Fostering Future Veterinarians
Palm Beach Equine Clinic Provides Veterinary Students Opportunities to Further Education and Career
The path of veterinary medicine involves many years of devotion to education, both at the undergraduate and graduate level, prior to putting that knowledge into practice. Only a handful of those students choose to pursue equine medicine, and an even smaller subset then take on the challenge of becoming a board-certified specialist in their chosen field.
Since its inception 40 years ago, Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC) has been committed to supporting the next generation of equine veterinarians and has provided numerous students, at various stages in their education, with learning opportunities and mentorship. Through externship, internship, and residency programs, PBEC has helped prepare students and veterinary graduates to lay the groundwork for successful future careers.
Equine Medicine in the Equestrian Capital
One of the key benefits of the programs is that PBEC is based in Wellington, Florida, an area that has rightfully earned its title of “Winter Equestrian Capital of the World.” The region is home to show jumping, dressage, polo, racing, and western performance horses; allowing ample opportunities for veterinarians to become well-rounded sports medicine practitioners.
“We are one of the foremost equine medical centers in North America and based in the epicenter of the equine industry,” said Dr. Scott Swerdlin, the president of PBEC who also spearheads the clinic’s Internship Committee. “The opportunities we are able to offer students looking to pursue a career in sports medicine are unmatched. In this regard, we are fortunate to attract top talent from some of the most prestigious universities around the world. Our interns get to be part of all the action and learn in an environment where every aspect of the horse’s health is examined with a fine-tooth comb.”
A Melting Pot of Expertise
PBEC’s team encompasses over 35 veterinarians who hail from across the U.S. and abroad to Canada, Colombia, Argentina, Australia, the U.K., and beyond. Their areas of expertise are wide-ranging, from lameness to acupuncture and breeding to dentistry, including board-certified specialists in surgery, diagnostic imaging, and internal medicine.
Dr. Sidney Chanutin grew up immersed in the horse world and spent time shadowing nearly every veterinarian at PBEC while she was in high school. After earning her doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Florida, she returned to officially join the PBEC team as an intern.
“What I most enjoyed about my internship was learning from a diverse group of veterinarians,” said Dr. Chanutin, “along with their different backgrounds, styles of working, and varied approaches to problem-solving. Everyone is willing to help and offer their unique perspective, so it’s a truly cohesive team.”
The first introduction to PBEC for many students is an externship. Qualified veterinary students in their final years of school can spend a few weeks with the PBEC team shadowing emergency cases in the hospital, on ambulatory calls, and at sports medicine appointments at the industry’s top competition venues. Externships also act as an introduction to the practice for many students seeking an internship upon graduation. This allows both the aspiring veterinarian and the PBEC team to become familiar with each other and see if it may potentially be a good match for a 12-month internship position.
Dr. Santiago Demierre is originally from Argentina and completed his degree in veterinary medicine from the Universidad de Buenos Aires in 2012. He validated his veterinary degree in the United States in 2017 through a certification program with the American Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Demierre was an integral part of PBEC initially as an intern before becoming an official staff veterinarian.
“The high caseload and long-term partnerships working and learning alongside great veterinarians helped me not only in improving my professional skills and knowledge but also with other aspects such as communication with clients and colleagues,” Dr. Demierre reflected.
Unlike in human medicine, internships are optional for veterinarians. Once a veterinarian passes the necessary state board exams, they can start treating animals on day one out of school. Choosing to work under the supervision and mentorship of experienced veterinarians allows interns to apply their years of learning in the classroom into clinical practice. At PBEC, interns can learn with the aid of advanced technologies in diagnostic imaging, innovative regenerative therapies, reproduction and fertility software, and specialized surgical suites.
“While we can teach and provide them with a wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience,” Dr. Swerdlin explained, “our interns in return are extremely valuable to us because they bring a fresh mindset and new ideas to the team,” explained Dr. Swerdlin. “The ability to work well with others, a good sense of humor, great work ethic, and most importantly, excellent communication skills are the qualities I look for in an intern.”
