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Saturday, October 9, 2010

World Equestrian Games and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute

The caption on the large mural that greets incoming passengers in the Lexington airport says simply, “The world’s premier equine practice since 1876”. Lexington’s Hagyard Equine Medical Institute identifies the world’s most comprehensive and most advanced establishment in the world for promoting and sustaining equine health.  

              Hagyard Poster in Blue Grass Airport, Lexington, KY
During the World Equestrian Games being held for the first time in the United States in fall 2010, the Hagyard practice assists enforcing health regulations for horses that come from almost 60 foreign countries. With veterinarians and staff from Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, they also provide medical care for these equine athletes while they are in the Lexington area.

                         Marathon Driving Competition, World Equestrian Games, Lexington, KY

Unique Five-generation Legacy: The Hagyard family of veterinarians dates to 1839 when Edward Thomas Hagyard graduated from the Edinburgh Veterinary College in Scotland. He emigrated to Canada a decade later and established a veterinary practice in Ontario.

In 1875, Dr. Hagyard was called to Kentucky to consult on a valuable Shorthorn bull with an intractable digestive problem. He impressed the local cattle and horsemen so much that he was invited to the Lexington area where he set up a veterinary practice that survives to this day.

Hagyard’s three sons all became veterinarians, as did his grandson, Charles Edward Hagyard, who became the third generation veterinarian. About 1940, Hagyard was joined by Drs. Arthur Davidson (from Iowa) and William McGee (from Washington State). By this time, the thriving practice--then called Hagyard-Davidson-McGee--was devoted exclusively to horses and Charles Hagyard became a magnet, associating with some of the leading equine researchers and academicians of the day. He was Man O’ War’s veterinarian and an outstanding Thoroughbred breeder.

The family veterinary lineage continued though two Cornell graduates: Dr. Edward Hagyard Fallon (nephew of Dr. Charles Hagyard), and his son, Dr. Luke Hagyard Fallon. The practice now employs about 60 veterinarians, making it one of the largest aggregations of equine veterinarians in the world.

Through the years, the medical and surgical care of horses has grown in sophistication and quality, often led by veterinarians at the Hagyard practice. The campus also provides instruction to 200 upper class veterinary students  who arrive from veterinary colleges around the country (and the world) for two- to four-week clerkships; and interns who spend one year developing their clinical skills following graduation.