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Horse Doctors Ride the Wave of Opportunity at AAEP Convention in San Diego

Dec 7, 2023

With inventive and sustainable models of equine practice replacing “business as usual” approaches, horse doctors from around the world gathered amid a renewed spirit of optimism and enthusiasm in San Diego, Calif., for the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) 69th Annual Convention, Nov. 29–Dec. 3. Registered attendees comprised 4,708 veterinary professionals, students, technicians, guests and exhibitors. Nearly 500 additional equine practitioners and students have registered for the virtual education experience that begins Dec. 11.  

“Our annual convention embodies the importance of empowering equine veterinarians and students with solutions that create healthier patients, practices and lifestyles,” said AAEP Executive Director David Foley. “This year’s combination of strong clinical education supplemented by the rollout of AAEP-member generated solutions to traditional impediments to career sustainability really showcased the transformation and opportunities that exist in equine practice.” 

With a choice from among 123.5 hours of continuing education offerings, practitioners acquired new knowledge and approaches to help resolve medical ailments across all body systems of the horse. They also obtained blueprints for enhancing professional and personal lives through new resources and success stories from colleagues who have implemented novel means to improve practice culture, compensation, emergency coverage and internships.  

Beyond exceptional education, practitioners and students connected with friends old and new at numerous social and networking events. They also shopped for practice investments among 300 exhibiting companies in the trade show.  

2024 officers installed: Dr. Katie Garrett of Lexington, Ky., was installed as AAEP’s 70th president. She is joined as a 2024 officer by President-Elect Dr. Tracy Turner of Stillwater, Minn.; Vice President Dr. Sarah Reuss of Littleton, Colo.; Treasurer Dr. Mitchell Rode of Berryville, Va.; and Immediate Past President Dr. Rob Franklin of Fredericksburg, Texas. 

New members of the board of directors are Dr. Raul Bras of Raleigh, N.C.; Dr. Erin Contino of Fort Collins, Colo.; and Dr. Sara Langsam of Garden City, N.Y. 

Annual awards bestowed: Four AAEP members were honored for outstanding contributions to the horse and profession during the Dec. 2 President’s Luncheon: 

  • Distinguished Educator – Academic Award: Dr. Michelle Barton, Athens, Ga. 
  • Distinguished Educator – Mentor Award: Dr. Ryland Edwards, Newtown, Conn. 
  • Distinguished Life Member: Dr. Kenton Morgan, Faucett, Mo. 
  • Distinguished Service Award: Dr. Julie Wilson, Stillwater, Minn. 

Record scholarships awarded: Through the generosity of its scholarship program partners, The Foundation for the Horse awarded $535,000 in scholarships to 29 veterinary students and a graduate research student. 

Looking ahead, the AAEP’s 70th Annual Convention will be held in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 7–11, 2024. 

About AAEP 

The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its over 9,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry. 

Note: Photos of officers, new board members and award recipients are available by contacting Giulia Garcia at garcia@aaep.org. Press releases about the award recipients and new board members are available at https://aaep.org/newsroom.