Never Stop Learning
Continuing education is a major component of a life in medicine. In addition to journal clubs, educational seminars, and opportunities to travel to professional conferences, students are always exposed to learning opportunities by working collaboratively with colleagues as well as visiting and referring veterinarians.
After completing their internship, most will pursue an associate veterinarian position, whether at PBEC, another private practice, a university, or work independently. Some will go a step further and advance their education through a residency program. Residencies are rigorous two to four year commitments—length dependent on the specialty—designed to give veterinarians the skillset, knowledge base, and experience required to become eligible for certification by veterinary medical specialty boards. Board-certified specialists are considered experts in their field and often treat complicated, difficult cases.
With board-certified specialists on staff, PBEC has provided residencies to select veterinarians over the years, including Dr. Michael Myhre. A graduate of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Myhre fulfilled his surgical residency under the direction of PBEC’s board-certified surgeons Dr. Robert Brusie, Dr. Weston Davis, and Dr. Jorge Gomez. He assisted on over 568 surgeries over his three years at PBEC.
“Completing my residency at PBEC has allowed me to pursue my dream of becoming an equine surgeon and working at a large referral center in the northeast. I learned a great deal about all aspects of general surgery, but especially orthopedic surgery. We did many fracture repairs at PBEC, and I would love to continue focusing on these in the future. Without my time at PBEC, I wouldn’t be able to practice as I am now,” Dr. Myhre said.
Externs, interns, and residents are integral members of the equine hospital. It is part of PBEC’s mission to support the community, which includes the next generation of equine veterinarians.
Dr. Swerdlin said, “Teaching and mentoring young veterinarians and watching them grow into confident and competent practitioners gives me the greatest satisfaction.” To learn more about externships, internships, and other opportunities with Palm Beach Equine Clinic, please visit equineclinic.com/internships-externships or call 561-793-1599.
One of the world’s premier veterinary facilities, Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC), has signed on to support M & R Equestrian’s Training Days as a sponsor of the pioneering event operating at Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in West Palm Beach, FL.
Founded by Olympic veterans Alberto Michan (ISR) and Juan Andrés Rodriguez (GUA), M & R Equestrian’s Training Days are held weekly from November through April, and offer riders of all levels the opportunity to school over a full course of show-quality jumps set by FEI course designers.
Every Tuesday, three arenas—two jumper rings and an arena with hunter courses—are available and set at varying heights throughout the day to accommodate horses and riders of all ages and levels. Training Days were created as a means to prepare young horses for the show ring, scout up-and-coming sale prospects, practice horse show elements like open water jumps, and to enjoy a relaxing, confidence-building experience for an affordable price.
“Palm Beach Equine Clinic is proud to play a role in supporting the equestrian community in our area and around the globe. This training series is another tool that riders can take advantage of to prepare their horses for competing on the main stage, and our veterinary team is here to support the equine athletes in that pursuit. A few of our team members may even be spotted riding their own horses there throughout the series.”PBEC President Dr. Scott Swerdlin
Dedicated to caring for equine patients
PBEC’s mission is to provide exceptional veterinary care for the horse and the team is committed to strengthening their relationship with clients and the community. Established in 1981, PBEC has earned a reputation across the nation and around the globe for providing the highest quality of healthcare for all horses, from Olympic caliber athletes to pasture pets. With over 35 distinguished veterinarians and a robust team of technicians, surgical, pharmacy, and hospital staff, PBEC is able to care for equine patients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Participate in M & R Equestrian Training Days
M & R Equestrian Training Days will expand to a two-day schedule for 12 weeks beginning in January 2021, with Mondays featuring a one-of-a-kind opportunity to school under the lights during the evening. Each entry awards a horse and rider combination two minutes and 30 seconds in the arena, allowing them to jump as many fences or courses as they’d like while providing the perfect horse show dress rehearsal. For more information about M & R Equestrian’s Training Days, including updated weekly schedules and timing, find them on Facebook and Instagram.
