CSU Equine Sports Medicine Program Receives $6 Million Gift

CSU Equine Sports Medicine Program Receives $6 Million Gift

Drs. Chris Kawcak, left, and Wayne McIlWraith oversee the treadmill work of a horse rehabilitating from orthopaedic care. McIlwraith is founding director of the CSU Orthopaedic Research Center, which has received a $6 million gift.

Photo: Colorado State University

The Malone Family Foundation, led by media magnate and philanthropist John C. Malone, has donated $6 million to Colorado State University’s (CSU) Orthopaedic Research Center to significantly advance the center’s research and clinical expertise in equine sports medicine and rehabilitation.

The gift will establish the Leslie A. Malone Presidential Chair in Equine Sports Medicine and will expand the Orthopaedic Research Center’s pioneering Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Program by supporting an additional faculty member and resident. The faculty member to hold the chair has not yet been named.

“We are grateful for the Malone Family Foundation’s substantial gift, and for the foresight of John and Leslie Malone, who understand the importance of supporting leading-edge teaching, research, and clinical service in equine sports medicine and rehabilitation,” CSU President Tony Frank, DVM, PhD, said. “This gift will help Colorado State to advance a new veterinary specialty that is critical to the health of equine athletes and the horse industry.”

The donation represents a marriage of interests: Leslie Malone, who runs Harmony Sporthorses in Kiowa, Colo., among other international horse operations, has been committed for nearly two decades to boosting the prestige of dressage in the United States through focused horse breeding and training programs. She has worked with multiple Olympians—both horses and riders—and raises Hanoverian, Oldenburg, and Dutch Warmblood sport horses.

Aligned with Malone’s interest, the CSU Orthopaedic Research Center is renowned for solving problems in equine musculoskeletal disease and injury, with development of new diagnostic imaging and surgical techniques, as well as gene and stem cell therapies.

“Our work with talented equine athletes has shown us how crucial it is to understand the complete picture of sport horse health, and to provide all the care they need when these animals are competing at the highest levels,” said Leslie Malone. “I hope this gift to CSU will elevate a veterinary specialty that is central to the competitive abilities of equine athletes.”

Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, DSc, FRCVS, Dipl. ACVS, founding director of the Orthopaedic Research Center and a decorated equine surgeon and orthopaedic researcher, said the Malone gift will help CSU set a gold standard for teaching, research, and clinical service in equine sports medicine and rehabilitation.

“We truly appreciate the Malone’s gift because our raison d'être is making things better for the horse,” said McIlwraith, a University Distinguished Professor. “Within our center, we have people with expertise in different areas, but it all comes back to improving life for the equine athlete. That’s what equine sports medicine and rehabilitation is all about, and we’ve got a terrific mix of talent here to advance a specialty that’s vital to the future of sport horse care.”

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