Reynolds Cowles, DVM, founder of Blue Ridge Equine Clinic, is a 1967 graduate of Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine and has been in Albemarle County since graduation. He is involved in the day to day activities of Blue Ridge Equine Clinic, and provides farm calls and clinic services to clients throughout the practice. The bulk of his practice concerns lameness in performance and racing horses. His hobbies include foxhunting, bird shooting and fly-fishing.
Reynolds has been deeply involved with the Virginia horse industry for 25 years and has served in many capacities. He is Vice President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP),a past board member of the AAEP and served as Treasurer from 2005-2008. He has also served on the Advisory Board of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and the Advisory Committee for the Marion Dupont Scott Equine Center. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association (which awarded him the Distinguished Veterinarian Award in 2009), the Virginia Association of Equine Practitioners, and is a past president of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association. He currently serves as president of the Farmington Hunt Club. Reynolds, his wife Evelyn, and a host of horses and dogs live in Albemarle County at Yadkin Farm.
Donovan Dagner, DVM, managing partner of Blue Ridge Equine Clinic, grew up on a training farm in New Jersey where he gained an appreciation for horses and the people who work with them. He graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995 and completed an internship at Apex Veterinary Hospital in North Carolina before joining Blue Ridge Equine Clinic in 1996.
His current interests include dentistry, lameness and reproductive services, such as embryo transfer. He provides these services as well as all routine health care to the clients of Blue Ridge Equine Clinic at their farms as well as at the clinic. His wife Anne is also a veterinarian. They live in Crozet with their daughters, Cecelia and Calla. They all enjoy hiking and camping as well as any excuse to go to the beach.
Steve Trostle, DVM, ACVS, ACVSMR was born and raised on a dairy and livestock farm in York, Pennsylvania. He received his DVM from the University of Tennessee in 1990. He completed a surgical residency at the University of Wisconsin and achieved board certification in surgery in 1996, and diplomate status in American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (Equine) in 2013. After a year as a clinical instructor in surgery and nuclear medicine at the Marion DuPont Scott Equine Medical Center, he returned to Wisconsin to assume a faculty position at the veterinary teaching hospital in 1995.
In 2001 he decided to leave academia, and joined the San Diego based referral practice, San Luis Rey Equine Hospital. In 2004 he returned to the East Coast to join the staff at Blue Ridge Equine Clinic. Steve will serve on the Board of Directors for the American Associate of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) from 2012 – 2014 and sits on various committees and sub-committees. He and his wife Cheryl, a small animal veterinarian, live in Earlysville with their son, Justin, and their daughter, Kelsey. They enjoy all forms of outdoor activities.
Kelly Giunta, VMD, is originally from southern New Jersey where she grew up riding hunters and jumpers. Prior to attending veterinary school, she obtained a Master’s degree in Genetics and performed biomedical research. Her passion for horses led her to pursue a veterinary degree at the University of Pennsylvania. Following graduation, she completed an internship at Southwest Equine Medical and Surgical Center in Scottsdale, AZ. Next, she joined Equine Sports Medicine in Texas, where she focused on sports medicine and lameness and followed the AQHA and NRHA circuits as a horse show veterinarian. She joined Blue Ridge Equine Clinic in 2010.
Dr. Giunta’s professional interests include lameness, sports medicine, and diagnostic imaging. She also practices acupuncture and completed her training at the Chi Institute in Florida. Her personal interests include travel, hiking, foxhunting and eventing.
Tabby Moore, DVM, a native of the Shenandoah Valley, joined Blue Ridge Equine Clinic in October 2007 to head up our Valley Division. She is a 1996 graduate of VMRCVM at Virginia Tech. She is certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association and has special interests in biomechanics and lameness. Tabby has been practicing in the Valley area for over 15 years treating performance horses of many breeds and disciplines.
Her practice focus is on lameness, sports medicine, and chiropractic therapy. Dr. Moore is currently serving on the board of the Virginia Association of Equine Practitioners and donates services to local therapeutic riding centers and enjoys mentoring students interested in her area of expertise. She enjoys spending time with her family on their farm near Raphine, VA.
Julia Hecking, DVM, CVA, is originally from Richmond, VA but has lived and worked in the Valley for many years at a busy breeding farm. She completed her undergraduate studies at Virginia Tech and then received her DVM from the University of Minnesota. After graduation she completed an equine internship at Blue Ridge Equine Clinic. After finishing her internship, she was thrilled to be coming back to the Valley and working with Dr. Tabby Moore. She enjoys working on a variety of breeds and disciplines of all different levels.
