Issue 55
JUNE 2020
CELEBRATING BROCKS
THE WONDER MARE
JAYDEN BROWN
ON A MISSION
AUSSIE SCOOP
AT ROYAL WINDSOR

PLUS: HEATH RYAN’S EVENTER HIT LIST, EMMA BOOTH ON TOKYO 2021, TRAVEL TO TUSCANY, KERRY MACK’S EQUINE LIBRARY, DEVELOPING THE DRESSAGE HORSE WITH TONY UYTENDAAL, HOW HORSES SEE & MORE

AUSTRALIA`S BEST EQUINE MAGAZINE
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Issue 55

CONTENTS

JUNE 2020
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A few Words

FROM THE
CHAIRMAN

ROBERT MCKAY

Ryan's Rave

WHAT I LOOK FOR IN AN EVENTING HORSE

BY HEATH RYAN

Dressage

JAYDEN BROWN
ON A MISSION

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Para Equestrian

WHEN THE GOAL
POSTS CHANGE

BY EMMA BOOTH

Special feature

FROM SYDNEY
TO THE WORLD

BY DAWN GIBSON

EQ Journeys

DOING IT TOUGH
IN TUSCANY

BY JANET NORMAN

Eventing

BROCKS THE
WONDER MARE

BY AMANDA YOUNG

Showing

FROM RACECOURSE TO ROYAL WINDSOR

BY ADELE SEVERS

Special feature

A SOCIAL LICENCE FOR EQUESTRIAN SPORTS

BY EQ LIFE

Health

THROUGH A
HORSE’S EYES

BY KATE HERREN

Training

THE LITERATE
HORSE RIDER

BY DR KERRY MACK

Training

DEVELOPING
THE CORRECT DRESSAGE HORSE

BY TONY UYTENDAAL

Health

THE PRINCIPLES OF REHABILITATION

BY DR MAXINE BRAIN

Health

5 WINTER PROBLEMS

BY EQ LIFE

My Favourite Dish

CHICKEN WITH
TARRAGON & MUSHROOMS

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE
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Sarah Johnson currently works at the Equine Veterinary Medical Center in Qatar. © Qatar Foundation
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Former Sydney vet nurse Sarah Johnson is at the cutting-edge of international equine research at a new state-of-the-art horse hospital in Qatar. She tells us about her work.

It’s a long way from country New South Wales to the Middle East, but Sarah Johnson is used to a lot of different environments. Growing up on a small property in Oakdale, an hour from Sydney, and learning to ride on her grandfather’s 10,000-acre Lightning Ridge cattle farm, she has channelled a lifelong love of animals into a fantastically varied career that has taken her around the world.

From working as a veterinary nurse for a renowned small animal hospital in Sydney’s exclusive suburb of Mosman, she has gone on to research whales and dolphins in Hawaii and instruct veterinary medicine students at the University of Queensland.

ADVANCING HORSE HEALTHCARE
However, her latest role may just be the best yet – being part of the international team at a new world-class equine hospital, which aims to be at the forefront of the latest research in horse healthcare and science. Based in the tiny but fabulously wealthy Middle Eastern country of Qatar, the Equine Veterinary Medical Center, part of education and research organisation Qatar Foundation, reflects the historic and cultural role of horses in this part of the world, the birthplace of the legendary Arabian.

It’s been a big learning curve for Sarah, whose role involves ensuring all of the research is in line with relevant laws and regulations. On any given day, she will be reviewing projects ranging from stem-cell to fertility research to the physiological response of horses when swimming (there’s an indoor, air-conditioned lap pool nearby exclusively for the four-footed).

Sarah says she is enjoying the challenge and the opportunity to work with a diverse team representing more than 30 nationalities – a sort of United Nations of equine research and care. “Previously my research experience was focused on conservation, but my role at EVMC has introduced me to many new clinical research studies and I find them all very interesting,” she says. “Although I have been around horses for most of my life, it has never been in a clinical setting.

“Admittedly, their size was a little overwhelming at first in the hospital, but they are much better behaved than a feisty cat! I have met many horses here and they have such a loving and gentle nature – I have become very fond of them.”

SPECIALISED SERVICES
The facilities at Sarah’s workplace really have to be seen to be believed. There are MRI and CT scanners purpose-built for horses – when we visited, a grey racehorse was being examined for suspected stomach ulcers – as well as pristine, air-conditioned ICU stables, and a suite of high-tech laboratories for microbiology, DNA testing, biochemistry and more. Specialised services include surgery, internal medicine, rehabilitation, dentistry, diagnostic imaging, and pain management, as well as a round-the-clock emergency service.

The clientele is equally impressive. Thoroughbreds treated at the facility often pop up on the racing circuits of Australia, the UK, and the US.

The Equine Veterinary Medical Center is strategically located next door to Al Shaqab, an equestrian breeding and education hub that is home to more than 800 horses, including prized Arabians, and where around 150 foals are born every year.

As you can probably guess, the facilities at Al Shaqab, also part of Qatar Foundation, are equally first class. The star turn is a twin outdoor and indoor arena for showjumping and dressage, which plays host every year to top-level international events such as CHI Al Shaqab Presented by Longines and the Longines Global Champions Tour (Australian Olympic showjumper Edwina Tops-Alexander is a regular). There are marble, air-conditioned stables and a classy equine exercise facility with a tiled lap pool, horse spa and rotating horse-walker.


Sarah explains that the opportunity came about due to her research credentials and a decision to relocate to the Middle East for her husband Ben’s work as a pilot instructor – he was a jet pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force for 12 years.

While clearly enjoying her new environment, she misses her family and friends and the great Aussie outdoor lifestyle – she still returns for holidays on her grandfather’s cattle farm. “Qatar is a great country and we enjoy going to the beach, camping and parks, but the heat prevents outside activity for a lot of the year,” she says. EQ

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

DAWN GIBSON
Starting out as a newspaper reporter in Australia, Dawn went on to found freelance writing company Dawn Creative Media, which now has clients in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.

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