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 and completed a surgical residency at the University of Wisconsin achieving his board certification in surgery in 1996, and Diplomate status in the 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 served on the Board of Directors for the AAEP from 2012 – 2014 and currently sits on various committees and sub-committees. For ACVSMR, Dr. Trostle has served on the Examination Committee (2013-2018) and also sit on the Board of Directors (2018-2022). He and his wife Cheryl, a small animal veterinarian, live in Earlysville with their son, Justin, and their daughter, Kelsey. He enjoys sports and the family likes all forms of outdoor activities.
Kelly Giunta, VMD, DACVSMR 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. In 2021 Dr. Kelly Giunta received her Diplomate in Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (equine) from the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.
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.
Susanna Charland, DVM, CVMMP grew up in Sunshine, Louisiana and was always surrounded by animals. She attended UVA for her undergraduate degree and enjoyed riding and competing her horse Hank in the area during that time. She received her veterinary degree from Ross University and completed her clinical year at UC Davis. Following school she completed an equine internship at Ocean State Equine Associates in Rhode Island before joining the team at Blue Ridge Equine Clinic.
Her professional interests include emergency work, preventative medicine, and reproduction. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband Lucien and her dog Beast, doing anything outdoors and cooking.
Marissa Bennett, DVM, grew up on a small family farm in Northern New Hampshire. She spent her time showing her All-Around pleasure horse on the APHA circuit. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science at the University of Findlay in Ohio and then moved to Alabama for veterinary school. After obtaining her DVM from Auburn University in 2018, she traveled to Washington to complete a year-long equine internship at Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital.
Dr. Bennett has special interests in reproduction, sports medicine, and general preventative medicine. Both Dr. Bennett and her husband are outdoor enthusiasts and are excited to explore all that the Valley has to offer.
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 come work in the valley and is currently working part time 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, a member of both the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the Virginia Association of Equine Practitioners, and an FEI Eventing Official Veterinarian. Dr. Hecking lives in Lexington, and in her free time she enjoys foxhunting and working cattle, along with anything outdoors.
Brooks Vardell, DVM, CVMMP
The Valley Division of Blue Ridge Equine Clinic is pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Brooks Vardell to the team. Dr. Vardell will be providing general practice coverage in the Valley Division (Mondays and Tuesdays).
Dr. Vardell grew up in New York riding hunter/jumpers on the A circuit. She graduated from Washington and Lee University with a BA in English. Dr. Vardell then graduated from the Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She completed a rotating internship at Littleton Equine Medical Center near Denver, Colorado. Dr. Vardell then returned to Virginia working as a general practitioner at Keswick Equine Clinic before starting Riverbend Equine Veterinary Services, LLC in 2022. Dr. Vardell is certified in acupuncture. Dr. Vardell will complete her certification in veterinary medical manipulation in the Spring of 2022. Dr. Vardell is also an FEI treating veterinarian, a member of AAEP and the AVMA.
Dr. Megan Medoff grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Megan has always had a love for all species of animals, it is her dream to practice veterinary medicine for aquatic and land animals. She earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biology from Florida Atlantic University. During her undergraduate studies Megan worked as a research assistant for a sea turtle lab and a veterinary assistant at Gulfstream Park and Calder. While in veterinary school, Megan served as the Wet Lab coordinator for the student chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). She also earned her certificate of Veterinary Business Management and completed the Sea Vet training program. Megan‘s veterinary interests include imaging, emergency and equine podiatry. In her free time, Megan enjoys going on hikes with her dog, Kaya Bear and long boarding. Megan is looking forward to living in Earlysville and is very excited to be a part of the Blue Ridge Equine Clinic team!
Licensed Veterinary Technicians
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.
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 and loves hiking with her dog.
Cheyenne Ferrier, Veterinary Assistant and Social Media Coordinator
Cheyenne grew up in the Shenandoah Valley and has spent her entire life being a crazy horse girl! Growing up Cheyenne spent as much time as possible riding with her aunts, she continued working with horses while away at college at Radford University where she volunteered at a local horse rescue where she fed and helped take care of over 20 horses. After returning home from Radford, Cheyenne took veterinary assistant courses at Blue Ridge Community College and eventually took the position as a receptionist at the Earlysville Main Hospital. After spending a year at the Main Office, Cheyenne accepted the position as a Veterinary Assistant for the Valley Division. She also currently attends Purdue University and is on course to become a Licensed Veterinary Nurse. When Cheyenne is not working or doing school work, she is at the barn with her Chincoteague pony, Pia, or hanging out with her 3 dogs.
Emily was born and raised in Grottoes, Virginia. Emily has been around horses her whole life. Growing up, her father trained Saddlebreds and she began showing at 7 years old. When Emily is not riding her horse, York, she is busy taking care of her goats. Last year Emily started her own show goat operation with 4 donors and 30 recips! She sells goats to 4-H families all over the East Coast. Welcome Emily!
Erica was born and raised in Kansas. Before joining the BREC team she worked at a small animal clinic. She enjoyed working with cats and dogs, but knew her true passion was to work with horses. Erica earned her Veterinary Assistant Certification in 2018 from Penn Foster and she is currently working towards becoming a Licensed Veterinary Technician. Erica grew up with horses and took a special interest in them at a young age she showed horses in Western Pleasure as a child. When Erica isn’t working, you can usually find her at the barn with her horse Corona. Another passion of hers is music, she likes to attend rock festivals.
Kat grew up in Earlysville and started riding at a summer camp when she was 8. This quickly spiraled into 7 days a week at the barn and competing in the local hunters whenever possible. She went on to ride on the IHSA team at the College of Charleston and has since worked for hunter/jumper and Eventing trainers of all levels and most recently, on a guest ranch in Wyoming. Her interest in Equine Medicine increased as she experienced more of the industry and loves being able to share her passion for equine welfare with her hometown. Kat loves to hike, be outside, and spend time with her Thoroughbred, Flynn, and dog Tucker.
Alice Phinizy, Office Manager
Alice grew up in western Amherst County, Virginia where she participated in Pony Club, 4-H and was a member of the Oak Ridge Fox Hunt Club. She attended The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee where she competed through the ISHA Open Division in both Hunter Seat Equitation and Western. She currently competes in the Adult Amateur Jumpers with her mares but also finds time to garden, cook and just enjoy farm life in Central Virginia.
Dana Kline, Front Desk/ Office Support
Dana grew up in the valley on a small family farm in Folks Run, Virginia. In 1995 Dana purchased her first horse, Cimmie, who she still has today, along with her other older horse, Hoop Shooter. She spent many years trail riding and pleasure riding both horses.
Dana started working at Blue Ridge Equine in 2001 as a hospital barn assistant. Throughout her years at BREC, Dana has been a veterinary assistant, pharmacy technician, and is now currently a front desk receptionist. She now lives in Crozet with her husband, 3- legged dog, Joe Bird, Moluccan Cockatoo, Louie, and cat, Koonie.
Brooke Sigrist, Front Desk/ Office support
Sandy Whorley, Front Desk/ Office Support
Sabino DeDios, Facilities Manager