The science behind SPILLERS is provided by the Equine Studies Group at the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition. WALTHAM is a leading scientific authority that focuses on the nutrition and wellbeing of horses along with other companion animals such as dogs, cats, birds and fish.
The WALTHAM Equine Studies Group, headed by Professor Pat Harris MA PhD, VetMB DipECVCN MRCVS and actively supported by Clare Barfoot BSc (Hons) RNutr who heads up Research & Development at SPILLERS, has collaborated with key research institutes and universities around the world for over 20 years and its work remains at the forefront of equine nutritional science.
The WALTHAM Equine Studies Group is active in many areas of nutritional research but focuses in three key areas;
- Obesity - In horses and ponies, obesity can contribute to a number of health issues. The WALTHAM initiated International Obesity Research Consortium seeks to improve our understanding of the causes and effects of obesity as well as how best to manage overweight and obese animals.
- Laminitis - The WALTHAM initiated International Laminitis Research Consortium is dedicated to enhancing our understanding of this very painful and debilitating condition. Work is particularly focusing on how to identify individuals who are at increased risk and how their management can be supported through nutrition.
- Age related care - WALTHAM has been actively working in this key area for many years through ongoing collaborative projects with Michigan/Minnesota in the US and Liverpool/Surrey/Aberystwyth in the UK. More recently the WALTHAM Equine Studies Group has formed a new research partnership with the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center another internationally recognised equine research facility. Through these collaborations, WALTHAM will continue to support research dedicated to advancing the science of senior horse nutrition, ultimately helping horse owners keep their horses and ponies happy and healthier for longer.
- Meet Professor Pat Harris
After qualifying from the University of Cambridge Veterinary School in 1983, Dr. Pat Harris completed her PhD at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket into the Equine Rhabdomyolysis Syndrome. She joined the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition in 1995 and is responsible for the research carried out by the WALTHAM Equine Studies group in collaboration with experts at institutes and universities around the world. This research provides the science behind the SPILLERS brand. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Equine Studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool, an Honorary Professor in Equine Nutrition, University of Nottingham, School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, and an Adjunct Professor at University of Queensland Australia.
Dr. Harris is a European Specialist in Veterinary Clinical and Comparative Nutrition, in addition to being a Past President of the British Equine Veterinary Association. She is also a member of the board of American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition and the US based equine Science Society as well as the Vice president of the European Society of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition. She is also a member of the Scientific advisory group to the British Equestrian Federation’s World Class Performance team and serves on the Veterinary Advisory committee of World Horse Welfare. She is the author or co-author of over 500 scientific papers, abstracts and book chapters and recently was the co-editor of, and an author in, the 2013 textbook Equine Applied and Clinical Nutrition: Health, Welfare and Nutrition. She was also a co-author of the two nutrition chapters in the revised 2014 Equine Sports Medicine & Surgery textbook.
When not working, Pat enjoys spending time with her 2 horses, ex-novice eventer Patrick and his aged (>30 year old) mother Sherrie plus their overweight pony companion Nellie. Sherrie requires extra care and attention these days as for the past 4 years, she has not been able to eat long or short fibre and so relies on regular provision of a pre-soaked ground fibre based diet as well as access to grass on which she quids.
- Meet Clare Barfoot
Clare graduated with a degree in Animal Science from The University of Newcastle upon Tyne having always shown a passion for animals but particularly horses. Horses and ponies have always played a central role in Clare’s life after being born into a horse mad family. Through Pony Club and beyond Clare has tried her hand sometimes successfully, sometimes not at most equestrian disciplines. Nowadays Clare’s riding endeavours are restricted to schooling and hacking on her Welsh Section D mare Missy (aka the pocket rocket!) who she backed and brought on herself.
Clare started her career as a pig and poultry nutritionist where she learnt to formulate and design nutritional products before moving to SPILLERS which enabled her to combine her passion for horses and nutrition. Clare is a registered equine nutritionist with the Association of Nutrition and today has a pivotal role in developing our feeds, looking after all our iconic recipes, overseeing our Care-Line and working very closely with Dr. Pat Harris to steer our extensive research program where she has co-authored numerous peer-reviewed papers on equine nutrition and management. With a particular interest in laminitis, Clare sits on the WALTHAM International Laminitis and Obesity symposium where her role is to translate the science from our research into practical advice for horse owners and into product innovation so our products remain at the forefront of nutritional thinking.
As well as Clare’s role for SPILLERS she sits on the British Equestrian Trade Association’s Feed Committee to ensure the needs of the industry are represented at national level, she also sits on the British Horse Society’s Nutrition Advisory Group helping to improve nutritional education for horse owners, grooms and instructors.