AN equine veterinary association recently ran a campaign with the tagline ‘Don’t break your vet’. The focus was on the high rate of physical injury suffered by equine vets and ways in which owners might teach horses to be quiet, relaxed and safe for injections, examinations and other veterinary procedures. But vets can be broken in other ways too.

Common ground at a recent international meeting of equine veterinary associations was a growing crisis in recruitment and retention – we are not attracting enough new vets to the equine ranks and we are failing to hold on to those we have. In future we may not have sufficient resources to service the needs of our horses and those who own them – to the obvious detriment of the industries/sports of which we are part, but also the welfare of the horses at their heart. This urgently needs to be thought through thoroughly.