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Saturday, July 14, 2007

PAG '07: Behind the Scenes with USEF Veterinarian Rick Mitchell

Here's a familiar face to anyone in the sport horse world. Rick Mitchell DVM is one of the founders of Fairfield Equine Associates in Newtown, Connecticut. Fairfield is considered one of the most high-tech practices in the East and certainly has one of the most sophisticated clinics and equipment. The practice is devoted exclusively to lameness diagnostics. Dr Mitchell has been "team" vet for the USA for several international FEI-level events and is the vet for the dressage team this year in Brazil.

Dr. Mitchell at work on US dressage team horse Sagacious HF, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding who is currently at the top of the leader board at the end of the first day of competition at the 2007 Pan Am Games in Brazil. Holding the horse is Mae Williams, who is Lauren Sammis's groom. She formerly worked for Hyperion Farm, owners of the horse, and was a working student at Knoll Farm on Long Island, home of dressage trainer Anne Gribbons.
Apparently there was some concern about equipment at the new equine hospital at the equestrian center in Brazil, so Team USA did not "travel light" when it came to the list of supplies and vet equipment to pack. Here you see Dr Mitchell and his wife Julie unpacking the "vet box" on arrival. Among the gear is a complete spare set of shoes for each horse. I believe most or all of the horses were shod by Wellington, Florida farrier (and Hoofcare & Lameness Journal subscriber) Don Later while they were in quarantine in Wellington.

Thanks to Lauren Sammis of the USA dressage team for sending home these photos!

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