University of Kentucky Hosts International Symposium on Equine Reproduction

More than 300 equine reproduction specialists from 31 countries convened recently at the University of Kentucky for the 10th International Symposium on Equine Reproduction (ISER). The invitation-only meeting is held every four years; the next one is slated to be held in New Zealand in 2014. "This conference is a must for those who want to stay up-to-date on cutting-edge science in equine reproduction. We had a wonderful blend of students, young scientists, and established researchers," said Ed Squires, PhD, Dipl. ACT (hon.), chair of the International Equine Reproduction Symposium Committee, the organizing body of the ISER. Squires is also the executive director of the UK Gluck Equine Research Foundation and the director of advancement and industry relations at the Gluck Center.

The first international symposium was held in 1974 in Cambridge, United Kingdom. The purpose of the meeting was to provide a forum for biologists and veterinarians interested in equine reproduction to exchange and argue their views, to review the present state of knowledge of the subject, to produce guidelines for future research, and to foster international friendship and collaboration.

The meeting continues to bring together scientists and veterinarians from around the world and provides a forum for exchange of information on clinical and basic research aspects of equine reproduction. The symposium's scientific meeting covered experimental or clinical research in four areas: the non-pregnant mare, stallions, conception and early development, and the pregnant mare and perinatology.

The symposium also comprised 164 short communications presented or displayed via poster presentations. Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Equine Reproduction were published as extended abstracts in a supplement of the journal Animal Reproduction Science.

"In conjunction with having a great scientific meeting, we were also able to showcase the Kentucky horse industry and culture to our national and international guests. They seemed particularly impressed with the Kentucky Horse Park, location of the upcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games," said Walter Zent, DVM, local chair of the international symposium, chair of the Gluck Equine Research Foundation, and veterinarian at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington.

The meeting kicked-off with a welcome barbeque on UK’s campus July 25. Jim Tracy, the university's vice president for research, gave the welcoming address, and the following morning UK President Lee T. Todd, Jr., welcomed attendees to the campus. Other special presentations throughout the meeting included remarks from two co-honorary chairs, Bill Pickett, PhD, and Douglas Mitchell, BSc, MRCVS, Dipl. ACT, and an invited lecture by W.R. "Twink" Allen, BVSc, PhD, ScD, DESM, MRCVS, titled, "Sex, science and satisfaction: a heady brew."

Though the International Symposium on Equine Reproduction was by invitation only, there were two one-day meetings open to the public--a Practitioner Day program July 25 and a Farm Managers Day program July 31.

More than 90 practitioners attended the Practitioner Day program where 11 speakers covered topics including infertility in stallions, hormonal therapy in mares, early pregnancy, a placentitis update, and frozen semen.

The Farm Managers Day program was attended by 35 farm managers and owners from Kentucky and surrounding states. International authorities in equine reproduction presented the program and provided a brief overview of the four sections of the symposium's scientific meeting.

For more information on the International Symposium on Equine Reproduction, visit

Jenny Blandford is the Gluck Equine Research Foundation Assistant at the Gluck Center.

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