The first week of August saw WEVA President, Kate Savage and Warwick Bayly, Professor of Equine Medicine at Washington State University (WSU), in Korea at the invitation of Dr. Kyemyung An. Dr An is the Head of the Equine Veterinary Center of the Korean Racing Authority (KRA). The KRA oversees the operation of three racetracks, breeding farms and equine hospitals in Korea and employs a large number of veterinarians. The racetracks are parts of large equine sports complexes that also cater to a number of other equestrian events, with indoor and outdoor arenas and various other training facilities on the same site as the racetracks. In summary, these places are extremely impressive and the KRA is committed to improving equine veterinary practice.
Kate and Warwick were in Korea to give presentations and demonstrations to Korean veterinarians and also to owners and trainers of racing thoroughbreds. Two day sessions were held at the tracks in Busan and Seoul. The demonstrations were focused on the assessment of performance potential (measurement of maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) and breathing rates, and airflows and volumes during exercise) in racehorses using a facemask specially developed at WSU for this purpose. The lectures related to the physiological bases of exercise and racing performance and ways to assess and/or improve this, and subjects like gastric ulcers, exercise-associated muscle problems and airway inflammation that are of interest to veterinarians and horsemen alike. Sessions were well attended and discussions were lively and informative.
The KRA and Dr. An are committed to improving the quality of equine veterinary practice and racing in Korea, and they are to be commended for their goals. It was great that WEVA could be part of this effort and it dovetails closely with the overall mission of WEVA.