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Sponsored by the Fenway Foundation

Updated: Jan 3

If you wanted to learn more about your Friesian horse, then this year’s AGM certainly was an educational opportunity for anyone that was lucky enough to attend. There were nine guest speakers covering topics including dressage, saddle fitting, and driving and health topics in the areas of nutrition, genetics, orthopedics and research. KFPS Executive Director, Ids Hellinga, provided us with an update as to the direction the KFPS is taking for the future.

The Fenway Foundation For Friesian Horses sponsored the speakers that focused on health related topics. The speakers were as follows:

Dr. Kory NiswenderBreeding Friesian Mares (Photo credit: Jason Tice)

Dr. Kory Niswender, an equine reproduction specialist at Equine Reproductive Services in Weatherford, TX, took part in the educational program for Saturday. Dr. Niswender took us through the process of breeding the mare as well as a discussion of embryo transfer. He stressed the key points where breeding the Friesian mare is different from the light breed mare, outlining his protocols that lead to his success with Friesian mares.

Karen Davison, PhDGiving Young Horses the Best Chance to Become Sound Adults (Photo credit:Jason Tice)

Dr. Karen Davison, an equine nutritionist and Sales Support Manager with Purina Animal Nutrition opened up the educational program on Sunday. She focused on the importance of feeding the young growing horse, beginning by emphasizing the impact that correct nutrition of the broodmare can have on the resulting foal. She discussed topics like body scoring and the importance of the correct levels of protein in the horse’s diet.

Dr. Reese HandOsteochondrosis: Myths and Truths (Photo credit: Jason Tice)

Dr. Reese Hand, an equine veterinarian and board-certified surgeon with Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery of Weatherford, TX, spoke next with a focus on Osteochondrosis. He defined further the term osteochondrosis and went on to explain the difference between osteochondrosis dessicans and subchondral bone cysts. Radiographs helped to show us what these lesions look like and where they are most likely to be found. Causes and treatment were discussed as well as some guidelines for prevention.

Dr. Gus Colthran, PhDGenetic Diversity and Health in the Friesian Horse (Photo credit: Jason Tice)

The last guest speaker was Dr. Gus Cothran, a clinical professor at Texas A & M University with a special interest in equine genetic defects and their impact on breeds with a small population. He stressed the importance of identifying these genetic issues and breeding responsibly so that horses are not excluded from reproducing in an already limited genetic pool. He touched on topics such as genetic drift, factors that influence population size and the impact that a single stallion can have with respect to a genetic mutation and the appearance of a recognized disease in a population

The video presentations of the five health related topics can be found under the “Education/Links" tab of the Foundation's website.

We thank all the speakers for their time and expertise.

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