Penn Valley, CA - October 20, 2016 – “Right now, less than 25 cents per horse is being spent annually on equine medical research funding in the United States, and that’s a shame when you consider how much our horses mean to us,” said Michael Van Noy, DVM.
“I challenge equine organizations in all disciplines and breeds to add a $1 equine medical research donation to every test, class, course or start in your competitions. You will make a difference and your members will support you.”
Van Noy, founder of Auburn Laboratories, Inc., can say that based on personal experience. He, along with past USEA President Keven Baumgardner and USEA Board of Governors Member Katherine Cooper, helped to initiate the USEA Equine Medical Research Program, of which Cooper is now Chair.
“USEA is in its third year of raising nearly $50,000 annually for equine medical research through a simple $1 per start donation,” Van Noy explained.
“If other organizations – such as the United States Dressage Federation with 30,000 members or the United States Hunter Jumper Association with 40,000 members, for example – donated $1 for every dressage test ridden or course jumped, equine medical research funding could be hundreds of thousands of dollars stronger.”
USEA’s fundraising system is simple: a $1 donation is added to the start fee at each event and at year-end the sum of those $1 fees is donated to select organizations including the Morris Animal Foundation, a global leader in funding scientific studies that advance the health of horses, dogs, cats and wildlife. The USEA Equine Medical Research Committee selects the equine medical research projects to support with their funds, from recommendations made to them by Morris.
In 2015, the USEA had 43,617 starters, meaning USEA members helped raise $43,617 for equine medical research last year, and starter numbers have been steadily rising in the past three years, so it is hoped that this number continues to grow for 2016.
“There’s an incredible need for more equine medical research,” Van Noy contended. “What horse owner hasn’t used sophisticated diagnostic, therapeutic or preventive healthcare options made possible by ongoing equine medical research? And who hasn’t mourned the situations where medical solutions just aren’t available yet? For all that our horses do for us, and for all they mean to us, they deserve the best care we can give them, and the best way to advance equine medical care is through research.”
Sadly, funding for equine medical research is astonishingly small, reported Van Noy. “The funding bar is pretty low at less than 25 cents per horse per year. If every competitor donated a dollar each time they competed, what would that cost over the course of a year? One latte, or two?”
Given the substantial annual spending required to support a horse ($16,000 per year by United States Equestrian Federation’s Equestrian Magazine readers, for example, or 3,200 lattes) there’s reason for hope. Increasing equine medical research funds by donating the cost of a latte or two is clearly within the budget of most horse owners, and USEA has proven that members will support it.
“USEA’s successful fundraising model proves it can be done,” said Van Noy. “Now we need other equine organizations to step up to the challenge: USDF, USHJA, USA Reining and many more. If these organizations would add a $1equine medical research donation to every test, class or course in their competitions, imagine the difference that could make for everyone’s horses.”
For more information on how your organization can accept this challenge and make a difference, contact Michael Van Noy at 530-432-8157 or email [email protected].
On a crisp morning in December of 2016, I dragged my husband to Penn National to look at some horses to hopefully be my next eventing partner. I also had a horse to look at in Maryland at Kate Chadderton's farm. Keep in mind every horse I wanted to look at was a gelding. I did have a couple at Penn National that I really liked and then went to look at the one Kate had. After I rode the gelding at Kate's she asked me how I felt about mares. My response was, "I don't, but bring her out."
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