RASE Equine Thesis Award Winners 2008 – 2009

3D Anatomy Of The Cervical Articular Process Joint Study Wins the RASE Eqvalan Duo Equine Thesis of the Year Award 2009

A study describing the 3D anatomy of the articular process joint in the neck of the horse has won the Royal Agricultural Society of England’s Eqvalan Duo Equine Thesis of the Year Award. Holly Claridge, a Royal Veterinary College graduate, conducted the research because the cervical joints receive little research attention yet disorders such as osteochondrosis and osteoarthritis have been linked to spinal cord compression.

Holly has now graduated from the RVC and is working in a general practice in Norfolk. Holly’s winning thesis was selected from four other superb finalists who presented their studies to a panel of five judges: Dr Emma Batson (Merial Animal Health), Professor Pat Harris (Mars Horsecare Ltd), Jan Rogers (British Equestrian Federation), Alison Bridge (Horse & Rider magazine) and Rachel Kay (2006 winner).

The 2009 runner-up was Ann Clausen of Writtle College whose dissertation analysed trait scoring data in Futurity Evaluations (2005-2008) for young sports horses. Ann analysed scoring data captured during the first four years of the British Equestrian Federation‟s Futurity evaluations, which is directed at young British bred sports horses. Ann reported that the evaluations are an effective tool for the future development of genetic evaluations within the UK sports horse population and are invaluable contribution in the drive towards strategic improvement of the British bred sports horse.

The remaining finalists were Sarah Craighill of Hadlow College, Becky Lee from Bishop Burton College and Sarah J Mitchell of Sparsholt College.

Foot Balance And Lameness In Riding School Horses Wins the RASE Eqvalan Duo Equine Thesis of the Year Award 2008

A study investigating foot balance and lameness in riding school horses has won the coveted RASE Eqvalan Duo Equine Thesis of the Year Award 2008, which celebrated its tenth anniversary this year.

Warwickshire College student, Laura Corbin, presented her research on riding school horses and explained how she developed an objective system to evaluate foot balance. Laura found that horses with chronic foot conditions often scored poorly for foot balance and so provided evidence that maintaining optimum foot balance could directly reduce lameness and provide long term economic benefits.

Laura is currently undertaking a studentship with the Roslin Institute and a Diploma at the University of Edinburgh in preparation for her PhD. Laura’s winning thesis beat four other finalists during a presentation of their research to a panel of four judges: Professor Graham Suggett (RASE), Dr Emma Batson (Merial Animal Health), Dr Pat Harris (Mars Horsecare Ltd), and Alison Bridge (Horse & Rider Editor).

Runner-up was Charlotte White of Nottingham Trent University with her dissertation entitled ‘An investigation into the occlusal secondary dentine thickness in horses of different ages’. Charlotte measured secondary dentine, a material that grows around teeth and protects the tooth pulp from damage and infection. Charlotte discovered that the amount of secondary dentine around the top of cheek teeth did not increase as horses grew older. These findings mean that, contrary to frequent practice, horses of different ages should be treated the same when dental procedures are performed.

The remaining finalists were Carol Quish from the University of Limerick, Alexine Sevack of Hartpury College and Holly Wakefield from Harper Adams University College.