Post-Endurance Event Interview with Thomas R. Timmons, DVM

Thomas R. Timmons, DVM, President Vet Commission 3 – Endurance, answered questions about the WEG Tryon 2018 event.
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Endurance restart WEG Tryon 2018

The restart of the Endurance competition at WEG Tryon 2018.

EquiManagement followed up after the cancelled Endurance competition at WEG Tryon 2018 with Thomas R. Timmons, DVM, President Vet Commission 3 – Endurance. Timmons is an FEI Licensed Veterinarian in Endurance. He travels internationally for veterinary assignments at FEI-level Endurance competitions.

Q. What are your thoughts on the overall veterinary treatment for the horses during and after the race?

A. The veterinary care was excellent. The Commission executed well in evaluating and delivering their recommendations to remove horses from competition as indicated for metabolic or lameness or other reasons. After removal, the vast majority of horses benefited from mild fluid and electrolyte corrections. They likely would have corrected on their own, but precautions were taken with each horse.

Monitoring in the stables continued through the night by clinicians to ensure no latent conditions occurred, and there were none.

Q. Based on conversations at the International Veterinary Endurance Conference (IVEC) held the day before WEG started, is there a movement in general within the Endurance community about modifying how the races should be run?

A. The discussion has been on-going for some time. It comes down to the definition between “race” and “ride” and considering the variables such as terrain and climate.

Q. Anne Baskett, DVM, DACVS, who with her husband, Bill Hay, DVM, DACVS, is in charge of FEI treating veterinarians at the FEI WEG Tryon 2018, said that treatments at the Endurance vet tent after the race went well, and a few horses had to have additional treatments. Can you comment on that?

A. There were some very dehydrated horses that required considerable volume replacement therapy.

Q. Dr. Baskett also said that several horses were retrieved on-course via the equine ambulance after the race was cancelled so that they could receive veterinary attention more promptly and not have to be more stressed by completing the course. Would you like to comment on that strategy to help the horses?

A. The plan to assist competitors and their horses on course, once the decision to stop is either taken by themselves or officials, was always in place. The sheer volunteer man/woman power present—veterinary professional or other for that matter—was amazing. 

There must always be an evacuation plan in place for horse and human alike. All crew points and crossings were marked for evacuation points, in addition to points in between with special equipment—again, for human and horse. This was a major challenge and achievement at the WEG event.

Q. At the press conference, it was mentioned that an Endurance horse had been removed from course early in the race and was euthanized at the hospital. Would you like to make a statement on the death?

A. There was an official press release made available.

Editor’s note: You can read the official FEI statement on the Endurance horse death on EquiManagement.com, and you can also read the official FEI statement about the cancellation and false start of the Endurance competition on EquiManagement.com.

Q. Will there be a 2018 Endurance World Championship race?

A. There is no other World Championship scheduled for the remainder of 2018, and I do not expect there to be one.