2018-2019 Equine Research Program Funded Projects

Since 1960, the American Quarter Horse Foundation has awarded more than $11.7 million to various colleges and Universities

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Auburn University ($12,415.46)
“Clinical and Biochemical Effects of Intra-Articular Autologous Conditioned Serum and Triamcinolone in an Equine Model of Synovitis”

Autologous conditioned serum (ACS) is a cell-free product derived from the patient’s own blood, incubated, and processed to contain important anti-inflammatory proteins. Currently, there are no studies that objectively compare the treatment effects of corticosteroid administration to ACS in a large animal model of synovitis. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of ACS for treatment of synovitis to a corticosteroid.

Young Investigator Award: Ana Velloso Alvarez

Racing Medication and Testing Consortium ($25,203.00)
“Pharmacodynamics and Pharmacokinetics of Ethylphenidate in Horses”

This project will be used to develop pharmacokinetic information about ethylphenidate and ensure that laboratories can detect sufficiently low concentrations to protect against the use of a small dose at bridle time. This information can be valuable in identifying suspect horses that may have been administered ethylphenidate in order to perform targeted drug testing.

Principal Investigator: Heather Knych DVM, PhD

Texas A&M University ($72,534.00)
“Effects of Aquatic Conditioning on Cartilage and Bone Metabolism in Young Horses”

Little information exists relating to the effects of aquatic conditioning on bone and cartilage turnover of young horses. Implementation of aquatic programs in the horse industry should be investigated for the inadvertent yet potential damaging effects on developing equine cartilage and bone. The objective of the proposed study is to determine the influence of aquatic treading on biomarkers of cartilage synthesis and degradation as well as the effects on subchondral bone.

Principal Investigator: Jessica Leatherwood PhD

University of California, Davis ($19,968.00)
“The Effect of Horseshoe Length on Hoof Growth that Could Lead to the Underrun Heel Hoof Conformation Associated with Development of Injuries in Quarter Horses”

Underrun heel hoof conformation is associated with the incidence of injuries in both racehorses and performance horses. If we can understand the mechanisms that promote underrun heel hoof conformation, it is possible that changes in horseshoeing techniques can be made to prevent the development of poor hoof conformation and reduce the incidence of associated injuries.

Young Investigator Award: Vanessa Dahl

University of Georgia ($44,171.00)
“Platelet Lysate Modulates Systemic Inflammatory Responses in Horses”

It has been recently discovered that a product derived from the blood of horses has an impressive capacity to dampen the activation of the immune system. This product was originally manufactured in people and is termed platelet lysate. It has also shown that it has very promising features including acting as a powerful anti-inflammatory. In this proposal platelet lysate will be administered to a group of healthy horses in order to determine the appropriate dose and ensure that markers of inflammation obtained after lysate administration are decreased compared to those markers measured prior to lysate administration.

Principal Investigator: John Peroni DVM

University of Illinois ($7,973.00)
“Proteomic Profiles of Stallions with Superb and Poor Semen Cryopreservation”

Despite remarkable improvements in extenders and freezing methods, there are still many stallions that have sperm that does not survive cryopreservation well. This proposal is an approach to measure protein composition in the supernatant following the first semen dilution of stallions being collected for commercial semen freezing. The project is designed to help identify proteins associated with semen survival during cryopreservation, and will allow further investigation on the mechanism of cryoprotection and sperm function of seminal plasma proteins.

Principal Investigator: Igor Canisso DVM, PhD

University of Kentucky ($19,962.00)
“Elucidation of the Mechanism of Suppression of Type-I IFN Response by Equine Herpesvirus-1”

EHV-1 causes a worrying disease condition to many horse owners not only because of its tendency to impede reproduction but also because of its propensity to progress to a neurological form. Outbreaks are costly for the equine industry-quarantines and tracing efforts funded by the government to curtail the spread of the disease amount to millions of dollars annually in the United States. This research may contribute useful information needed for the development of potent immunotherapeutics against EHV-1 infection.

Principal Investigator: Thomas Chambers PhD

University of Tennessee at Knoxville ($49,173.00)
“Simplified Genetic Tests for Equine Embryos during a Standard Embryo Transfer”

This approach will result in a simple genetic test for embryos using the spent media in which an embryo was incubated and stored prior to transfer to the recipient mare. If successful, this procedure will allow breeders to produce healthy foals free of genetic disease and maintain valuable genetic bloodlines without the risk of perpetuating genetic defects in the population.

Principal Investigator: Alejandro Esteller-Vico DVM, PhD

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) 378-5029 phone
(806) 376-1005 fax