Treating veterinarians at major events are the cornerstone of the health and welfare protection for the horses in competition. At the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) Tryon 2018, to be held September 11-23 at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina, FEI treating veterinarians will be overseen by the husband-wife veterinary team of Bill Hay, DVM, DACVS, and Anne Baskett, DVM, DACVS.
Baskett and Hay have been married since 1996 and are partners in Tryon Equine Hospital PLLC, which is only about 15 minutes away from the WEG Tryon 2018 event facility. Tryon Equine Hospital is the only private specialty referral center serving North Carolina, Georgia and the South Carolina Upstate with four board certified surgeons and a board-certified internist. The facility offers state-of-the-art, 24-hour surgical and medical care and advanced lameness diagnostics. Tryon Equine Hospital is less than four hours from North Carolina State University, which will serve as a back-up referral and treating facility for horses.
Baskett is a graduate of the University of Montreal and a specialist in equine lameness and surgery. She received her surgical training at the University of Georgia. Baskett is certified in veterinary acupuncture by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. She has been an FEI veterinary delegate since the 1990s. She also is the selector veterinarian for the Canadian three-day event team. She is an eventer who has ridden all her life.
Hay is a graduate of University of California-Davis. He received his surgical training at the New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania. He was Chief of Staff at the University of Georgia Veterinary Hospital before joining Tryon Equine Hospital in 2000. His special interests include performance horse lameness evaluations, diagnostic imaging (including ultrasound and MRI), regenerative medicine (stem cell), orthopedic surgery, airway surgery and general surgery. Hay and Baskett have two daughters, Emma and Katie, both of whom ride and compete.
Tryon Equine Hospital has been the official veterinary clinic for the Tryon show grounds since that event facility was developed.
EquiManagement caught up with Baskett while she was serving as an official for the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. That same weekend, her husband was in North Carolina overseeing the endurance Test Event in preparation for FEI WEG Tryon 2018 (watch for an upcoming article with Dr. Bill Hay on EquiManagement.com.)
Welfare of the Horse
Baskett said that working the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event as the Assistant veterinary Delegate was good preparation for the job as Veterinary Services Manager (VSM) for WEG Tryon 2018. “These people are passionate about health and passionate about the horse and organization,” said Baskett of eventing competitors. “They have a good system in place in North America for eventing horse health and welfare, and my experience has ensured I know a lot of people who are knowledgeable about these types of events. Those are people willing to be in it for the right reason—the horse.”
Baskett said the FEI treating veterinary job is all about the welfare of the horse. “If you don’t lose sight of that, then everything will work out,” she said.
For the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day event and the upcoming WEG Tryon 2018, Baskett said she relied a lot on the expertise and advice of Kent Allen, DVM, who was the team veterinarian for the U.S. eventing team for decades, including for the Kentucky WEG 2010.
(Editor’s note: A Senior Associate at Allen’s Virginia Equine Imaging is the current USEF team veterinarian for eventing, and another Senior Associate at Virginia Equine is the USEF team veterinarian for dressage. EquiManagement will be publishing an article about them and Allen in the near future as part of the KindredBio-sponsored WEG Tryon 2018 event coverage.)
Baskett said she was using as much as she could from the Kentucky WEG 2010 plan as a template for the North Carolina event.
“But times have changed, and the terrain has changed,” she noted. “A majority of the time we [she and her husband, Bill] have spent so far on the Tryon event has been on regulatory matters.”
Regulatory and Protection
There will be onsite quarantine at the event venue, and international horses will also arrive into national U.S. import quarantine centers, then ship into the facility for WEG Tryon 2018. Baskett said that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and North Carolina State University have provided tremendous help in getting ready for the international event.
She noted that there are two groups of horses that need to be protected at an event such as WEG Tryon 2018: the competing horses and the domestic horse population. She said that domestic horses need to be protected from diseases that could be brought in by international arrivals, and those international arrivals need to be protected from diseases that could prevent them from returning home.
Baskett and Hay are responsible for the “flow” of horses from quarantine into the event grounds as well as returning to departure airports. They are expecting 10-12 flights of horses that will be quarantined at the WEG Tryon 2018 grounds. The USDA, the FEI and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture all have arrival responsibilities. “We’ll try to do the USDA and FEI inspections together so it is easiest on the horses,” said Baskett.
She explained that there will be two horse ambulances that meet each flight. If a horse comes off a flight with illness or injury, one of those ambulances can transport the horse to the proper facility for care and quarantine. Police also will be at the flight arrivals to escort horses to the facility.
All of the veterinarians who will serve at WEG Tryon 2018 are unpaid volunteers. Part of Baskett’s and Hay’s responsibilities is to ensure that the veterinarians are licensed in North Carolina. “The state has helped with that, offering 60-day temporary licenses,” said Baskett.
Volunteer veterinarians also will be treated to some “fun” while they are at WEG Tryon 2018, said Baskett. “Our industry partners are stepping up to make sure the veterinarians are taken care of.”
For the “fields of play,” Baskett said that she and the other treating veterinarians will ensure there are qualified professionals available. They will also have experienced practitioners who can serve as treating veterinarians for those competitors without a team veterinarian present. While there will be a temporary hospital on the event grounds, it will be for minor problems. Since Tryon Equine Hospital is so close, anything serious or complicated will be transported to that facility.
Baskett said that they have done test runs for equine ambulances with police escort from all areas of the show grounds, including throughout the cross-country course for eventing and driving. The Massachusetts SPCA will be in attendance with an ambulance and trained personnel, and the local group PEER (Polk Equine Emergency Rescue) will also be on-site to assist with ambulance and rescue needs.
Baskett wanted to single out Yves Rossier, DMV (University of Montreal), DACVIM, who is advising and volunteering to help in preparation and will be present during WEG Tryon 2018 event. Rossier is a professor of equine sports medicine at the University of Montreal, as well as serving as an official FEI veterinary delegate.
Editor's note: Horse health and veterinary coverage of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) Tryon 2018 on EquiManagement and the AIM Equine Network is brought to you by KindredBio. Check back often to EquiManagement.com and EquiManagement's Facebook for more articles, interviews and videos before and during the WEG event.