I have been attending AAEP Conventions since I was a sophomore in veterinary school. I have found that when I arrive in the airport, it is easy to pick out the equine practitioner at the luggage return. But some practitioners make it much more easy than others and I would have to admit that it is predominantly the male equine practitioner.  The number of cowboy hats and many varieties of mustaches are interesting. I realize that at many equine events this is a normal sight, but in a fancy resort meeting it probably seems to be a bit of an oddity.

I never really noticed the many hats and mustaches that occur at an equine event or even the annual AAEP meeting because it was considered normal. Not until it was noticed by a "nonhorse" person and pointed out to me that I began to take note. So I have taken some time walking through the halls and made more notice of the differences. 

As most of us horsemen know, the felt cowboy hat is the "winter hat," while the straw one is the "summer hat."  Most of the hats are black, but there have been a few brown ones here and there as well. The most unique sightings are the individualism of the mustache. I think a great "human interest" story would be interviewing these practitioners who tote the mustaches as to why and how do they determine the length. 

As far as I am concerned, it would not be a complete equine event without the uniqueness and individualism of the cowboy hats and mustaches in the crowd. It personifies our own uniqueness when it comes to equine horse care and client care. As we all have learned over the years, there are many correct ways to come to the same conclusion in taking care of a horse. Just do what is best for the horse and best for you.

Dr. Erin Denney-Jones