Your Guide to Equine Health Care

A Day in the Life of an Equitarian

Learn how veterinarians are helping the working equids of the developing world and their owners. In this article, Dr. Ashleigh Leighton Kornatowski shares a behind-the-scenes look at a typical day on an equitarian trip.

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A Day in the Life of an Equitarian
The first patient of the day was a 4-day-old filly the team hypothesized was a dummy foal. | Photo: Courtesy Dr. Ashley Leighton Kornatowski

Veterinarians help the working equids of the developing world and their owners

Like most equine veterinarians, my passion is horse health and welfare. In my day-to-day life I enjoy mobile equine practice in rural New England, but the world’s working horses hold a special place in my heart. In January 2016 I joined a team of 30 volunteers, including veterinarians, vet techs, vet students, undergraduate students, PhDs, a saddler, and a farrier, on the Osa Peninsula, in southwestern Costa Rica, to perform a week of equitarian work.

Equitarians are veterinarians or other caregivers who assist a community by providing veterinary care to working equids and education to their owners. Throughout the developing world working equids are an essential part of the local economy and family life. Unfortunately, only a very small percentage of the world’s veterinarians serve these areas. Equitarian work trips to remote developing regions are important to help correct this disparity. By helping the horses, donkeys, and mules in underserved areas, we help not only the animals but also the families who rely on them for income, transportation, water, and so much more.

So, what’s a “typical” day like on one of these trips? Here’s a

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Ashley Leighton Kornatowski, VMD is the co-owner of Twin Pines Equine Veterinary Services, a mobile equine practice in Griswold, Connecticut.

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