Equine athletes of all kinds—from racehorses to eventers and jumpers to family companions—in the Mid-Atlantic region now have access to an enhanced sports medicine facility in Virginia horse country.
The Youngkin Equine Soundness Clinic in the Fout Barn at Virginia Tech’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) at Morven Park was dedicated at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held on Nov. 18 in Leesburg, Virginia.
The renovation of the former open-air barn into a state-of-the-art sports medicine facility, made possible by a generous gift from Suzanne and Glenn Youngkin, of Great Falls, Virginia, expands the center’s capacity to provide cutting-edge diagnostics and treatment for lameness and other conditions that prevent equine athletes from performing at optimal potential.
“We are very honored to play a small role in Virginia Tech’s big vision for integrated veterinary, farrier, and specialty care to enhance horse soundness and health,” said Suzanne Youngkin, a member of the EMC Advisory Council.
The clinic—which comprises four holding stalls; two client waiting and observation areas; and a large open examination, diagnostic, and treatment area—is dedicated to the comprehensive care and treatment of the whole horse. Specialists will employ an integrated approach to patient soundness using both traditional medicine and complementary modalities, such as acupuncture and chiropractic care.
Michael Erskine, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, EMC director, noted the enhanced efficiency of specialty equipment and expertise now centrally located in the 3,500-square-foot space.
“This creates a unique health care model where specialists travel to the patient, as opposed to the horse having to rotate between different specialists,” he said.
Clinic services will include complex lameness diagnosis, advanced imaging, nonsurgical and surgical treatments, rehabilitation, and developing best practices for athletic wellness in collaboration with owners, referring veterinarians, trainers, farriers, and other health professionals.
Adjacent to the clinic is the podiatry center, where a team of farriers led by Paul Goodness works with veterinarians to develop plans to correct hoof imbalances, design shoeing for specific injuries, and support horses with laminitis.
Also neighboring the clinic is the center’s Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, which was founded and is run by Jennifer Barrett, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, ACVSMR, the Theodora Ayer Randolph Professor of Equine Surgery.
“The long-standing tradition of philanthropy at the EMC goes back to its founding in 1984 through a gift from the late Marion duPont Scott, the donation of 200 acres of land at Morven Park from the Westmoreland Davis Memorial Foundation, and private contributions,” said Mike Moyer, Virginia Tech’s associate vice president of development for colleges. “We are grateful for Suzanne and Glenn’s generous gift to Virginia Tech, as we continue to grow our footprint and impact in Northern Virginia.”
Gregory B. Daniel, interim dean of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, added, “We are thankful to the Youngkins for their partnership in advancing EMC and giving us an enhanced ability to support the equine community in Virginia and Maryland, which is central to our college mission. This is a significant step forward as we celebrate our shared commitment to advancing the center and ensuring that it remains on the leading edge of veterinary medicine to serve the equine community in the region.”
Erskine concluded, “The completion of this project marks the achievement of a major goal in our ‘Plan for a New Horizon’ operational plan and is a springboard for continued progress as we implement our new strategic plan.”
The next phase of the center’s soundness initiative includes construction of a covered arena (which will be connected to the Youngkin Clinic via a covered walkway) where specialists will be able to observe horses exercising on various surfaces to look for subtle gait differences for improved lameness diagnosis.
The Fout Barn—now home to the Youngkin Clinic—is named in honor of the late Paul R. Fout, a renowned horse breeder and trainer who died in 2005, leaving a legacy of enduring contributions to the horse industry and the EMC. The facility was dedicated in his name in April 2009.