Palm Beach Equine Clinic Founder Recognized for Outstanding Contributions to the Sport of Polo
The Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame will honor Dr. Paul Wollenman as a 2021 Inductee of the Philip Iglehart Award in recognition of his exceptional lifetime contributions to the sport of polo on a regional and national level.
Beginning his career as the youngest graduate of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine at only 21-years-old, he has dedicated nearly five decades to the polo and veterinary industries. He has taken an integral role in the polo community by educating teams on proper care and supporting the world’s top equine athletes. Dr. Wollenman has worked in an advisory capacity for the Equine Welfare Committee of the United States Polo Association (USPA). He has mentored Team USPA participants and the National Youth Tournament Series teams by giving lectures, counseling members on proper horse care, and aiding with their veterinary issues. As an amateur 2-goal handicap player himself, Dr. Wollenman is fortunate to thoroughly enjoy the sport and career in which he is revered.
When asked his thoughts on the Iglehart Induction announcement, Dr. Wollenman said, “Over the years, I had occasionally heard my name mentioned when people besides famous high-goal players were inducted. When Chrys Beal called to tell me that I was voted unanimously into this year’s honorees, I felt somewhat embarrassed and undeserving. Still, the influx of congratulatory phone calls and messages I have received about my induction from owners, polo players, and grooms has made me even more happy and proud of my life and career choices.
“I’ve been blessed by many wonderful and colorful relationships with friends and clients in the polo community,” Dr. Wollenman continued. “Most of all, I am incredibly lucky and thankful for my wife, Renee, who understands the demands of veterinary medicine and polo. She played polo collegiately and throughout her adult life, raised two wonderful sons who have both become doctors, and has supported me throughout the long, arduous hours of veterinary medicine.
“I’ve been so fortunate to have great veterinary partners and smart, driven associates who have helped build Palm Beach Equine Clinic not only into a massively successful equine hospital, but also an enjoyable place to work and grow professionally. It is truly my second home and has allowed me to concentrate on polo medicine,” he concluded.
Photos by the United States Polo Association.
“During a career that spans 48 years, Dr. Wollenman’s expertise as a veterinarian caring for the horses of some of the nation’s finest polo teams has been a factor in helping the sport of polo. Noted for his sound and practical advice as well as ingenious solutions to complicated injuries, he has spent most of a lifetime striving to improve the care and welfare of the horses that make polo possible.”2021 Honorees Announcement by the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame.
The Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame will recognize Dr. Wollenman and the 2021 Inductees this February through their media channels. A formal Induction Ceremony and Gala will be held in February of 2022 in lieu of the COVID-19 pandemic so that inductees’ families, friends and fans may be present. Dr. Wollenman was nominated by a committee of eminent and knowledgeable individuals across the sport of polo who voted to elect this year’s winners.
Read about the 2021 Polo Hall of Fame Inductees by going to the Museum’s Facebook page linked below.
2021 POLO HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES CHOSEN For the 32nd year of inductions into the Polo Hall of Fame, we have the honor…Posted by Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame on Tuesday, November 3, 2020
More News on Dr. Paul Wollenman
- Dr. Paul Wollenman – The Legendary Polo Vet – United States Polo Association (USPA)
- Best Practices for the First Time Horse Buyer – USPA
- Team USPA Connects with Palm Beach Equine
Palm Beach Equine Clinic provided veterinary services for horse owners as part of a new clinic series by the Acreage Landowners’ Association, Western Equestrian Shows and Trails, and the Indian Trail Improvement District.
