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Racehorse Fractures - Managing The Risk Seminar

Racehorse Fractures – Managing the Risk

THE Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board’s Veterinary and Equine Welfare Committee is pleased to announce the launch of their Irish Racehorse Welfare Initiative with a seminar on Racehorse Fractures – Managing the Risk on Thursday 14th June 2018 at Leopardstown Racecourse, from 9.30am to 3pm, ahead of racing. 

The focus of the initiative is to increase the knowledge on the welfare of the racehorse among those in the Irish Racing sector who can influence it. Proper understanding of, and provision for racehorse welfare is of paramount importance for the IHRB and the Irish racing industry that it supports. Industry-wide engagement is the starting point, as in reality the key to safeguarding racehorse welfare lies with trainers, jockeys, veterinarians, stable staff, racecourses and others who interact with the horses. We are starting with this seminar about fractures because these serious injuries may happen both on and off the racetrack. They are something that we always aim to prevent, but must be prepared and equipped to deal with, should they occur.                                                                                         

The Seminar is headed up by our key note speaker Professor Chris Whitton, Head of Equine/Specialist in Equine Surgery, University of Melbourne, Australia supported by Liam Kearns, Partner at Three Counties Equine Hospital and Senior Veterinary Surgeon for Cheltenham Racecourse, Warren Schofield of Troytown GreyAbbey Veterinary Practice, Liam Sharp of Lisadell Equine Hospital, Peadar O’Scanaill, President of the Veterinary Council of Ireland and IHRB Chief Veterinary Officer Lynn Hillyer. The day will comprise a series of short presentations, a panel with a trainer, racecourse and regulatory/governing body representation, with plenty of time for discussion. The seminar will give insight into what causes fractures, how they can be managed on a raceday to give the horse the best chance of recovery and how they can be prevented.

Recognising the key role of the equine veterinarians in this area, we have teamed up with the Veterinary Council of Ireland to secure CPD credits for attendance at this seminar.

Places are limited; whilst there will be no charge for the day, only those pre-registered will be able to attend - please confirm attendance at


The Seminar is kindly sponsored by Weatherbys Ireland and Equine Medirecord Ireland.


Seminar Agenda

9.30       Coffee and welcome

10.00     Introduction to Initiative/Fractures on Irish Racecourses – Lynn Hillyer

10.15     Understanding bone injuries in horses -  Chris Whitton

11.00     Raceday Veterinary Services in Britain – Liam Kearns

11.45     Raceday Casualty Management in Ireland/Role of AIRCVS – Peadar O’Scanaill/Liam Sharp

12.30     Managing Fractures in the hospital – Warren Schofield                                                            

13.15     Lunch

13.45     Managing Bone to prevent Injury -  Chris Whitton

14.30     Panel Discussion – Managing/Reducing the Risk of Raceday Fracture in Ireland

15.30     Close                                                                                                                                                                                                                             


Speaker Biographies 

Chris Whitton

Chris leads the Equine Limb Injury Prevention Program at the University of Melbourne Equine Centre a multidisciplinary research program combining microstructural analysis, histopathology, biomechanics and epidemiology dedicated to developing preventative training and management protocols for racehorses. Chris trained as a specialist at the University of Sydney, Australia where he also completed a PhD before moving to work at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, England in 1996. From 1999 to 2004 he ran his own referral practice and scintigraphy unit at the Newcastle Equine Centre in Australia and has worked at The University of Melbourne since as a Specialist surgeon and researcher. 


Liam Kearns

Liam qualified from University College Dublin in 1983. He worked in Fermoy, and Eastwood Nottingham before moving to Upton upon Severn in 1986. He was a co-founding partner of Kearns & Rea Veterinary Surgeons, now Three Counties Equine Hospital, in 1989. Liam’s main interests are in National Hunt Racing, Point to Pointing and Sport Horse disciplines including PrePurchase examinations. He is Senior Veterinary Surgeon at both Cheltenham and Hereford racecourses and serves on the vetting panel at Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham sales. He is a former chairman of the Association of Racecourse Veterinary Surgeons (ARVS) and acts as veterinary examiner and adviser for Irish Draught Society (GB) as well as carrying out vet inspections for BEF futurity.


Peadar O’Scanaill

Peadar comes from a family with a long history in Veterinary Medicine, dating back to the 1940s. He qualified in 1988 and, after a short spell in Cornwall UK, he returned to his family practice in Ashbourne. As the practice has grown and developed, Peadar has become more involved with equine work. Peadar became President of Veterinary Ireland in 2005. He was elected onto the Veterinary Council of Ireland six years ago and has recently been elected as President of that Statutory Board. Following in his father’s footsteps, Peadar provides veterinary services to Harness Racing in North County Dublin and has been instrumental in developing the animal welfare side of the sport in recent years, forming the Veterinary and Welfare Commission (VWC), the Integrity Body for Harness Racing in Ireland.


Lynn Hillyer

Lynn joined the IHRB in September 2016 as Chief Veterinary Officer/Head of Anti-Doping, having spent 20 years in practice/racing regulation, during which time she gained specialist post-graduate qualification in equine internal medicine and a PhD about the genetic basis for fracture in the Thoroughbred. She heads a team of 6 IHRB Veterinary Officers and 14 Veterinary Assistants focussing on the health, welfare and safety of Irish racehorses on and off the racecourse. Lynn represents Ireland on the European Horserace Scientific Liaison Committee, the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities’ Advisory Council on Prohibited Substances and Practices and International Movement of Horses Committee and has just been elected chair of the International Group of Specialist Racing Veterinarians. Closer to home she is Secretary to the IHRB Veterinary and Equine Welfare Committee and chairs that Committee’s Technical Advisory Group.


Liam Sharp

Liam qualified from The Royal Dick Veterinary College in Edinburgh in 1996. Having spent time in mixed practice both in the UK and Australia he decided that the equine sector of the veterinary industry was where his heart lay. He came to Ireland in April 2000 for a 3-month locum stint with Peter Gibbons in Co. Meath and, as they say, the rest is history! In 2004 Lisadell Equine Hospital was opened. He enjoys all aspects of equine work, but his main interest is in the poor performance of the athletic horse with particular reference to the airway and lungs. He is on the panel for Navan, Fairyhouse and Leopardstown racecourse and serves on the sales vetting panel of both Tattersalls and Goffs auction houses. He is also a committee member of the Association of Irish Race Course Veterinary Surgeons (AIRCVS).


Warren Schofield

Following his graduation from Cambridge University in 1992, Warren spent a few years working in a mixed practice in the UK before taking up his residency in surgery at UCD. Warren progressed on to lecture in large animal surgery and specialise in orthopaedics. He joined Troytown in 2000 and set up the bone scanning unit. To date he and his team have scanned almost 2000 horses. Warren continues to specialise in surgery and racehorse orthopaedics.


For further information, please contact:

Michelle Daly, Equine Welfare and Veterinary Services Assistant, Tel: 045 445600, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Date: 02nd May 2018



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