In seventh grade I remember sitting atop our paddock’s four-board fence and interviewing my family’s longtime veterinarian, Dr. Kitt Bosse. It was a career-day assignment, and at the time I was seriously thinking about the profession … well, as seriously as a horse-crazy tween considers gainful employment during those comparatively carefree years.

One of the things I remember most about Dr. Bosse’s visits to the barn is that she wasn’t in a super-huge hurry. But even though she was chatty, friendly, and practically a member of the family, she always communicated information clearly and professionally about the horses in her care. Also, she set realistic expectations about outcomes, not sparing us any of the details (or resulting tears). She was (and still is) a straight-shooter, and her dedication to what was right for each particular animal is what has kept us as longtime clients.

Fast-forward decades later to that once-imagined place of gainful employment; I didn’t go the veterinary school route, but still find myself working with veterinarians on a regular basis. In the May issue we published a feature story on the nine qualities to consider when choosing an equine veterinarian.

Cover Photo: Sarah Lynn Church/TheHorse.com

In reading that article I saw why Dr. Bosse was the right fit for our family because of numerous qualities, from her horse-handling skills to her availability. What I’d never really thought about, though, is that right “mix” of facility offerings, practice focus, and education/experience varies from owner to owner; some want to employ a veterinarian with a gregarious manner like Dr. Bosse’s. Others hope for a professional, “Yes, sir. No, sir,” bedside manner in a practitioner, with no discussion about the weather or what crazy thing our Miniature Horses did last week.

Though there are some fundamental requirements (read: showing up for appointments), picking a practitioner ultimately comes down to personal preferences. I think writer Tracy Gantz did a great job breaking down the how-tos of this important decision. If you’re not a subscriber yet, grab a copy of the issue or subscribe to the print magazine or digital edition. Other highlights in this Wellness Special Issue:

  • Equine Dentistry: Beyond the Basics. We know you love learning about your horse’s teeth (Web stats don’t lie!). Writer D.J. Carey Lyons unpacks the advances that are helping horses nosh comfortably.
  • Planning Hay Purchases. This piece—which is one of our monthly “Equinomics” stories—will walk you through hay types, cuttings, quality, shape/size, etc., along with providing a list of questions to ask your hay provider. Good, useful stuff.
  • Handling for Vet Visits. Another favorite part of this issue for me (besides the cover story—which we’re letting you preview) were great, workable tips from the behavior expert herself, Dr. Sue McDonnell (PhD, Cert. AAB), on handling horses for veterinary visits. We used to have a pony that went Jekyll-Hyde on us anytime the veterinarian came near her with a speculum and a float. Personally, I wish I’d had this article on hand to learn more about managing her behavior.

This is just a sampling of the May issue, of course—see more in its pages, and let me know what article helped you the most with your particular horses.

In the meantime, I’m curious: What qualities are most important to you in a veterinarian?