The Foundation for the Horse has awarded Innovation and Discovery Research Grants totaling $253,048 to six established equine researchers investigating novel approaches to an array of conditions affecting equine health and welfare. Now in its second year, the Innovation and Discovery Research Grants program is supported in part by a generous gift from Mrs. Penelope Knight and her Coyote Rock Ranch. Since inception of the program, $443,431 has gone to support 10 projects by nine veteran equine investigators.
The supported projects for 2023 are:
A Novel Serological Test for Strangles
Dr. Noah Cohen, Texas A&M University
This research targets a newly discovered protein of undefined function that was identified using a microarray of proteins from Streptococcus equi subspecies equi (SEE) generated using results of long-read sequencing of SEE and Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus by the researcher’s laboratory.
Genomic Epidemiology of Fungi Identified in Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid from Asthmatic Horses in the United States
Dr. Laurent L. Couëtil, Purdue University
This research seeks to determine if fungi identified from bronchoalveolar fluid (BALF) may cluster according to ecoregions that differ based on climate, geography, soil, flora, fauna, water and human factors, and if some clusters are associated with BALF cytology phenotypes. This knowledge would open future research opportunities into prevention and mitigation strategies.
Optimization of Equine Chorionic Girdle Organoids for Bioactive eCG Production
Dr. Fiona Hollinshead, Colorado State University
eCG is an essential hormone for pregnancy in the mare and is utilized for many domestic and non-domestic animal breeding programs. The traditional in vivo method of producing eCG commercially has significant welfare ramifications for horses used in these programs. This research seeks to develop physiologically functional lab-produced eCG as an ethical alternative source.
Rehabilitation Monitoring with mRNA Expression Analysis
Dr. Allen Page, University of Kentucky
Through serial evaluation of messenger RNA in horses diagnosed with and receiving professional rehabilitation for suspensory ligament, tendon or stifle injuries, this research seeks to define patterns that may ultimately improve understanding and maximize healing responses following injury. This would modernize current return to activity guidelines for common orthopedic and soft tissue injuries in horses.
Proteomics and A2M Reagents for Arthritis
Dr. Heidi Reesink, Cornell University
This research will help to expand diagnostic and therapeutic options for osteoarthritis in horses. The ability to quantitate Alpha-2-Macrobulin (A2M) will allow for the study of protein kinetics in OA and identify patients that may benefit the most from A2M therapy. Additionally, identification of protein changes across several joints will pinpoint markers that may act as broad diagnostic and therapeutic targets for OA.
Prevalence of Insulin Dysregulation and Laminitis
Dr. Lauren Schnabel, North Carolina State University
This study aims to test a large population of sport horses in the U.S. for insulin dysregulation using the oral sugar test and for subclinical laminitis using foot radiographs. Diagnosis of insulin dysregulation and subclinical laminitis is critical for early intervention to reduce the risk of future clinical laminitis episodes.
Equine research, one of the Foundation’s three pillars of impact, alongside education and horses at risk, remains at the forefront of advancing equine health and welfare. The Foundation announces that the application window for the 2024 research grant program will open in early 2024. For detailed information, please visit foundationforthehorse.org/grants.
About Coyote Rock Ranch
Coyote Rock Ranch, owned by Penelope Knight and located in the beautiful high desert country of Central Oregon, is a breeding operation for high-end cutting horses. Committed to quality in everything they do, Coyote Rock Ranch has a reputation for breeding and raising well-bred American Quarter Horses with the pedigree and care to become tomorrow’s champions. To learn more, visit www.coyoterockranch.com.
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 2023, and for the third 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 www.foundationforthehorse.org.