Catching Up with Dr. Chris Elliott at LGCT New York 2022

A few of Palm Beach Equine Clinic’s veterinarians traveled to the “Big Apple” and traded in palm tree views for the city’s skyline at the 2022 Longines Global Champions Tour New York (LGCT). Palm Beach Equine Clinic served as the competition’s Official Veterinarian, and Dr. Richard Wheeler, Dr. Bryan Dubynsky, and Dr. Christopher Elliott were on-site supporting the horses and riders at the competition. We spoke with Dr. Chris Elliott about his experience at the penultimate event of the LGCT.

1. This is Palm Beach Equine’s second time being the Official Treating Vet at a Longines Global Champions Tour show. How are these shows different from other equestrian competitions? 

The Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) is really unique because they’ve been able to take equestrian competitions to iconic locations all over the world. They’ve figured out how to set up a temporary set of stables and arenas anywhere, and that’s one of the main things that sets LGCT apart from other equestrian competitions. 

2. What do your tasks and responsibilities include? 

We’re here not only as the Official U.S. Department of Agriculture-accredited Veterinarian but also as the Official Treating Veterinarian, so our responsibilities start at the beginning of quarantine. We work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and their team of veterinarians to ensure that all the appropriate importation of the European horses is correct by their quarantine standards, and we ensure that those quarantine standards are maintained throughout the competition. As the Official Treating Veterinarian, we see any horse that requires veterinary attention in and out of the ring. We also work alongside the Official Shipping Agent to get all the horses’ health certificates and ensure they’re fit to travel and can go home or wherever their next destination may be.  

3. What’s a typical day at the show like? 

Our days start really early here! The first horse warm up is at 6 a.m., so we wake up before the sun rises to take the ferry from Manhattan to the show grounds on Governors Island. One of us is primarily in the stables to look after the horses and provide support to the riders and grooms, while the other is next to the ring to act swiftly if any accident occurs. Our day goes until it’s all done, so they’re long days, but we enjoy what we do. The final days here are a bit longer because the ferry is also the transport system for getting all of the horses off the island, and it can’t take a large number of horse trucks. 

5. What did you enjoy most about your time at LGCT New York? 

The competition is fantastic, the quality of horses is amazing, and the location is absolutely stunning! Being at an equestrian competition against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty is unique, and something very few veterinarians experience. For me, another big highlight was seeing the President of the United States fly in and out of the city on Marine One. It was pretty cool to see that in person.