HORSEPLAY: New horse vet sets up shop on Olympic Peninsula

THERE’S A NEW horse vet in town. Like a boomerang, Cori Youngblood has returned to her roots on the Olympic Peninsula to hang up her shingle, Olympic View Equine Medicine & Surgery, offering to horses and owners her expertise as a board certified equine veterinarian and surgeon.

Fifteen years after she graduated from Sequim High School, Youngblood has returned an accomplished woman with the initials DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine), MS (Master of Science) and DACVS-LA (Diplomat American College of Veterinary Surgeons, Large Animal) after her surname.

In 2021, she was realizing her dream goal as an equine surgeon in California when she got the call that a beloved family member had passed away.

“I lost my grandma last year,” Youngblood said.

The event caused her to realize how much she missed her parents and family members back home.

“Since graduating high school, I’ve only been focused on school, work, school and more work. My niece is 5 now, so I decided I wanted to live closer to her and watch her grow up. It was time for me to focus on the more important things in life, like family.”

Horse competition

As a youth, she participated in horse competitions as a member of the 4-H horse club Showstoppers and in Washington State Horsemen events with Olympic Peninsula Zone in both English and Western performance classes.

Later, she got hooked on the thrill of barrel and pole racing, competing all through high school in junior rodeo events.

“In junior rodeo, I focused mostly on barrels and poles because I can’t rope anything to save my life,” she said with a laugh.

Calling her business Olympic View is her way of paying tribute to the man who helped inspired her journey to become a horse vet, retired veterinarian Bob Mowbray. He owned Olympic View Stables on Finn Hall Road in Agnew. Shelby Vaughn purchased the 10-acre stables after Mowbray retired in 2014, updating and renaming it Fox-Bell Farm & Training.

“Growing up, I was at Olympic View Stables a lot,” she said. “I’d follow Bob Mowbray around and watch him do all kinds of vet work, on all kinds of animals, and thought, ‘I want to do that, too.’”

It was during a class in the eighth grade that she had an epiphany: “We dissected a horse heart in health class, and I was like, ‘Wow. This is coolest thing I’ve ever done.’”

She was so amazed and enthralled by the experience that it solidified her desire to spend her life combining her love of science and horses.

“Going into med school, I wasn’t sure if I was going to do a mixed animal practice, and there we worked on all types of animals because Bob (Mowbray) worked on all animals — dogs, cows, horses and more.”

As she got more into working on animals in college, she realized she wanted to specialize her work on only horses. And then, she set her sights on becoming a horse surgeon so, “I could become really good at a subset of things, instead of being kind of mediocre at everything.”

She attended Washington State University for her undergraduate and veterinary degrees. Following vet school, she completed internships at Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center in New Jersey and Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky. After her internships, she completed a two-year large animal clinical fellowship at Oregon State University and then a three-year equine surgical residency at Kansas State University while earning a master’s degree in veterinary biological science.

My goodness, this woman likes to study and work.

After four years of internships and three years of residency, she became board certified in large animal surgery in 2020 while an equine surgeon at Humphrey Giacopuzzi & Associates Equine Hospital, which offers colic, orthopedic, neonatal and reproductive, soft tissue and ophthalmic surgery in Somis, Calif.

Now, without a surgery hospital, she’s limited to simple surgeries she can do in the field, such as a common castration, which turns a male stud with reproductive powers to a gelding — in other words, to render the male horse sterile. Additional field surgeries include tumor and/or mass removal, enucleation (eye removal), laceration repair and neurectomy, among others.

I asked if a future goal included opening an equine surgery center on the Peninsula, much like Sound Equine in Poulsbo.

“That would be great, but I don’t know that we have the horse population to support it,” she said. “I think I’ll get a better feel for that after working up here awhile.

“But right now, I’ve got student loans and a house mortgage worth of equipment to pay off, so it’ll be a long ways down the road before I’m able to think about doing that.”

She said even though she’s opened a general practice, her training as a surgeon has “given me the opportunity to learn so much more. So as a surgeon, you know a lot of problems come from within, and as a surgeon, you get inside a body, move things around and tear things apart, and then repair and rebuild.”

In addition to field surgeries, Olympic View Equine Medicine & Surgery mobile veterinarian services offers digital radiography, endoscopy for diagnosis of upper airway disorders such as laryngeal paralysis, roaring or guttural pouch disease and for diagnosis of gastric cancers.

Ultrasound is available for diagnosis of soft tissue, musculoskeletal injuries, causes of colic, breathing management and thoracic disorders. Laboratory service includes in-house blood work, complete blood count and serum biochemistry that can indicate infection and inflammation.

Youngblood also provides evaluations for metabolic or endocrine diseases, parasites, viral or bacterial infection, along with routine Coggins testing.

For routine teeth floating, she uses precise power equipment with standing sedation. She performs both internal and external examinations, carrying with her video endoscopy, ultrasound imaging and diagnostic testing equipment.

Olympic View Equine hours of operation are from 9 a.m.to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Life-threatening emergency services, such as colic, lacerations and other conditions requiring immediate treatment are available 24/7.

To make an appointment or for an emergency, phone Youngblood at 360-967-3020.

For more information, visit her website at OlympicViewEquine.com.

Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears the second and fourth Sunday of each month.

If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, email Griffiths at [email protected] at least two weeks in advance. You can also call her at 360-460-6299.

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