Her special interests include reproductive work, lameness/sports medicine, dentistry and preventative medicine. She is a certified veterinary acupuncturist and completed her training at the Chi Institute in Florida. She is a member of both the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the Virginia Association of Equine Practitioners. Dr. Hecking lives in Goshen, and in her free time she enjoys foxhunting and working cattle, along with anything outdoors.
Tracy Norman, VMD, ACVIM, CVA grew up in Pennsylvania, where she enjoyed foxhunting. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine in 2002 and completed an internship at Blue Ridge Equine in 2003. She completed an internal medicine residency at Texas A&M University, and is board certified in large animal internal medicine (equine focus). She has completed training in veterinary acupuncture at the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. She has spent 6 years as an academic veterinarian at Texas A&M focusing on internal medicine and advanced ultrasound techniques. While there, she acted as the service chief for internal medicine and ultrasound and authored a number of scientific papers on internal medicine and ultrasound. Dr. Norman’s professional interests include diagnostic and interventional ultrasound, sports medicine, and internal medicine. She is very active in the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
Jennifer LaPlume, VMD, a native of Washington DC and lifelong horse person, grew up riding, showing and caring for horses since the age of eight. Her riding background is primarily in the hunter jumper world, and has recently expanded into the exciting world of eventing. Dr. LaPlume received her VMD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Upon completing an Internship at Fox Run Equine Hospital in Pittsburg PA, she joined Middleburg Equine Clinic in Middleburg VA for seven years, where she worked primarily on hunters, foxhunters and eventers. She eventually moved south to Albemarle County to be closer to her and her husband’s families. She owned Ragged Mountain Equine Services for eight years before merging practices with Blue Ridge Equine Clinic in 2015.
Marcos Santos, DVM, MS, was interested in horses even before he considered becoming a veterinarian, participating in both rodeos and show jumping in his native country of Brazil. He received his DVM degree in 2008 from the Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil. Following graduation, Dr. Santos completed an equine medicine and surgery internship at The Equine Center (2008-2009), then finished two concurrent specialty internships in equine surgery; Hagyard (2009-2010) and University of Illinois (2010-2011), prior to his surgical residency and Master’s program at the University of Illinois. After 4 years in Illinois, Dr. Santos and his wife moved to Virginia, where he assumed a faculty position at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg as a Clinical Instructor in Large Animal Surgery, prior to joining the team at Blue Ridge Equine Clinic in 2016. He will be sitting for surgical boards in 2017. He specializes in lameness and equine emergency services. His current professional interests include sport horse medicine, lameness, saddle fitting, diagnostic imaging, and surgery. He and his wife Kristin, a small animal veterinarian, live in Charlottesville, and enjoy outdoor activities, including showing in Dressage and Show Jumping.
Dr. Damita Hansen was raised in the beautiful Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, Canada. Growing up, she was an avid eventer and Pony Clubber, reaching the HA level. She went on to develop a love of dressage riding and fox hunting. She is currently an active member (with colors) of the only hunt club in Atlantic Canada. After attending St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia for a Bachelor of Science, Damita moved to Prince Edward Island, Canada to receive her veterinary degree from the Atlantic Veterinary College. During school, she held an executive position in the Student Chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, as well as discovered an interest in integrative medicine. She became a certified Equine Massage Therapist in 2014. Other interests include equine reproduction and sports medicine. Damita is very excited to escape to the beautiful Blue Ridge from the cold Canadian winter. She is eager to check out the local fox hunting scene, as well as take in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Virginia.
Dr. Luvie Abell is originally from New Hampshire and now calls the D.C. area home. She competed in her first horse show at 5 years old and continued riding hunters and jumpers through college. With dreams of being an equine vet since before she can remember, she earned a Bachelor’s in Animal Science with a focus in Pre-Veterinary Science from the University of Vermont. Luvie then moved to Blacksburg and earned her veterinary degree from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech. During veterinary school, Luvie served as Vice President of her class and was an active member of VMCVM’s student chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Her veterinary interests include sports medicine, emergency and preventative care. Luvie is thrilled to be joining the team at Blue Ridge and is looking forward to exploring Charlottesville with her dogs, Philo and Maple.
