Why I’m an Equine Veterinarian

Being an equine veterinarian isn’t always easy, but one practitioner says it’s cases like this that make it all worthwhile.
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Why I Do This
Thanks to his dedicated care team, Wizard survived severe injuries after colliding with a trailer and has returned to eventing, rising to the Advanced level with Sally Cousins (pictured). | Photo: Callie Heroux Photography, Courtesy of Sally Cousins

Sometimes being a horse vet is a struggle. Long hours, tough conditions, and the occasional requirement for clairvoyance are only some of the challenges. There are horses, however, that more than serve to remind me why I have dedicated my life to equine veterinary medicine. Wizard is one of those horses.

It had been a long, hot day on the cross-country course at the Virginia Horse Trials in October 2016, where I was working as an on-course vet. I had already called to cancel dinner plans because the day was reaching so far into the evening. At last, the final horse galloped by my station on the top of the hill. I was packing up my stuff when my colleague Dr. Julia Hecking asked me to report to the stable area to help out with a horse that had been loose on the grounds.

The horse was Wizard, a 2008 Thoroughbred gelding who was competing in the CCI** with owner Sally Cousins. He had completed the challenging cross-country phase without jumping faults and returned to his stall. While he was being groomed, he spooked and broke free, bolting down the road toward the highway and back onto the grounds again. He sustained severe injuries from colliding with a trailer on the show grounds

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Written by:

Tracy E. Norman, VMD, Dipl. ACVIM, practices at Blue Ridge Equine Clinic, in Earlysville, Virginia.

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