was very obvious to me he wasn’t feeling well,” says Springer.

Suspecting ulcers as the culprit, Springer had a gastroscopy examination performed by her veterinarian at which time her suspicions were confirmed. Arthur was put on a 28-day course of GASTROGARD®(omeprazole), the only FDA-approved product for the treatment of equine stomach ulcers.2 Following his treatment, Springer began using ULCERGARD®(omeprazole) when Arthur was in potentially stressful situations and could possibly redevelop the ulcers. ULCERGARD is the only FDA-approved product for the prevention of equine stomach ulcers.1

“Being proactive and staying ahead of the game as far as any potential setbacks is a key part of being successful in this sport,” she says. “For Arthur, I know that keeping his digestive health in top shape keeps him comfortable, happy and at the top of his game.”

April Knudson, DVM, equine specialist for Merial’s large Animal Veterinary Services, says horses that compete internationally aren’t the only ones to develop equine stomach ulcers. “The prevalence of ulcers in all horses is well-documented,” she says. “Ulcers have been found in two out of three nonracing competitive horses3 and at scoping events Merial has hosted around the country. Those horses have ranged from trail riding horses to pleasure horses to those that compete in working western divisions.”4Ulcers have even been discovered in broodmares in pastures5 and in foals.6

For more information about equine stomach ulcers, how they form and how ULCERGARD can help prevent them, visit

For the latest news about Allison Springer and Arthur, visit

About Merial

Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. Merial employs approximately 5,600 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2011 sales were more than $2.8 billion. Merial is a Sanofi company.

For more information, please see

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: CAUTION: Safety of GASTROGARD in pregnant or lactating mares has not been determined. ULCERGARD can be used in horses that weigh at least 600 pounds. Safety in pregnant mares has not been determined.

 ®ULCERGARD and GASTROGARD are registered trademarks of Merial Limited. ©2012 Merial Limited, Duluth, GA. All rights reserved. EQUIUGD1240 (08/12)

1ULCERGARD product label.

2GASTROGARD product label.

3Mitchell RD. Prevalence of gastric ulcers in hunter/jumper and dressage horses evaluated for poor performance. Association for Equine Sports Medicine, September 2001.

4Data on file at Merial.

5LeJeune SS, Nieto JE, Dechant JE, Snyder JR. Prevalence of gastric ulcers in thoroughbred mares in pasture. AAEP Proceedings. 2006;(52):264.

6Murray MJ, Hart J, Parker GA. Equine gastric ulcer syndrome: endoscopic survey of asymptomatic foals. AAEP Proceedings. 1987;33:769-776.


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