New endowment fund will back horse research

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An endowment fund aimed at backing horse research has been seeded with $US150,000, with plans to grow core funding.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation has created the fund to back researchers in projects that aim to improve our understanding of the diseases and maladies that affect horses.

The fund was announced during the opening session at the AAEP’s 63rd Annual Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

More than half of the $US150,000 in seeding capital was committed by the late Dr Michelle LeBlanc. A renowned theriogenology educator, researcher and practitioner, LeBlanc pledged a portion of her estate to the foundation in 2012 as a member of its Legacy Society with the stated intent to fund future equine research.

“The foundation is embarking on a journey of great potential,” said Dr Richard Mitchell, chairman of the AAEP Foundation Advisory Council. “From this modest start, there is no limit to how far this initiative can go — no limit to the kinds of important research we can someday invest in.”

Before accepting unsolicited funding requests for research projects, the foundation’s first goal is to grow the sum through additional gifts so that it will consistently yield enough cash to fund research that addresses pertinent needs in the horse industry.

“This endowment embodies everything near and dear to Michelle in one amazing effort,” said Dr Chris Sanchez, medical director of the Large Animal Hospital at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, where LeBlanc served on the faculty for 22 years.

“She loved the AAEP and everything for which it stands. Michelle also spent her life asking questions. She had an incredibly inquisitive and creative approach to her craft along with the passion to answer as many questions as possible. Her answers have helped horses, owners and veterinarians for decades.

“This endowment will allow her to continue answering questions vicariously for generations to come while hopefully also inspiring us all to continue asking.”

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