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Dr Sue Dyson MA, Vet MB, PhD, DEO, Dip ECVSMR, FRCVS announces her retirement from the Animal Health Trust

The Saddle Research Trust would like to convey very best wishes to Sue in her retirement. We are absolutely delighted that she will continue in her role as SRT Veterinary Advisor, a position she has held from our beginning in 2009. Sue works tirelessly to promote the welfare and performance of ridden horses and her horseman's eye, knowledge, experience and thoroughness are legendary. Sue’s lifetime of scientific research has been fundamental in improving the standards of equine welfare and performance and her generosity in sharing this has set a wonderful example throughout the equine industry.
SRT Director, Dr. Anne Bondi, said, “I first met Sue in 1992. I had just sold my good event horse to an American rider for a substantial sum and naturally the buyer wanted the best vetting in the UK, so I was asked to take my horse to be examined at the Animal Health Trust by Sue. My lovely horse had just been placed at Windsor Horse Trials, so naturally I was not worried that he might fail. I was horrified when Sue gave him the thumbs down and the sale fell through. Unaware of Sue’s feisty reputation, I said to her that since she had failed the horse, she could fix it! But fix it she did, and we went on to be placed at Blenheim Horse Trials. Sue has since “fixed” many horses of mine over the years and we have become good friends in the process. I have always said that when she retires, I will have to stop riding because I cannot imagine trying to keep horses sound and happy without her help. I am definitely not ready to hang my boots up any time soon, so am mightily relieved that Sue will continue working as a consultant.”

Sue won the SRT Welfare and Performance Practitioner Award at the 3rd Saddle Research Trust International Conference in December last year. The result was determined by public vote and Sue moved everyone at the awards ceremony with her heartfelt acceptance speech. Sue said, “I have received many awards over the course of my career, but this is the first time that I have won by public vote and this honour is very humbling.” An emotional Sue was clearly close to tears; not a sight that many people will be familiar with. Sue’s professionalism and self-discipline have meant that every day, she has had to deal with difficult situations and often be the bearer of bad news. But many owners of horses that Sue has treated over the years will testify to Sue’s soft centre of compassion, kindness and empathy, especially when owners are faced with heart-breaking decisions. This level of pressure that many vets work under all day, every day, throughout their careers sadly remains under-recognised by those outside the profession. Anne Bondi said, “I nicknamed Sue ‘The Duracell Bunny’ because her batteries just never seem to give up. I have never known anyone so driven or able to achieve so much. Her workload at the AHT was phenomenal and every year the new interns would struggle in vain to keep up with her. She never says ‘no’ and always finds time to help people around her when they need it.” 
Sue has had to make many personal sacrifices during her career. Anne continues, “When I first met her, Sue was still competing and had a good horse, but although she kept him at livery very close to the AHT, she still struggled to fit riding in with her demanding job. She was unable to take time off work to compete and eventually had to make the tough decision to quit riding. Having competed to a high level before joining the AHT, she was simply not willing to settle for doing something by half. I think that sums Sue up. I look forward to seeing Sue taking up the reins again and being able to enjoy the sport she loves once more. ”
A career of outstanding achievements

