Sweeps Winner

Equine Therapies - MA

I must admit that I haven’t always wanted to be an equine veterinarian. When I was five, I was sure I would become a lion tamer, but horses were slightly more accessible than lions when I was a first-grade student. Exposed to horses at an early age, I can’t imagine a life without them. Horses are my vocation and my business. My equine sports medicine business, Equine Therapies, which includes chiropractic and acupuncture modalities, has evolved over thirty-two years. It’s taken me from the racetrack to backyard barns, equine-assisted therapy programs, the Massachusetts Mounted Police Unit, and the most prestigious horse shows in the country.
My practice’s focus is problem-solving for horses who are uncomfortable or not performing to their best abilities. Beyond that, I’m sometimes called out to determine why a horse is attacking others, isn’t eating, or has stopped lying down to sleep. Almost always, horses’ unusual behaviors are based on pain. I thrive on the difficulty of my cases and the reward I feel when I’ve alleviated a hidden discomfort. It is my job and my game.
While veterinary school prepared me well to treat my four-legged patients, there were no courses taught on managing staff, managing budgets, planning for the future, meeting payroll, or other basics required for running a business. I didn’t realize how much owning a business involved taking chances. Some of my greatest accomplishments are employing the most qualified team (currently made up of five exceptional women); learning how to leverage the cost of medications and business expenses in my pricing, especially over the last few years; and building and keeping a loyal clientele. Even in difficult financial times, the clientele my business has attracted will make sacrifices to keep their horses comfortable and help them thrive. I strive to stay ahead of my patients’ needs by choosing the best medical equipment I can afford. Sometimes I must prioritize which bills I can pay, which ones I need to charge to our credit card, and which weeks I may need to forgo a paycheck. A monetary award would allow me to update my website to extend my reach further into the community and become even more accessible.
Practicing my chosen profession includes another level of risk taking. I cannot count the number of times I have been bitten, kicked, stepped on, or smashed into barn walls. Yet, after all my years as a veterinarian, I am still in awe of horses’ kindness and their boundless generosity. And, I’ve had the honor of mentoring many students. Inspiring them to develop their passion into a veterinary career is my reward, and my favorite way to give back to the community.
A veterinary career is not for everyone, and every year more equine veterinarians retire than enter the field, creating pressure on vets’ practices. Managing my business requires taking chances. But when the work “fills you full” getting up on Monday morning isn’t as hard as it was before it was something to call mine.
Equine Therapies