The New Zealand Horse Ambulance Trust has announced that the first horse ambulance will be completed and ready to commence operations during the New Zealand Cup and Show Week at Riccarton, starting with Saturday’s Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand 2000 Guineas meeting.
The New Zealand Horse Ambulance Trust was formed in collaboration between New Zealand Equine Veterinary Association, the Racing Integrity Unit, NZ Thoroughbred Racing, and Harness Racing New Zealand and will have five ambulances in the initial fleet that will be based around the country.
The Canterbury region ambulance was funded by a generous donation by well-known racing identities Kevin and Jo Hickman who own Valachi Racing.
The horse ambulances feature the latest technology in equine first aid tools and capability, and are constructed in Dunedin by TL MacLean, with design and construction guided closely by Dr Peter Gillespie.
The ambulances include a full hydraulic suspension system, which allows the ambulance to be completely lowered to the ground, full limb supports and stow away crush which allows minimal distress upon loading and transportation.
“It’s wonderful that we can have these ambulances made locally, not only for the local economy but also the fact that they are costing close to half the price to be made here, rather than having them built offshore,” Gillespie said.
“We can be involved in the process each step of the way and speak to the engineer about what will work best. It also means that they will be designed specifically for New Zealand conditions.”
Donations from Racing Minister’s Safety Development Fund, New Zealand Equine Veterinary Association, Bendigo Valley Sports Trust, Salient Trust, Charlie Roberts, NZRB Animal Welfare Fund, Rodmor Trust, Kevin & Jo Hickman/Valachi Racing, NZ Bloodstock and Cambridge Equine Hospital have all aided in developing the fleet.
New Zealand Horse Ambulance Trust Chair, Martin Burns, is excited to see the first of the ambulances in use after so much planning and effort.
“After a couple of years of planning, fundraising and design it’s going to be great to see the first ambulances deployed this summer,” Burns said.
“The ambulances will give injured horses the best possible chance of accessing the care needed to recover from racing or training injuries.”
Each of the remaining four ambulances are anticipated to be built and delivered on roughly three-monthly intervals, meaning that all five ambulances will be operational by Spring 2019. -NZ Horse Ambulance Trust