A Night at the Races: Expert talks to celebrate the Grand National

George Stubbs, Lustre with a Groom, 1762 Yale Centre for British Art

Ahead of this year’s Grand National, the University’s Continuing Education department is hosting two evenings of expert talks that will explore the health and wellbeing of thoroughbred race horses, how they inspired one of Liverpool’s most famous artists, and the ethical arguments that the horseracing industry is currently facing.

On Tuesday, 26 March art will meet science, as art historian Alex Kidson and equine vet Harry Carslake take differing looks at the anatomy of a racehorse.

Clean air and healthy lungs play a crucial role in racing performance. However, as seen earlier this year illnesses like equine flu can threaten the respiratory function of horses and affect racing fixtures. Harry Carslake, a Senior Lecturer in Equine Medicine, will talk about how highly-sophisticated equipment and expert care at the University’s Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital is used to diagnose and treat racehorses to ensure they’re in peak condition.

The 18th century Liverpool-born artist George Stubbs did not have the advantages of MRI and CT scans to understand the anatomy of the horse, but he did undertake a hands-on approach, performing dissections and publishing a collection of drawings and engravings of the stripped-down horse. Alex Kidson, former Curator of British Art at the Walker Art Gallery will highlight his work, which includes paintings of some the most famous racehorses of his day.

On Wednesday, 27 March, Neil Coster, Director of Studies of the Thoroughbred Horseracing Industries MBA and Professor Catherine McGowan, Head of Department of Equine Clinical Sciences at the University will consider the state of horseracing today.

For some, horseracing is all about betting and a good day out, or admiring the athleticism of the competitors. However, others see the industry as sponsoring abuse of vulnerable animals. The health of the horseracing industry sits alongside concerns for animal welfare, and the ethical debates of these issues could bring profound changes to racing events in the future.

Event organiser Dr Suzanne May from Continuing Education says: “The University of Liverpool has a close relationship with Aintree Racecourse as our equine vets provide trackside support at the Grand National race and the Management School runs a Master’s programme in Horseracing Industries. Ahead of the biggest horse racing event of the year, we’re excited to be hosting these compelling talks about a local event with a universal appeal.”

A Night at the Races
Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 March, 6.30-8.30pm
Venue: 126 Mount Pleasant, University of Liverpool, L69 3GR
Cost: £12 per night or £20 for both nights.

For more information and booking please visit https://payments.liv.ac.uk/conferences-and-events/continuing-education/special-events

Image: George Stubbs, Lustre with a Groom, 1762 Yale Centre for British Art

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