When the first „Trade exhibition for equestrian sport, leisure riding and equine husbandry“ - which was to go down in history as „EQUITANA Fair“ - took place, this event also caught the attention of two veterinarians from Münsterland, Dr. B. Huskamp and his colleague Dr. Gerhard Böckenhoff. During a visit to the Essen trade fair grounds, they developed the idea of coupling this interesting event with a meeting for veterinarians. They envisioned a specialist conference on equine veterinary medicine to serve as continuing education particularly for practising vets. And just as the EQUITANA fair has since come to set new standards for the entire equestrian sports industry, this conference, which takes place biennially, has developed into one of the most important and - with more than 600 participants - most frequented veterinary conferences in the German-speaking area.
The first Tagung über Pferdekrankheiten took place on 21 and 22 February 1975 at the Congress Center Ost and was already visited by 150 participants. Among others, one of the speakers at this first conference was Prof. Dr. H. Merkt from Hanover with a presentation on the “Importance of the veterinarian for the equine breeding industry”, a topic which was doubtlessly particularly suited to the context of the event. At the time, conferences for veterinary surgeons were considered to be mainly theoretical events where university professors presented their knowledge and proclaimed their doctrine. Bernhard Huskamp, who since 1967 ran one of the first and most famous private equine clinics of the time, knew exactly what veterinarians „in the field“ were interested in and set the focus of the conference topics accordingly. Thanks to his assistant Jürgens Erbslöh, who had recently conducted a study on thoroughbreds at Newmarket, UK, there were already two big names of international veterinary medicine invited to speak at the first conference: L. B. Jeffcott with a presentation on passive immunity in the neonatal foal and P. D. Rossdale, who lectured on metabolic disorders in the neonatal foal. Those two experts, whose names are known worldwide to this day, could be presented to the participants of the first conference.
Naturally, the conference was to be topped off with some fun and glamour. In the spacious halls of the EQUITANA, the participants could catch up on the newest trends in equine breeding or equestrian sports. In the conference foyer, however, there also formed the nucleus of the eventual trade exhibition which became ever more extensive and diverse in the years to come. Many of the exhibitors have remained loyal to the Tagung über Pferdekrankheiten from the beginning to this day. Among them is the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim but also some smaller, family-run companies like Albrecht from Aulendorf, who have enhanced the conference with their presence since 1973.
Since the nineteen-nineties, due to the presence of international speakers, international industrial partners and participants from abroad, the conference has increasingly become an international event. Since 2011, the first day of the congress is offered in two languages (German/English), thus enabling not only German participants to follow the interesting presentations of the internationally renowned speakers.
By now, the Tagung über Pferdekrankheiten has become a popular venue for many veterinarians. Over two days, the participants enjoy a friendly, inspiring atmosphere where it is fun to exchange views with fellow veterinarians and to comment the latest news from the field of veterinary medicine.
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The proceedings of the previous Tagung über Pferdekrankheiten with abstracts of all presentations can be ordered either through wak Verlag or through the book-selling trade (ISBN 978-3-9812848-6-7, 28 Euro).
The next edition, planned for March 2021, has been cancelled due to the general pandemic situation.