Sue qualified from the University of Cambridge in 1980 and following award of a Thouron Scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, she completed an Internship in Large Animal Medicine and Surgery at New Bolton Centre. Sue then spent a year in private equine practice in Pennsylvania, before returning to Great Britain to take a position in clinical orthopaedics in the Centre for Equine Studies of the Animal Health Trust, Newmarket where she ran a clinical referral service for lameness and poor performance, attracting clients from all over the United Kingdom, Ireland and continental Europe for 37 years.
Sue was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and the RCVS Diploma in Equine Orthopaedics. She was awarded a PhD by the University of Helsinki and is recognised as a Specialist in Equine Orthopaedics by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. She is a Founding Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. 
Sue has lectured internationally and published widely on equine orthopaedics and diagnostic imaging, has been an examiner for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and for the Royal College Fellowship, has acted as an advisor for candidates for the RCVS Certificates and as a co-supervisor of PhD students. Sue is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of many scientific journals and acts as a regular peer reviewer for many veterinary journals. Sue has been a long-standing member of Council of the British Equine Veterinary Association and is a past President. She has also been a long-standing member of the Board of the World Equine Veterinary Association and Vice-President.
Sue has received many awards throughout her long and distinguished career:
  • Richard Hartley Clinical Prize by the Equine Veterinary Journal 
  • British Equine Veterinary Association John Hickman Orthopaedic Award for outstanding contributions to equine orthopaedics
  • Honorary Member of the British Equine Veterinary Association
  • American Publishers award for excellence in professional and scholarly publishing 
  • Home of Rest for Horses Clinical Evidence Literary Prize awarded by the Equine Veterinary Journal
  • Tierklinik Hochmoor award for outstanding, innovative and lasting contributions to equine veterinary medicine worldwide 
  • Associate of the European College of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging
  • BEVA Congress Voorjaarsdagen Award for the best clinical research presentation
  • International Veterinary Radiology Association J Kevin Kealy Award for scientific contributions to veterinary radiology
  • International Equine Veterinarians Hall of Fame
  • American Association of Equine Practitioners Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture
  • Animal Health Trust Veterinary Achievement Award
  • Honorary member of Societa Italiana Veterinari Per Equini (SIVE), Italy 
  • University of Kentucky Equine Research Hall of Fame
    Sue also holds the Instructors and Stable Managers Certificates of the British Horse Society (BHSI) and has competed at advanced level in both horse trials and show jumping, producing horses that have subsequently competed successfully at the Olympic Games and World Equestrian Games. She is a former veterinary advisor to British Eventing. 
Watch the full presentation from the 3rd Saddle Research Trust International Conference here

Could we be your charity of the year?

The Saddle Research Trust (reg. charity no.1182661) aims to improve the welfare and performance of the ridden horse and rider via research and education. We make this knowledge available to every rider, owner, practitioner and student.

Funding is vital to continue to make this possible. Following on from the success of 2018's conference, we're already looking at some exciting new projects!
If you, your organisation, or event would like to make the Saddle Research Trust your chosen charity for 2019, we'd be delighted to hear from you. Please get in touch by emailing us at or telephone 07948 303 281.
Dates for your diary:
Equine Performance Conference,  Bishop Burton, 14th July 2019
The annual Equine Performance Conference will take place at Bishop Burton College on the 13 and 14 July 2019.

Join us as we follow the theme "Promoting Career Longevity for Horse and Rider", encompassing a range of plenary lectures and practical demonstrations from industry experts and researchers from a variety of fields.
Amongst a great line-up of speakers, SRT Director Dr. Anne Bondi will give a presentation on “The effects of riding on the horse”, and SRT Veterinary Advisor Dr. Sue Dyson will give a presentation “Early recognition of musculoskeletal pain: what are the warning signs?”.  Anne Bondi and Sue Dyson will jointly give a live demonstration of the horse, rider saddle interaction.

For more information and to book tickets:

Equinology: Principles of Saddle Fitting courses

A foundation course that provides students with theoretical principles of saddle fitting and their practical application. Participants will learn a comprehensive system for the evaluation of the three elements of the horse, saddle and rider interaction, both individually and collectively. 

The course content will enhance the skills of the participants by teaching how to recognise saddle fitting issues, address common problems and when to refer to specialists. The format of the 4-day course guides the participants through the progressive assessment steps of horse, saddle and rider interaction with a blend of illustrated lectures that discuss the latest scientific research, live demonstrations and hands-on practical sessions with horses and riders.  

Further 4-day courses, run by Equinology, will be held on the following dates with Saddle Research Trust Director, Dr Anne Bondi:

Aug 1 - 4, Essex, UK
Nov 4 – 7, California, USA
Nov 11 – 14, Canada

Feb 24 – 27, South Africa


Save the Date!

The 4th Saddle Research Trust International Conference

    11th December 2021 Nottingham 

Coming soon in our next June edition!

Prof Lars Roepstorff presents Rider 
Locomotion and how to improve rider skills.

Plus news of an exciting new welfare and performance Research Award.
You are welcome to share this newsletter and contents. Please reference Saddle Research Trust when you do.

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Registered Charity no. 1182661

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