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FACS executive director Adele Buettner (right) presents the Award of Distinction (Equine Welfare Communication) to WCVM veterinarian Dr. Sue Ashburner. Photos: Myrna MacDonald.

WCVM linked to equine welfare awards

Two Western College of Veterinary Medicine veterinarians were among the recipients of the 2013 Awards of Distinction for Equine Welfare on February 16 in Saskatoon, Sask.

During a noon-hour awards ceremony, Dr. Sue Ashburner (WCVM '79) received an Award of Distinction for Equine Welfare Communication while her colleague, Dr. Steve Manning (OVC '91) received an Award of Distinction for Equine Welfare Leadership.

Ashburner, a longtime clinical associate in the WCVM Field Service, is renowned in the Saskatoon horse community for incorporating equine welfare in her teaching and veterinary practice.

Through her practical, common-sense approach to care, future veterinarians will understand the importance of equine welfare and the need to provide horse owners with honest information regarding their animals' health.

Dr. Steve Manning

Manning, an associate professor at the WCVM, incorporates a strategy of equine health and welfare into his work and integrates animal welfare into his teaching and veterinary care. He communicates relevant welfare topics to horse owners and demonstrates exemplary leadership with affiliate organizations.

His dedication continues with his service on the Equine Health Research Fund and the Saskatchewan Equine Expo.

Co-sponsored by the Saskatchewan Horse Federation (SHF) and the Farm Animal Council of Saskatchewan (FACS), the annual awards recognize people and organizations that demonstrate and promote dedication to excellence in equine care within Saskatchewan's horse industry.

"The Awards of Distinction for Equine Welfare also serve as a reminder of the significance of exceptional care, a focus of both SHF and FACS," says Adele Buettner, executive director of FACS.

Norm Kohle

Here are more details about the other 2013 award recipients:

Saskatoon farrier Norm Kohle received the Award of Distinction (Equine Welfare Innovation). Kohle, who has been shoeing horses for 25 years, constantly strives to improve horse health by developing new, improved farrier methods.

He works with veterinarians at the WCVM to provide special trimming and shoes for patients suffering from injury or illness affecting their hooves and limbs. Kohle continues to learn new techniques and share his knowledge.

Taylor Frain of Saskatoon, Sask., received the Award of Distinction (Equine Welfare Young Steward of the Future). Frain always thinks of her horse first and follows through with whatever is necessary to provide conscientious care.

Taylor Frain

After four and a half years as a horse owner, Frain serves as a role model to younger riders by consistently using excellent care practices with her own horse. She has become a good ambassador for showing respect and care for her mount.

The Eastern Professional Chariot and Chuckwagon Association (EPCCA) received the Award of Distinction (Equine Welfare Leadership). The EPCCA was nominated for its work with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) during the equine infectious anemia outbreak in the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012.

The EPCCA executive first met with CFIA officials to learn more about the deadly disease and how to prevent its spread. They then ensured all horses tested negative before being permitted to compete in 2012.

Mitzi Tait-Zeller

Mitzy Tait-Zeller of Swift Current, Sask., received the Award of Distinction (Equine Welfare Communication). Tait-Zeller publicly declares her love of horses. She has written a book describing her devotion to their care, shown the strength of character to report instances of abuse and neglect, and has gone public to remind horse owners how to prevent abuse.

Her commitment to animal care extends to rescuing and rehabilitating horses on which others may have given up.

View the FACS news release or visit the FACS web site for more information about the equine welfare awards program.
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