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Princess Haya inaugurates 2011 WEVA Conference

By: Sanjay Reddy   November 2 , 2011

Her Royal Highness Princess Haya of Dubai, in her capacity as President of FEI, the world governing body of equestrian sport, inaugurated the 2011 World Equine Veterinary Association (WEVA) conference at Hyderabad this morning.

The WEVA conference brings together the leading equine veterinarians and researchers on a single platform where advances and new technologies in treatments, reproduction, disease prevention and nutrition are discussed and highlighted. This is the first time that this conference, the twelfth held so far, has been hosted in India.

In her inaugural address Princess Haya spoke of the “explosion in equestrian sport as people discover that ‘extraordinary something` that is the partnership with the horse in competition.” She further added “It is really a discovery of an old and deep partnership. A partnership that as the world develops faster and faster, reminds us of the importance of staying close to nature – to respect it – and to be its protector. And as the next generation faces the reality of climate change and dwindling resources - then there is very much to be learnt from the harmony with nature that the horse constantly teaches us.”

It is 250 years since the French government set up a veterinary school at Lyon headed by a famous horseman Claude Bourgelat. Princess Haya touched upon the efforts made by equine vets to raise the level of care of horses and expressed faith that as knowledge continued to emerge vets would always adopt new technologies to improve the conditions of horses.

She noted that owners and riders had immense trust in vets and that this trust had to be earned and respected. “Vets have an enormous responsibility to protect the horse which is the fulcrum of an expanding and extraordinarily valuable equine industry that provides millions of jobs” she said further adding that “we need vets to work with and within governments to ensure that the welfare of the horse is not subservient to commercial pressures but is protected in a practical manner.”

Pointing to the growth of the East she said “the East has come of age and it is finding its way in all areas, no longer looking west for innovation or guidance. We are seeing that happen within equestrian sport as well. As that continues, then equestrian sport in the East may well have a different cultural look or popularity of certain disciplines.”

She stressed that regardless of how or where the equine industry grew the welfare of the horse was paramount saying “there is one thing that can never be compromised on and that the welfare and health of the horse must be at its heart and it is very clearly to the veterinary profession that we look in order to achieve that.”

She concluded by wishing the conference all success and as the representative of the horse owners, equine industry and a huge sport wanted all the delegates to take home the knowledge that all sections of the equine world had very high and serious expectations of them.

The WEVA conference was made possible with generous contributions by Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla, Hyderabad Race Club, RWITC, RCTC and BTC in particular. Several stud farms and other equine based companies have also contributed to make this conference a success.

Another feather in the cap for the Indian equine veterinary profession is the election of Dr. Ravinder Reddy as the President of WEVA for a two year term that begins at the conclusion of this year`s conference.

Fort the first time the WEVA conference has lay sessions for people who work with horses and are not vets. While the participation of trainers, breeders and owners could have been much better those that have made the effort to attend these sessions are sure to increase their knowledge in areas of lameness, nutrition, farriery, equine reproduction and foal management.

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