Samantha Hammack, a dual DVM/Ph.D. candidate at University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, received The Foundation for the Horse Research Fellow for her research into preventing racehorse fractures through the use of early exercise and biomarkers.

The $5,000 scholarship is awarded annually to a doctoral or residency student who has made significant progress in the field of equine health care research. In addition to the financial reward, Dr. Hammack also received a $500 stipend to support her travel to the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) 68th Annual Convention in San Antonio, Texas, where she accepted her award Nov. 20.

Hammack’s current work focuses on racehorses and the opportunity for an early exercise intervention to promote the development of stronger bone in young growing horses, resulting in less fractures during their early racing career. While biomechanical forces placed on the bone by muscle are a significant factor in bone remodeling with exercise, another proposed method is an indirect effect of myokine secretion by muscle. Her long-term goal is to elucidate the biological crosstalk between muscle and bone in the context of an early exercise intervention in foals.

“I went into my DVM/Ph.D. program with a plan for my future career; I want to advance equine musculoskeletal research so that I can prevent catastrophic injuries from occurring to all

equines, whether they are Olympic athletes or backyard trail horses,” said Hammack. “I want to continue pursuing research and teach the community at large how better to prevent injury in their equine athletes.”

Hammack earned her Bachelor of Science in 2013 from the University of California San Diego, where she went on to work in the university’s Haddad Laboratory and Suel Laboratory as well as at Pacific GMP and STAT Veterinary Lab. 

“We are delighted that donors continue to support and understand the need for bright veterinary students to remain engaged in equine research,” said Dr. Rick Mitchell, Foundation chair. “This award will support yet another individual to explore a career in research discovery and innovation, which will ultimately benefit horse welfare.”

For more information about this program and other scholarships offered through The Foundation for the Horse, visit 

About The Foundation for the Horse
Established in 1994, The Foundation for the Horse is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to improving the welfare of the horse through Education, Research, and help for Horses at Risk. It is governed and stewarded by world-renowned equine veterinarians and equine stakeholders. In 2022, and for the second consecutive year, The Foundation awarded over $1 million in scholarships and grants to impact equine health and well-being throughout the U.S. and developing countries. To learn more, visit

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