K-State Veterinary Hospital Breaks Ground For New Equine Performance Testing Center

Life will be improving for all of the working horses in the country, thanks to the latest project underway at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

“The Veterinary Health Center hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for a $2.8 million state-of-the-art equine facility last Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 4, at Mosier Hall on the K-State campus,” according to Debbie Kirchhoff, KSU Foundation director of development for the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine.

An architectural rendering shows the 2.8 million state-of-the-art Equine Performance Testing Center to be constructed at Kansas State University in Manhattan.
An architectural rendering shows the 2.8 million state-of-the-art Equine Performance Testing Center to be constructed at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

The program featured recognition of donors, discussion about the future of equine care at the new health center, and climaxed with turnover of soil so construction can begin.

“The Equine Performance Testing Center will offer an indoor riding arena with hard and soft footing to better evaluate and diagnose lameness issues in equine patients,” Kirchhoff said.

There are plans for an indoor examination area, radiology suite, farrier space and a consultation room.

Nearly 50 percent of the roughly 2,500 services provided annually by the K-State Veterinary Health Center equine clinicians involve performance-related disorders, it was pointed out.

“This new center will provide safe, year-round access to consistent footing and shelter for patients, clients, students and clinicians,” Kirchhoff assured..

To be located on Kansas State University’s campus, within the Veterinary Health Center complex, the site is located east of Mosier Hall, with vehicle access from Denison Avenue, through the existing Veterinary Medicine Large Animal Service Road.

“Primary purpose of horse ownership is to maintain athletic activity, because when horses are unable to perform under saddle their utility is extremely limited,” Kirchhoff said.

For this reason, equine lameness examinations are an essential component of the maintenance and success of performance and ranch-type horses in Kansas.

“Patient examination and student teaching for accurate lameness detection are fundamental components required to meet the core mission of the equine section. For these reasons, it is paramount that our services meet the expectations of our clients, provide an optimal teaching environment and meet the expectations of our clients,” Kirchhoff said

The proposed complex will contain a soft footing riding arena with approximate dimensions of 70-feet-by-140-feet. In addition, it will contain an area of asphalt footing to include a 50-feet  diameter circular area for lunging purposes as well as a 15-feet-by-14-feet runway for comprehensive lameness examination.

“Purpose for the separate areas is to provide an area with soft footing for general evaluation and under saddle assessment, whereas the firm footing surface will provide an area for examination that will accentuate subtle lameness that may not be evident in the soft footing areas,” Kirchhoff informed.

Collectively, the soft footing arena and asphalt areas will allow for a comprehensive examination that will involve both in hand and under saddle examinations.

Shovels unearthed soil last Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 4, beginning construction on the Equine Performance Testing Center at Kansas State University in Manhattan.
Shovels unearthed soil last Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 4, beginning construction on the Equine Performance Testing Center at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

The indoor facility will enable the equine clinicians to examine patients and teach veterinary students 12 months of the year in a safe and effective environment.

Four holding stalls will be included for outpatient purposes. There will be an area for farrier services for horses that come to the center for examination and diagnostic testing. A radiographic imaging area has also been included in the design of the facility.

“A conference room will provide an area for client services, student education and outreach activities involving the local and regional Kansas community,” Kirchhoff noted.

Fund raising for the Equine Performance Testing Center has been underway for the past decade, and is ongoing with more than $800,000 of the project now funded by private donations to date, stated Kirchhoff, who can be contacted  about the availability of naming opportunities at debbiek@found.ksu.edu or calling her at 785-532-4378.

Initial plans indicate completion of the complex by late next year, 2016.