When Grand Prix dressage rider Meagan Davis needs to make sure her horses are feeling their best, she turns to Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC), located in the heart of Wellington, FL. PBEC has invested more than 30 years and the work of talented veterinarians in evolving the most advanced diagnostic imaging, surgical skills, alternative therapies, and overall care of sport horses across varying disciplines.
Meagan Davis Dressage, based in Loxahatchee, FL, and Stone Ridge, NY, has entrusted PBEC with the care and maintenance of their string of dressage horses for nearly a decade. Drawn to the personalized care provided by PBEC’s team of veterinarians, which includes six boarded specialists, head trainer Davis was immediately comfortable turning to the clinic for the care of her horses.
“Palm Beach Equine Clinic is the premier facility in South Florida,” said Davis, 28, who has been traveling to Florida to compete at events that include the prestigious Adequan® Global Dressage Festival since she was 18. “If I am going to have a horse undergo any kind of surgery or maintenance work, I will choose Palm Beach Equine Clinic every time without a doubt.
“Knowing that I can compete well in a CDI because my horse is feeling his best gives me valuable peace of mind,” said Davis. “Being that we have a couple of older horses, maintenance is huge in keeping their longevity. We have a 19-year-old horse who could go out and compete fourth level tomorrow because he is so well cared for by our vets. For my younger horses, it’s about keeping them feeling their best so their careers are as long as these older horses we have.”
A quick look at Meagan Davis Dressage
Davis herself competed internationally for the first time at age 11 in the FEI Pony Division at the America's Cup in Blainville, Quebec, while riding under the tutelage of U.S. dressage rider Lendon Gray. The appearance earned her the distinction of being the youngest rider to represent the United States in international dressage competition. She won the USEF National Young Rider Dressage Championship in 2010 and went on to compete at the Young Rider World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany, that same year. There, Davis earned a title as the only U.S. rider to finish in the "A" final, where she was seventh.
Davis later rode under the direction of 2004 Olympic and 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games team gold medalist Hubertus Schmidt of Germany before launching her own business at the end of her junior career.
“I built the business up from there,” said Davis. “I got a couple low level green broke horses to start and continued their education up through the levels. Clients started to see us at shows and were coming to me.
“When I turned 21, I started to bring clients down to Florida with me,” continued Davis, who runs her boarding and training operation out of a Loxahatchee farm owned by her parents, Bill and Karen Davis.
Davis currently oversees the care and training of 14 horses ranging in age from three to 23. Her own mount Royale, owned by longtime client Scott Durkin of New York, NY, is currently competing in the small tour division and contested five CDI events during the 2018 winter season. Davis is also currently producing a young horse, Damocles HLF, which her father found at an auction in Orlando. At only eight, the gelding is competing in the Developing Prix St. Georges ranks.
Davis also has a three-year-old gelding she is starting herself for Durkin, as well as clients competing at second and third level. There is even a dressage pony rounding out the string!
Trusting Palm Beach Equine Clinic
For Davis, the correct maintenance of the horses under her supervision is the cornerstone of her training program.
PBEC’s own Dr. Robert Brusie, who graduated from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine and is a board-certified surgeon, pays a visit to Meagan Davis Dressage when they arrive at their southern base each November. Giving all the horses a comprehensive exam, Dr. Brusie evaluates the needs of each individual horse to keep them fit and happy during the show season.
“He does a full work-up – flexions, injections, x-rays if needed,” said Davis. “There was a time when we weren’t doing these checks and what would happen is we would get going and I would find that something didn’t feel right and we would be missing shows during the season.”
Dr. Brusie is also responsible for vetting the majority of Davis’ horses. One, in particular, was a 14-year-old Westphalian who had a late flying change.
“We discussed how the flying change was so late and if we would ever be able to fix that situation,” said Davis. “Dr. Brusie watched the horse go, I schooled the flying changes for him, we did the vetting, and he said, ‘You’ll have this change no problem.’ He gave me what he thought would be a good program for maintenance and muscle building and the next year we had changes. I competed him through fourth level.”
When the unexpected happens
Every horse owner knows that when it comes to a horse’s health, the unexpected is always a looming possibility. For Davis, however, the anxiety of caring for top level sport horses is slightly assuaged by having PBEC in her corner.
“We have a Friesian who was losing weight with no clear reason why,” said Davis. “I was referred to Dr. Heidmann, who was able to correctly diagnose a colon ulcer over the phone after listening to his symptoms. He told me exactly what to do and the horse was almost magically better!”
Dr. Peter Heidmann is the PBEC resident internal medicine specialist and rounds out a diverse group of veterinarians and specialists who provide comprehensive diagnostic and treatment care.
“It’s nice that they have such a wide variety of vets on staff,” continued Davis. “We have used their MRI machine to help diagnose a torn check ligament on a horse that has since made a full recovery and is back to work, we have had them quickly assess a minor colic that had the potential to be very serious, and we have had PBEC vets here for everything from gelding stallions to teeth floating.”
With the care of her horses always at its best, Davis has big plans for her clients and herself, saying, “I hope to move Royale up to the Grand Prix level in the next year, and I would love to qualify Damocles for the USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships. As for the clients, they will all be qualifying for regionals, which is a big deal for adult amateurs at second level. It’s all made possible because Palm Beach Equine Clinic keeps all of our horses feeling their best.”
Have further questions about the services available at PBEC? Call the clinic today at 561-793-1599 to learn more.