EquiBreed NZ are the sponsors of
- EquiBreed and VDL Top-Ranking Mare Series
- EquiBreed Leading Stallion Series
Dr Lee Morris has a simple ethos behind her sponsorship of two ESNZ Jumping series.
“If you create opportunities to breed the best with the best you will increase your chances of success,” she says. “Many of our clients are showjumpers, ranging in age from young children to the more senior – that’s a big part of what we love about showjumping. It is a sport for everybody. They are a great combination of skill, bravery and horsemanship.”
As one of those younger riders, Lee loved horses but didn’t own her own thanks to being “stuck” in boarding school. “I thought I would become a vet so I could work with them instead,” she says. Lee has been professionally involved with equines in her chosen profession since 1992. “I love my work and can’t believe it has actually been nearly 30 years . . . time really does fly when you are having fun.”
But there is more to it than just fun at EquiBreed. The Waikato based specialist veterinary equine reproductive company is one of Australasia’s leaders. Last year they made history with the birth of New Zealand’s first foal produced by an invitro fertility treatment using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
Each year, the prizes for both the leading mare and stallion series includes access to their specialist treatment, and it brings excitement from both the team at EquiBreed and the winners.
“We love watching progeny from the prizes become amazing,” says Lee. “This is exemplified by the likes of Popeye (by Cardento VDL out of Cufflink) who is on the High Performance Squad and been representing New Zealand at Nations Cup level.”
Lee says the whole team at EquiBreed is passionate about making babies and watching nature at work. “It is about the combination of biology and making dreams a reality – it is such a long journey and we are involved right at the beginning. We love letting clients know when their horses are pregnant – there is so much excitement and joy. Then the next year, when the mares return with their foals, we get to play with them . . . that includes lots of cuddles. We are so honoured to work with the best horses and owners from all over New Zealand.”
Their research programme continues to break new ground, and includes epididymal sperm, unblocking oviducts, stem cell treatments for lameness, stallion nutrition and fertility, placentitis treatments, foal drench resistance, low dose insemination, sex-sorted semen and of course EquiBreed’s ICSI programme to treat fertility and increase access to genetic improvement . . . among so much more.
Winter is generally a great time for research, analysing results, collaborating with scientists and going to conferences. However, this year the conferences have been cancelled due to COVID, so Lee will be busy writing up papers and preparing webinars during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown.
“Being involved in research keeps us at the cutting edge and in communication with colleagues from around the world,” says Lee. “We love bringing the world to New Zealand to make sure Kiwi breeders have access to the latest technologies. These research developments can take a while to become reality, but ultimately increase opportunities for breeders which will make breeding more cost effective.”
Lee is always happy to talk to people about what they do and how they can help Kiwi showjumpers get the absolute best out of their individual breeding programmes.
For more information, head to www.equibreed.co.nz .
By Diana Dobson
14 March 2020