DUNS vet Colin Tait is among the team of British vets down at Greenwich, London, inspecting the horses that have been arriving since Monday to compete in the 2012 London Olympics.
As a field treating vet Colin will join some of the most respected vets in Great Britain and the world in taking care of the horses during the Olympic Games after successfully passing the FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) exam, the international governing body for all Olympic equestrian disciplines, to become a FEI permitted treating veterinarian.
Colin said: “This is the first Olympics where the equestrian events have taken place in the centre of the host city. The backdrop of the city of London in the beautiful Greenwich Park as you look down from the Royal Observatory is awesome and I’m sure will provide some of the iconic images from these games.
“Given the location not only will this be special for the equestrian community but it should also create a stronger awareness of the equestrian sports with the wider community. Given the weather conditions the ground staff and build team have done a fantastic job.”
The 183 acre Greenwich Park is the oldest enclosed Royal Park and is also home to the National Maritime museum and of course Greenwich Mean Time. The site is host to the eventing, dressage, show jumping and three of the modern pentathlon events.
Colin first applied for the position as a treating vet at the Olympic two years ago and after a series of form filling and interviews he was selected. He believes his previous roles as a treating vet at Hickstead and racecourses, including Goodwood, stood him in good stead, as did his recent exam success; one of only a handful of people in Scotland to hold a postgraduate certificate in Equine Practice from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
As a member of the field vet team Colin will be providing veterinary cover to all the competitive and training areas as well as veterinary services 24 hours a day including a monitoring service in the stables overnight.
Part of their role is ensuring that drugs used by the horses comply with the FEI Equine anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations. Their scope will include the care of emergency and unscheduled illness and injuries to the horses and to work alongside a multidisciplinary team providing services in the veterinary clinic.
During this time Colin will liaise with riders, team vets and team managers from many different countries and FEI officials.
A state of the art veterinary clinic has been built on site to cope with any immediate veterinary incidents and its equipment includes endoscopy, radiography and ultrasonography and laboratory facilities.
The training grounds and a four furlong all weather gallop will be under constant veterinary supervision during the training sessions in the days leading up to the main competition and this will be an area where Colin will be heavily involved. On the cross-country day of the eventing competition the vet numbers swell to provide cover for the 28 fences (including two water complexes).
Colin is currently involved at the equine staging facility – six miles from the main Greenwich stables - where the competing horses are arriving from all over the world and being examined prior to transferring to the main Greenwich Park venue.
And during Colin’s ten day absence from his Equitait practice, his veterinary partner Jill Murdoch, who recently joined the vet team, will keep things running on the home front.