Originally hailing from Plymouth, MA, Morgan Cooley graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2013 before beginning to manage a competitive show barn. Then, when an opportunity with Palm Beach Equine Clinic presented itself in early 2016, Cooley made the move to Florida to pursue a career as a veterinary technician. Since then, she’s made herself a valuable asset to the PBEC team, working alongside Dr. Jorge Gomez.
What is your background with horses?
I’ve been riding horses for as long as I can remember, and there are pictures of me riding from before I can remember! I grew up on my great-grandmother’s farm, called Little Forge, in Plymouth, MA. My favorite memories are taking the horses swimming in the pond and racing bareback around the hay fields. I owe my horsemanship skills to my time at Little Forge. I rode and competed in Pony Club during middle school and high school in all of the disciplines with borrowed ponies and my off-the-track Thoroughbred. In college, I rode competitively on the equestrian team at Mount Holyoke College.
What led you to Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC) and a career as a veterinary technician?
My first job out of college was as a manager for an A-circuit show stable. We were based out of Massachusetts and wintered in Wellington, FL. Dr. Brusie was our veterinarian, so I got to know him and his technician Sarah very well. After season, I pursued an internship in animal health sales, and when my internship ended I was on the job hunt.
The following winter, just before the start of season, Dr. Brusie happened to ask a friend of mine at the barn how I was, and she mentioned I was looking for employment. Dr. Brusie knew PBEC had a position open. I applied, and three days later, I was driving from Massachusetts to Florida!
Ironically, I wasn’t necessarily looking for a vet tech position. Dr. Gomez needed a technician and Dr. Brusie happened to ask about me at the right time. Funny how life happens. With my passion for horses and my organizational skills, they thought I would be a good fit. That was a year and a half ago!
What is your typical day like at PBEC?
I usually refer to myself as Dr. Gomez’s “right hand (wo)man.” I organize our daily schedule and am in constant contact with our clients. I keep our truck fully stocked and operational. Dr. Gomez specializes in Sport Horse Medicine and Lameness, so we do many lameness evaluations and pre-purchase exams. I assist by jogging/lunging horses, preparing joints for injections, formalizing the pre-purchase reports, and documenting all the work done throughout the day. Dr. Gomez has three associates that work for him, so I organize and delegate client scheduling and needs between them as well.
What do you enjoy most about working for PBEC?
I can honestly say I have learned something new and continue to further my veterinary knowledge every day I work with Dr. Gomez. His experience and knowledge of horses never ceases to amaze me. He’s not only a fantastic veterinarian, but also a great horseman. It makes learning from him a pleasure. And of course, the horses – I genuinely love working with them each day. It’s really rewarding to work on a horse and then watch it compete and be successful in the show ring.
Have you had any standout or favorite moments since you joined the PBEC team?
Dr. Gomez has a client based in Ocala, FL, who he visits regularly. Last summer, I accompanied Dr. Gomez on one of his trips. The farm sent their private plane to pick us up in West Palm Beach, flew us to Ocala, and then flew us back to Wellington at the end of the day. I will always remember commuting to work on a private plane!
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I tend to be a bit of a health nut. I enjoy staying active, cooking, and baking. I like to be outdoors as much as possible whether that be going for a hike or enjoying the Florida beaches. I enjoy attending concerts and staying up-to-date on all my New England sports teams. I try to find time to ride, though it’s not nearly as much as I would like!