Loxahatchee, FL (August 18, 2020) – Kicking off a first-of-its-kind clinic series for horse owners of western Palm Beach County, several Acreage groups enlisted the veterinary team of Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC) to provide hurricane preparedness expertise. The clinic, held on August 15, 2020, at Nicole Hornstein Equestrian Park in Loxahatchee, Florida, was originally scheduled for the first of the month, but was postponed in true Florida fashion due to Hurricane Isaias.
The Equine Hurricane Preparedness Clinic garnered a couple dozen attendees, masked up with their horses in tow. Kim Emmons, Western Equestrian Shows and Trails (WEST) Clinic Director and certified equine veterinary technician, is the driving force behind the event series.
“I’ve lived in and have been active in our local equestrian community for over 20 years,” said Emmons, who led the discussion on best practices for horse owners during hurricane season.
“The goal of this clinic series is to educate our local equestrian community and provide opportunities for horse owners of all ages and disciplines to become better, more well-rounded horsemen.”Kim Emmons
Through attending equestrian events, teaching at camps, and her experience as a veterinary technician, Emmons has met many horse owners who lack the correct skills and knowledge on basic horse health and care. “I have always found it really rewarding to share my knowledge by teaching people the proper, practical skills for caring for their horses. Things such as correct leg bandaging, taking their horse’s vitals, listening to gut sounds, and teaching people on when they need to call a veterinarian are all essential for a horse owner to know. I used to teach an equine healthcare camp, and I am so proud to see those young campers grow into the smart, well-rounded equestrians they are today.”
The clinic series is free to attend, with fees for trailering in and offered membership packages, and will be based at Nicole Hornstein Equestrian Park for the foreseeable future.
PBEC provided special reduced rates on equine vaccinations, Coggins (Equine Infectious Anemia) testing, and microchipping services performed by Dr. Janet Greenfield-Davis and Dr. Charley McColough.
“We understand that, especially now in these pandemic times, many people are struggling to cover their horse’s expenses,” said PBEC veterinarian Dr. Greenfield-Davis. “We are happy to be here for the community by providing these essential services at more affordable prices and in a more convenient location for the Acreage horsemen.”
WEST, a new subcommittee of the Acreage Landowners’ Association (ALA), is led by fellow longtime Acreage resident Dixie Thiery.
“All of our efforts are focused on promoting and protecting the wonderful equestrian lifestyle we are lucky to enjoy here,” said Thiery. “We hope that WEST and this clinic series will help strengthen our community by giving people an easy, convenient way to learn and meet their neighboring equestrians. We are also very fortunate to be supported by the Indian Trail Improvement District, which is responsible for this park, and we are working with them to update our local trail system maps and better plan for equestrian-safe roadways and developments.”
ALA, WEST, ITID and PBEC plan to work together in the future by collaborating to bring horse shows, tack sales, exhibitions, and other educational events for equestrians to the area. The association’s next clinic is planned for September 19 and will focus on basic equine first aid.
The veterinarians of Palm Beach Equine Clinic have always enjoyed contributing to support the local community in Wellington, FL. As a leader in equine veterinary medicine, Palm Beach Equine Clinic makes it a priority to share knowledge and guide aspiring youth. Currently, through Wellington High School’s (WHS) Equine Pre-Vet Program, Palm Beach Equine Clinic has a hands-on program for students to introduce them to a career as promising young veterinary professionals.
Kickstart a Career in Veterinary Medicine
The Equine Pre-Vet Program at WHS provides students with an opportunity to pursue a rigorous, accelerated science program to prepare them for veterinary medicine and/or animal sciences at the college level. Equine Pre-Vet students are required to complete 20 hours of community service in an animal-based area during each year of high school. As a senior in high school, students are also required to intern with an animal healthcare facility, complete research assignments on veterinary medicine, and prepare veterinary case studies.
WHS seniors who choose to pursue the Equine Pre-Vet Program have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips with one of the world’s most advanced equine medical centers just down the road. Palm Beach Equine Clinic is home to more than 30 world-class veterinarians who all know the process of becoming a top veterinarian within the industry.
