2023-2024 Equine Research Program Funded Projects

2023-2024 Equine Research Program Funded Projects

The American Quarter Horse Foundation fills a vital role by being just one of four private institutions funding research.

herd of horses running at sunset (Credit: AQHA Calendar)

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“The Evaluation of the Novel Intestinal Biomarkers to Aid in the Diagnosis of Intestinal Ischemia in Clinical Cases of Equine Colic”

North Carolina State University- $20,000

In some severe cases of colic, blood flow is reduced or eliminated to parts of the gastrointestinal system.  This complication, known as intestinal ischemia, is associated with the worst clinical outcomes, yet it is difficult to diagnose accurately and quickly.  This project will compare potential markers in blood and abdominal fluid samples, known as biomarkers, from horses suffering ischemic colic and normal controls.  Identification of biomarkers predictive of intestinal ischemia can then lead to a point-of-care test which will allow quick, accurate diagnosis, improving survival rates and animal welfare.


“Multi-dose Clodronate use on Bone Histomorphology and Cellular Apoptosis in Juvenile Exercising Quarter Horses”

Texas A&M University- $20,000

Off-label use of bisphosphonate drugs, such as clodronate, is growing in popularity as a treatment for orthopedic injuries.  Yet use in the young exercising horse may have negative consequences.  By inhibiting bone turnover, these drugs may result in accumulation of microdamage within the bone which, in turn, may result in catastrophic bone failure.  This project will investigate the impact of clodronate on the microarchitecture of the bone as well as the metabolism of bone cells and changes in signaling molecules.  The results will provide evidence to the safety or risk associated with use of this drug in young exercising horses. 


“Exploring the Genomic Component of Reproductive Health in Mares: Molecular Signatures for X-Monosomy-Like Gonadal Dysplasia”

Texas A&M University- $39,021

Infertility in mares continues to be problem in the horse industry with tremendous economic impact, as well as causing heartache for horse owners.  One category of infertile mares (“x-monosomy-like condition”) has been classified by small inactive ovaries and an immature reproductive tract.  Because the condition has been identified to sometimes run in families and is recurrent, it is suspected to be genetic.  This project will seek to identify potential gene variants for this condition within the genome of affected mares.  This is the first and necessary step towards identifying actual causative mutations and the development of practical genetic tests in the future.


“Pharmacokinetics & Anti-inflammatory Effects of Intramuscular Corticosteroids”

University of California at Davis- $66,971

Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory medications used to treat a myriad of conditions.  While two such drugs, betamethasone and isoflupredone, are well described when used within joints, there is less information on their use when administered intramuscularly (IM).  This study will investigate the behavior of these drugs after IM administration as it relates to detection in the bloodstream and the resulting anti-inflammatory response.  The results will allow for better decision-making to regulate the use of these compounds in performance horses.


For more information on the American Quarter Horse Foundation’s equine research program, please contact us at:

American Quarter Horse Foundation
Equine Research Program
PO Box 32111
Amarillo, TX 79120
(806) 378-5021 phone