Andy Crawford, one of the surgeons from The Arundel Equine Hospital is currently making his way around North Europe with Vets With Horsepower.
Vets with Horsepower is a charity, orginally set up by Professor Derek Knottenbelt from Liverpool University, in which a group of equine specialists partake in long distance tours on motorbikes giving talks to other vets and members of the public on veterinary topics. The fees raised by these talks are all donated to two charities:-
'Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust' www.gambiahorseanddonkey.org.uk
'The Smile Train' www.smiletrain.org.uk
Andy's first blog....
I left Arundel on Friday afternoon on the bike and before I had got to Horsham I had to stop to put on wet weather gear! Great, only 2700 miles to go! I met up with Professors Roger Smith and Josh Slater at Folkestone and we rode the three bikes in the rain to Antwerp on Friday night. The next day took us 400 miles through industrial Holland beyond Eindhoven where we finally got into green countryside with small farms and yards with lots of very smart Warmbloods and a big selection of other breeds including ponies and a few heavy horses. It was a relief to see a gentle landscape with trees, grass paddocks and horses after so many miles of industry. The rest of the day was a high speed blast up the German autobahns past the industrial centers of Essen and Dortmund, across the Rhine and the Ruhr and then a turn northwards through more horse country to Munster and then onto Bremen and finally Hamburg.
We had a 30 hour ferry journey to Helsinki which gave us time to work on our talks for the lecture tour this week and, of course, experience our first Scandinavian sauna. We discovered two things: first the Finns are passionate about saunas, and everyone goes for at least one sauna a day, second, the Finns do everything naked - not for the fainthearted! (and certainly not for us).
We arrived in Helsinki the next morning and met up with the main bike group to give our first lectures of the Scandinavian leg. The lectures covered flu vaccination, tendon injuries, back problems, sedation and I spoke on advanced diagnostic imaging in the horse including scintigraphy, MRI, and CT. We had 55 delegates which was great and an unexpectedly large turnout because this is normally a holiday in Finland. We are back on the ferry this evening for a night crossing to Stockholm and tomorrow morning's lectures. Not sure whether we will be brave enough to try the sauna again......