Equine experts’ Olympic effort

The Greenwich Park site affords fantastic views of the London skyline

The University will play a major role in ensuring the safety and welfare of the world’s top sport horses when they compete in this summer’s London Olympics.

Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital Clinical Director, Peter Bowling and Dr Debbie Archer, Senior Lecturer in Equine Surgery, have both been appointed National Technical Officials (NTO) by games organisers.

The pair, both of whom are based at the University’s Leahurst campus in South Wirral, will have a critical part to play throughout all the Olympic and Paralympic events.

Held in Greenwich Park, the 5.7kilometre cross-country course and temporary arena is set against a backdrop of sweeping views looking out across the River Thames to St Paul’s Cathedral, and beyond.

Peter has been tasked with the responsibility of leading the ‘field of play’ veterinary services cover, but his involvement began two years ago, as plans were being drawn up.

Peter Bowling chats with Lady Louise Fiennes, wife of explorer, Sir Ranulph at the opening of the Equine ICU

Peter said: “I have been involved with the organisation right from the word go, through the planning stage and then procurement. With my role at the University as Clinical Director, setting up processes, facilities and procuring consumables and equipment has been slightly like second nature. It’s been enjoyable. Everything has to be ready by July 27 and that’s what we’re aiming at. The University has been very supportive allowing me to be involved in this way.”

Describing the event as the “pinnacle of sport”, Peter said: “We will be looking after the best sports horses in the world and because of that we are going to provide the best clinical veterinary facilities on site.”

The Equestrian competition is made up of three disciplines, Dressage, Eventing and Jumping, with the Individual Eventing and Team Eventing kicking things off on July 28.

Dr Debbie Archer, who specialises in soft tissue surgery, will be based within the onsite veterinary clinic set up by Peter, and will lead the critical care team. She will assess and treat any acute emergencies, such as colic, that may occur during proceedings.

Dr Debbie Archer will respond to emergencies

Peter added: “Our involvement shows we have world leading experts in a variety of fields. The Olympics is the pinnacle of what we are doing at the School of Veterinary Science.”

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