Recognizing Excellence within the Equine Veterinary Technician/Assistant Profession

Vet tech at work.
Vet tech at work. Alexander Raths

Newsdate: Thursday, December 13, 2018, 9:00 am
DULUTH, Georgia

Know a veterinary technician or assistant who deserves recognition at the 2019 AAEP Convention in Denver? Nominations for next year’s Champions of the Cause Award open April 2019.

Horse waiting for services of a vet tech.

Horse waiting for services of a vet tech

Know a equine veterinary technician or assistant who deserves recognition? Nominations for next year's Champions of the Cause Award open April 2019.
© 2017 by Smerikal

Each year, Boehringer Ingelheim, in partnership with EquiManagement and AAEVT, chooses two winners from a select group of veterinary technicians and assistants nominated by a veterinarian. Winners receive an all-expenses-paid trip to be recognized at the AAEVT Annual Conference during the AAEP Convention.

Boehringer Ingelheim, the American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians and Assistants (AAEVT) and EquiManagement teamed up again in 2018 to honor two outstanding equine veterinary technicians/assistants. Veterinarians nominated candidates who exemplified:

  • A passion for equine health;
  • A commitment to further his or her knowledge of equine well-being; and
  • A dedication to continuously improve the equine health industry.

The winners for 2018, who won an expense-paid trip to the AAEVT/AAEP Conventions in San Francisco, were Lisa Amtower of New York’s Rhinebeck Equine Hospital and Ashley Cashwell of Bristol Veterinary in Wisconsin. The nominating veterinarians, Jenna Donaldson, DVM, and Kevin Nelson, DVM, respectively.

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Lisa Amtower

Lisa Amtower’s first encounter with horses came when she was 3 years old. She was raised on the West Coast, and a family friend hoisted her into the saddle and led her around. She vividly remembers the Cascade Mountains in the background and “smoke coming out her ears” because they wouldn’t give her the reins. She was hooked.

As a pre-teen, she left her father less-than-subtle hints that a horse would make the perfect present for her 13th birthday. Each day she searched the “horses for sale” listing in the daily newspaper, circled the ones that sounded interesting with a red pen and left it on her father’s bed. Her diligence was rewarded when she received a half-share of a horse that year and her very own the next.

She attended Lake Erie College in Ohio, earned a degree in equine sciences and has dedicated her life to caring for horses.

She has managed Thoroughbred and foxhunting stables in multiple states. Seven years ago, she began working at Rhinebeck Equine Hospital in New York’s Hudson Valley. There she is part of the team responsible for the care of patients in a busy hospital. Her caseload ranges from nursing sick neonates to assisting with emergency colic surgeries and fracture repairs.

“I just love horses, and I love making them better,” she said.

At age 61, her passion for horses and her commitment to furthering her knowledge of equine veterinary medicine are as strong as ever. She is currently pursuing the Animal Care Technologies certification program through the American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians and Assistants (AAEVT).

That dedication inspired Jenna Donaldson, DVM, a veterinarian at Rhinebeck Equine Hospital, to nominate Amtower for the Champions of the Cause Award.

“Lisa is a great asset to our hospital,” said Donaldson. “She is involved in teaching our interns and externs, and I thought she would make the most of an opportunity to attend AAEP, a chance she would not necessarily have otherwise.”

Ahsley Cashwell

When Ashley Cashwell’s parents sent their 6-year-old daughter to summer camp, the last thing they imagined was that she’d fall in love with horses. Much to her father’s chagrin, she began asking for a horse shortly thereafter. They obliged, and she began her riding career in the hunter/jumper ring on the East Coast.

When her family relocated to Wisconsin, she transitioned to dressage.

“I still have the horse I’ve raised and trained since she was two days old, and now she’s 21,” Cashwell said.

That early love of horses inspired Cashwell to pursue a career in the equine industry. First, she worked as a stable manager where she was responsible for routine and not-so-routine horse care.

Eight years ago, she went to work for Bristol Veterinary to pursue a career in equine medical care.

Her passion for the horse and its well-being led her to a third-world country in central Asia through Rotary International. There, she assisted a missionary group with establishing a therapeutic riding center.

“We taught them about the type of horses they would need for the program, how to provide the care the horses need, and how to provide adequate housing and veterinary care,” she said.

Kevin Nelson, DVM, who co-owns Bristol Veterinary in Salem, Wisconsin, nominated Cashwell for the award.

In his nomination letter, Nelson praised Cashwell’s continuing search for knowledge and daily enthusiasm. He noted that her commitment demonstrates that her work is not about the paycheck, but a life dedicated to the cause.

He added that her commitment to supporting the well-being of horses creeps into her non-professional life as well.

Cashwell continues to help train lower-level dressage riders and their horses, but more often provides important education for horse owners regarding wellness. She is known to help out by dropping off needed medications when a client is unable to reach the clinic before it closes, he added.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for the work and effort that is put into helping the client,” Cashwell said.

Press release by VetMedica

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