Reproductive Efficiency in the Thoroughbred

A day of lectures in memory of Gerald Leigh was held on the 7th June 2022 at  Tattersalls in Newmarket. BCET organises these lectures on behalf of the Gerald Leigh Charitable Trust in recognition of Mr Leigh’s achievements as a racehorse owner and breeder and his passion for scientific knowledge and the welfare of the horses he loved.

The theme of the 2022 Gerald Leigh Memorial lectures was “Thoroughbred Reproductive Efficiency”. We were very lucky to have four world renowned international speakers on this topic.

Tattersalls very kindly hosted us for the day and provided an excellent lunch for all.

Introduction

Joe Grimwade

Chairman, Beaufort Cottage Educational Trust

Reproductive Strategies of Mares and Stallions

Dr Dominik Burger

Swiss Institute of Equine Medicine

Dr Dominki Burger is a professor at the Swiss Institute of Equine Medicine and has published extensive research on both mare and stallion reproductive behaviour. Dr Burger lectured on this fascinating topic and shared his research on how the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) social signalling affects reproductive strategies of stallions and mares.

Stallion Fertility and Reproductive Efficiency

Dr Charles Love

Texas A & M University

Dr. Charles Love is a professor in the Department of large Animal Clinical Sciences at Texas A & M university and is a diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists. Dr Love is an internationally recognized authority on stallion reproduction. Dr. Love’s research focuses on the relationship of sperm laboratory measures to fertility, improving techniques for collection, analysis, and storage of semen, and development of record-analysis systems for critically studying the fertility of stallions and lectured on these topics.

Stallion Discussion

Led by Fred Barrelet MRCVS (BCET Trustee & Treasurer)

Rossdales Ltd, Newmarket

Management of the Barren Mare for Optimal Fertility

Dr Karen Wolfsdorf

Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Kentucky

Dr Karen Wolfsdorf is a board certified Theriogenologist and partner at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Kentucky. Dr. Wolfsdorf and her husband are also involved as owners and breeders in the Thoroughbred industry. Dr. Wolfsdorf’s main area of interest is infertility in the mare and problems during pregnancy and she lectured on both management of the barren mare to optimise fertility and how monitoring and treating late term high risk pregnancies can improve foaling outcomes.

Update on Early Embryonic Loss

Dr Mandi de Mestre

The Royal Veterinary College, London

Dr Mandi De Mestre, is a Reader in Reproductive Immunology at The Royal Veterinary College, London. Mandi’s research group focuses on the immunobiology of the maternal-fetal interface, with a particular interest in pregnancy-related conditions in the mare in both normal pregnancy and those pregnancies that fail. Mandi’s most recent research projects i) Genetics of early pregnancy loss in Thoroughbreds (funded by Thoroughbred Breeders Association) and (ii) Unravelling genetic and environmental contributions to abortions associated with umbilical pathologies (funded by Alborada Trust) are the two topics that she spoke on.

Managing the High Risk Pregnancy

Dr Karen Wolfsdorf

Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Kentucky

What have we learnt about umbilical cord torsion?

Dr Mandi De Mestre

The Royal Veterinary College, London

Pregnant mare discussion

Led by Andrew McGladdery MRCVS

Rossdales Ltd, Newmarket

Conclusion

Fred Barrelet MRCVS (BCET Trustee & Treasurer)

Rossdales Ltd, Newmarket