Learning from a diverse team of veterinarians
Through the program at WHS and the generosity of the veterinarians at Palm Beach Equine Clinic, students in the Equine Pre-Vet Program have the unique opportunity to learn all about the profession from the very best. Seniors in the program are given the chance to shadow veterinarians as they work at the clinic, as well as out on ambulatory calls at the farms. The program requires that each student obtain a certain number of externship hours, but Palm Beach Equine Clinic allows the students to help and observe for as many hours as desired. Many students show a high level of interest and become highly involved at the clinic. Palm Beach Equine Clinic tries to accommodate each student for their participation at every level.
A program is also offered for junior students at WHS who are considering joining the Equine Pre-Vet Program when they become seniors. Junior students are invited to the clinic to learn about various paths in veterinary medicine and tour the facility in small groups. Palm Beach Equine Clinic sets up multiple stations for them to learn about things including blood work, physical exams, reproduction, and business management.
Palm Beach Equine Clinic’s Dr. Janet Greenfield-Davis is very involved with the program and enjoys teaching students of all ages. She has been involved in the local school system’s career day for younger children at the elementary level and also mentors the senior students who have already chosen the veterinary path involved in the externship program.
“We try to play an active role in our community, and we really enjoy having the kids visit the clinic,” said Dr. Greenfield-Davis. “When I went to high school, it was just general education, but now they really specialize in gearing the children towards specific programs in high school, and I think that is pretty impressive. To have PBEC right around the corner is handy for them, and it is nice for us to have the kids come through.
“We have some students that will come in on their own outside of school and ask to volunteer,” continued Greenfield-Davis. “We also have two girls that are in vet school now that started here in high school. They went to local colleges and they continued to come to our practice and participate all through college. We were able to write them recommendations for veterinary school, and they both got in, so we are super proud of them. We try to do all we can for the high school. We are really happy that we can provide those opportunities for the students and see them excel.”
Equine Internships and Externships for Veterinary Students and Graduates
While Palm Beach Equine Clinic may be known for the 28 superb veterinarians who call it home, they are also a driving force in educating the next generation of equine medical professionals. Through world-renowned equine internship and externship programs, Palm Beach Equine Clinic molds new veterinarians every day.
Each year, equine interns work with Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinarians for a 12-month period. Whether from externships that usually last up to two weeks and serve as an introduction to the practice or by references from top veterinarians across the U.S. and abroad, Palm Beach Equine Clinic attracts the most promising young veterinarians in the field.
Educating Equine Veterinary Students and Graduates From Around the World
Currently, Palm Beach Equine Clinic is host to recently graduated veterinary students from Oklahoma, Scotland, and Argentina. According to Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinarian and board-certified surgeon Dr. Weston Davis who leads the Internship program, South Florida attracts only the best.
“We really have the cream of the crop because they have big opportunities here,” said Dr. Davis. “A lot of equine internships can offer work with one or two veterinarians, but what’s cool at Palm Beach Equine Clinic is they can pick from the collection of doctors we have.”
Palm Beach Equine Clinic interns rotate through three phases, including hands-on application of hospital anesthetization, imaging – both from ambulatory duty and elective – and working with a doctor of their choice based on their specific interests.
Dr. Davis has been with Palm Beach Equine Clinic for two years and immediately took interest in making the equine internship program the best it could be. In two years, he has made one of the world’s best programs even better.
Benefits of an Equine Internship
“I wanted to make it as organized and structured as it could be so they can get as much out of that year as possible,” he said. “The general rule is that doing a one-year equine internship puts you three to five years ahead of those that come out of school and start out on their own. Interns come out of school with a handle on book knowledge and the internships give them a good clinical appreciation for those same topics. They see a lot and do a lot under the supervision of seasoned veterinarians while they are here.”
While Palm Beach Equine internships offer obvious perks for the interns themselves, it also has added benefit for the veterinarians already at the clinic.
