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Blog Tales from the LOPE Ranch

LOPE and OSU

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Recently, Dr. Michael Davis, DVM, of Oklahoma State University contacted LOPE. He is the director of the Equine Athletic Performance Laboratory at the OSU vet school. Their research focuses on the cause and prevention of respiratory diseases in equine athletes.

What’s especially fascinating is that they train the horses in the lab herd to canter on a treadmill. The exercise is mild compared to true racing and allows the researchers to monitor the horses’ respiratory rates under athletic performance.

Dr. Davis and his team love their research horses – the horses are their partners in every sense. They work closely with the horses, using natural horsemanship techniques to gain their trust and teach them about the treadmill. The horses are handled, groomed and fussed over – with steady exercise at comfortable speeds.

When a horse is ready to retire from their program, they get pensioned – sometimes even one of the team members adopts the horse personally. Or they simply hang out as part of the herd, enjoying a peaceful life with their equine buddies.

I was impressed with Dr. Davis and his research partner, Dr. Williamson – their work is helping horses everywhere, especially racehorses. It even has some impact for human respiratory studies.

But most of all, I was impressed with how much they care for the horses, how much they see them as valued partners and trusted colleagues. Their horses are happy with a wonderful job – an important job, too.

So LOPE has adopted one of its horses, Magic, to Dr. Davis and the OSU program. Magic is a beautiful QH ex-racer with tons of personality. Dr. Williamson thought he was perfect for the job – because he is intelligent, kind and loves being the center of attention. All of their horses are treated like stars – and Magic is one of those horses who likes being a star!

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