Veterinarians Ready to Assist at Three-Day Event

Veterinarians Ready to Assist at Three-Day Event

No matter what type of competition is being held the health and well-being of the horse is of great concern. At the majority of equestrian competitions, regardless of discipline, a veterinary team is on staff to ensure horses remain in good health.

Photo: Diana De Rosa

The second annual So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event takes place May 3-6 at Southern 8ths Farm in Chesterfield, S.C. Thanks to a newly implemented rule by the U.S. Eventing Association this competition now recognizes Beginner Novice, Novice, and Training at the Three-Day level.

Vet Box

Marsha Severt, DVM, evaluates a horse during a competition.

The "three-day," or long format, includes two phases of "roads and tracks" and one phase of "steeplechase" in addition to the cross-country phase on endurance day (which is run between dressage day and show jumping day). Nearly all events run in American today are short format events, which only include dressage, cross-country, and show jumping, and are often completed in one day.

No matter what type of competition is being held the health and well-being of the horse is of great concern. At the So8ths/ Nikon Three-Day--and the majority of equestrian competitions, regardless of discipline--a team of veterinarians is on staff throughout the competition to ensure all the horses are in good shape. One of those veterinarians is Marsha Severt, DVM, an equine practitioner from Brown Creek Equine Hospital in Polkton, N.C.

"The No. 1 priority is safety for both the horse and rider no matter what level of eventing is being competed," commented Severt. "However, most beginner and novice level riders are still learning the flow of a three-day and it is our (the veterinarians') job to not only keep them safe, but to help educate them on how to focus on their horses' needs and well-being during the entire event."

Competitors of all disciplines can benefit from knowing where to find veterinarians on the show grounds, and from evaluating their horse closely on a regular basis to determine if a health problem could be brewing. Severt said, "No matter what level you compete at, a rider must learn to recognize how their horse is responding throughout the event. As veterinarians we are there to ensure the safety and well-being of the horse and welcome any questions from riders about how to manage their horses from the beginning of the event until the end."

When asked what Severt felt the key things were that the competitors should do to prepare the horses before, during, and after they compete she remarked that it's crucial to know your horse's fitness level prior to competing at a three-day, or any other competition for that matter. "Riders should work with their trainers to get their horse to the proper fitness level before the competition in an appropriate time frame," she said. "During the competition, both riders and veterinarians should focus on ensuring the horses remain sound, hydrated, and comfortable. Many problems in lameness and tying-up can occur when a horse hasn't been properly trained for the level at which they will compete. After the competition is over it is imperative to give your horse time to recover before resuming a rigorous training schedule."

And as a final thought, Severt noted, "Though three-day events can be stressful for beginner and novice riders, it is important to remember to have fun and learn all you can from other riders, the veterinarians, and judging staff."

About the Author

Diana De Rosa

Diana De Rosa is a veteran equestrian photojournalist and reporter. She owns a public relations firm called Press Link. She has covered the past six Summer Olympic Games and every World Equestrian Games and has traveled to over 30 countries writing stories and taking photos.

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