Malorie Kemmerer, LVT began riding at the age of 5, worked on an Arabian farm through high school, and worked for a hunter/jumper operation during college, at which time she retired her Arabian mare from competitive riding. She graduated in ’08 from BRCC with an Associates Degree in Veterinary Technology, and began working at Blue Ridge Equine Clinic that year. She enjoys everything about Veterinary medicine, but mostly helping the hard-working horses. Her favorite thing about work is experiencing firsthand the bond between a good horse and a good owner, and also getting to be part of some pretty miraculous medical and surgical interventions. Malorie’s hobbies include running, camping, sailing, waterskiing, and spending time with her husband and family.
Ethnie Gillespie, LVT is a Charlottesville local, she grew up riding and working at a hunter/jumper barn in Keswick, VA. She has always loved medicine, and spent time in high school and college shadowing with her local ambulatory equine veterinarian. She worked in the surgical clinic at the local SPCA, as well as part-time at a small animal private practice in Orange, VA before attending technician school. She graduated from BRCC veterinary technology program in 2015, and worked as a technician for Blue Ridge Equine’s Valley division in Staunton before transferring to work at the hospital in Earlysville in September 2016. She loves being part of the local horse community, and being a hands-on part of the miracles worked every day by such a talented and dedicated team!
April Shultz was raised in a very small town called Doe Hill, barely within the Virginia line. She was fortunate to begin riding when she was eight years old at Rocking A Ranch, 3 miles from her home. There, she learned to start young horses and engaged in working cattle on horseback for ten years. After graduation, she completed basic training in the Virginia Army National Guard, then studied Business Management at Blue Ridge Community College. In 2006, she began an eight year stint as Head Trainer at Cedar Creek Stables in Staunton, where she started countless young horses, and managed broodmares and stallions. Her employment there was briefly interrupted when she was deployed to Iraq as a truck driver. She’s been fortunate to work with great trainers such as Allison Brock, Matt McGlaughlin, Jim Kofford, Scott Hassler and Peter Atkins. April has trained horses up to Fourth Level, competed through PSG, and presented many mares and stallions for inspections and performance tests. After 20 years of starting horses, she made the much needed decision to step down from training young horses and join the BREC team. She lives in Staunton with her husband, farrier Brandon Shultz and their multiple animals.
Anne Merritt, LVT grew up in Indiana, just south of Indianapolis. Riding sporadically as a kid, she was always animal crazy. This eventually led her to Purdue University to pursue a degree in Animal Sciences. It was at Purdue that she started riding regularly with the equestrian team and then the Polo club, as well as working for local barns. She found a new passion in eventing, and dabbled around in it when possible. Following graduation, she worked with Ossabaw Swine at a research facility in northwestern Indiana. After several years, she made the decision to go back to school for her veterinary technology degree. It was at the end of her schooling that she heard of Blue Ridge Equine Clinic, and was luckily accepted to do her externship here. She fell in love with the area, making the decision to move to Virginia after graduation. Anne worked in northern Virginia for a year before a position became available in the Valley division of BREC. She was very lucky to be able to balance work with riding, and thoroughly enjoyed getting out in to the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley with the wonderful vets she worked with. She now works in the Earlysville hospital, has her old man horse nearby, and loves hiking and running with her dog.
Kenzie Smith, LVT is originally from the south shore of Massachusetts where she became a working student at a dressage barn from the age of ten to 17. After a few years away from horses she picked up another working student position at a small equestrian center, rekindling her love for horses. In 2011 she moved to Denver, CO. for some new scenery and enrolled in the vet tech. program at Bel-rea Institute of Veterinary Technology in 2013. She completed her technical internship at the Littleton Equine Medical Center in Littleton, CO and graduated in 2015. Wanting another change of scenery and to be back on the east coast she visited Charlottesville and BREC in the fall of 2015 and decided it was the perfect spot to start her technician career. After working at BREC part time over the spring and summer Kenzie is excited to now be at BREC full-time. Outside of work Kenzie enjoys hiking, cooking and hanging out at home with her dogs Romey and Zissou.
Jessica Cash, LVT grew up in Augusta County where she began riding at two years old with her mother. Jessi participated in her local 4-H, pony club and Interscholastic Equestrian team. While in college she worked at numerous Hunter/Jumper barns where she helped prepare for shows. She graduated in 2017 with her Associates Degree in Veterinary Technology. Jessi completed her externship here at BREC prior to graduating and is excited to be a part of our technician team. She enjoys all aspects of equine veterinary medicine, but especially sports medicine. During her free time Jessi enjoys spending time with the horses on their farm, her fiancé John, and being with family and friends.