Cooling Out With ... Dr. Bri Gindlesperger
An associate veterinarian at Fred McCashin’s Carolina Equine Clinic on Youngs Road, Bri Gindlesperger admits she was drawn to Southern Pines because of the rich eventing culture.
Unfortunately, an accident on her young Irish Sport Horse cross three months ago forced Gindlesperger, a graduate of The Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, to put her eventing plans on hold while her broken leg heals.
Yet despite not being able to participate in the very activity that attracted her to Southern Pines, the 29-year-old native of Columbus, Ohio, says she plans to be here for a long time.
“Everything’s kind of a stop on the way to something else,” said Gindlesperger, who arrived in Southern Pines in July 2010. “But this may be a long layover.”
Q: Did you always want to be a vet?
A: Everyone always told me I should be a vet, so I guess other people knew before I did. As silly as it sounds, I didn’t want to be the one to put an animal to sleep.
Q: When did you decide to pursue it?
A: I was riding for the equestrian team at Otterbein College (in Westerville, Ohio). I had an interest in physical therapy and was taking equine studies to fill my time and be more knowledgeable about the horses I was riding. One of our horses went to Ohio State for tieback surgery and we went to observe. I was sitting there watching and I had an “Aha!” moment: This is what I need to do with my life. I went to the registrar the next day and changed my major to track for vet school.
Q: Do you have fond memories of vet school?
A: I learned something new every single day. The course work the first three years was really grueling … you’re sitting in class eight hours a day. The biggest payoff comes in the clinics. I don’t think you could pay me to sit through classes again but the clinics make it worth it.
Q: Did you know you wanted to focus on horses?
A: I bounced back and forth a little. I got a job at a small animal hospital and really liked what I did there. I toyed around with the idea of doing both large and small animals but I really feel like you can’t do everything and do it well. I just feel happier outside with horses, and wanted to be good at that.
Q: What was the best part about working in a small animal clinic?
A: We went down to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to work with displaced animals. We took some of the animals back with us and ran a rescue through the clinic. One of the dogs we hadn’t picked to bring back, well, I wound up bringing home with me to foster, and he kind of stayed. His name is Rugby, and he’s a beagle/Aussie mix. I also have a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix named Chesney.
Q: When did you start riding?
A: I started taking lessons when I was 9, and just kept going from that point on. I competed on the Otterbein equestrian team in hunt seat, dressage, and three-day. But I’ve always kind of had a passion for eventing, so here I am.
Q: Who was your first horse?
A: My first horse was Millie, a thoroughbred/Percheron mare. I got her when I was 19. I got her to compete her as an undergrad, and ran her until she had colic surgery my senior year. I had to put her to sleep this past January … she was 25. I still hold true to the fact that she was the best horse ever to walk the face of the planet.
Q: Had you been to Southern Pines before you took the job?
A: I picked a few places I wanted to live and sent resumes out. I got called for an interview in Liberty, N.C., and when I went to talk to them the woman said, “I probably shouldn’t tell you about another job, but Fred McCashin is looking for someone and you’d be perfect for it.”
Q: Do you have a particular interest within your practice?
A: My primary interest is sport horse medicine and lameness.
Q: How many horses do you have now?
A: Two and a half. My miniature horse, Wee One, is going to have a baby next month. And of course there’s Emmett, my Irish baby.
Q: Ah, Emmett. I understand we have Emmett to thank for the fashionable boot you’ve been sporting around town?
A: Uh … yes. He was six weeks under saddle and had one of his baby moments while I was on him. I got bucked off and landed on my feet, which I’ve since learned is not the best option. I broke both bones in my lower right leg and dislocated my ankle. I had surgery on May 20 and was out of work seven weeks. I started back to work the beginning of July and went from a cast to the boot. I’ll find out next week if I get to ditch the boot!
Q: Will Emmett get the boot?
A: Well, he’s kind of a question mark right now. I would love to get back into competing, but right now I just don’t know if I’m going to get him going again or find the right horse.
Contact Stephanie Diaz at MediaPlan88@aol.com
More like this story