“The value for the interns is they get to see a tremendous amount of cases in short time, but it’s also valuable for us because they come out of school with fresh knowledge, new ideas, and keep us current and on our toes,” said Dr. Davis.
Traditionally veterinary students will fulfill their equine internship requirements and move on to find a full-time position at other practices. Dr. Davis himself did just that after graduating from the University of Florida College Of Veterinary Medicine and interning at Oakridge Equine Hospital in Oklahoma. But, the experiences available at Palm Beach Equine Clinic keep its interns staying put.
Equine Internships Kickstart Veterinary Careers
History has proven that many interns who work for Palm Beach Equine Clinic as interns go on to accept full-time positions at the clinic. One of those veterinarians is Dr. Ryan Lukens. After earning his DVM from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, he began an internship with Palm Beach Equine Clinic in 2012.
“I am so pleased that I did my internship with Palm Beach Equine,” said Dr. Lukens. “It was basically another year of school where I got to focus on exactly what I wanted to do.”
Dr. Lukens specialized in sports medicine, lameness, and diagnostic imaging, which is a passion he inherited from his father, a fellow veterinarian. His experience with Palm Beach Equine Clinic solidified that concentration thanks to the latest in veterinary technology.
“When I came to Palm Beach Equine Clinic, I had access to all the newest equipment. That gave me more tools to improve my skills under the direction of a full network of senior veterinarians,” added Dr. Lukens. “When you leave vet school, you have a question every hour of the day, and I had a number of veterinarians who were a phone call away to answer those questions. I never had to second-guess myself because they were there to help me learn. But, there also isn’t always one way to do something correctly. I learned the opinions of so many veterinarians who do things just a little differently, and it helped me to find my own way and what’s best for the horses I treat.”
Thanks to Palm Beach Equine Clinic, horse owners in South Florida and beyond have access to well-educated veterinarians with hands-on experience that is unmatched.
Interested in Applying for an Equine Internship?
Fill out this form to get in contact with the internship and externship department.
Dr. Scott Swerdlin, President of Palm Beach Equine Clinic was asked to judge trainer, Charlie Moorcroft’s annual Halloween Pony Parade and Costume Contest on Sunday afternoon, October 27th. Each contest won a prize for various categories. The final prize given was two $50 gift certificates to Palm Beach Equine Clinic for the Best of Show awards. The winners were Sophie Studd and Eliza Guero. Congratulations kids and have a Happy Halloween!!!
On May 10, 2013, Dr. Janet Greenfield-Davis participated in career day at Elbridge Elementary School. Elbridge Elementary is one of many schools that Dr. Greenfield-Davis has donated her time and knowledge to educate our young students of today on equine veterinary medicine. Dr. Greenfield-Davis is the official veterinarian for Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center, which focuses on equine-related programs for special needs children. Dr. Greenfield-Davis enjoys educating the community while raising awareness of equine health.
“Educating our community and public service is a culture that we emphasize at Palm Beach Equine Clinic”, stated Dr. Scott Swerdlin, President of Palm Beach Equine Clinic.
Dr. Ryan Lukens recently completed an internship at Palm Beach Equine Clinic. Dr. Lukens excelled during his internship and was presented a contract toward a long and successful future with Palm Beach Equine Clinic. In the spirit of our mission statement, Dr. Lukens presented a lecture to 200 first graders concerning the anatomy of the horse with the Horse Tales Literacy Program. This event occurred at Good Earth Farm in Loxahatchee on Friday, May 17th.
“Dr Lukens was wonderful. He was knowledgeable and very patient with the first graders”, said Shelley LaConte, South Florida Director of the Horse Tales Literacy Project. “He had a smile on his face the whole day. It was a pleasure working with him. We were very grateful for his time and glad he is a part of Palm Beach Equine Clinic.” If you or any of your organizations would like a lecture or presenter please call Eques Solutions at 561-227- 1537.