It All Started With A Girl
How I got here is just a miracle, but it involves me meeting Kathy at a Thoroughbred breeding and training center in 1976. She saw me as something more than what I was doing. Isn’t it always the case that behind every man is a woman seeing something more than he sees?
I wouldn’t say I liked school. I had quit college three times. I couldn’t read well and tested poorly. I came from an Ivy League ancestry and was now a farmhand training to become the manager. But Kathy said she saw something in me, and as she fed me homemade meatballs, how could I argue? But to be a veterinarian, you had to be smart – or at least have high grades. I did not fit the mold nor meet the criteria.
I was good with horses. I started working with them in 1973 working at this farm. I also loved scuba diving and had wanted to be an oceanographer – again, the grades didn’t work for me. I had been taking pictures since 1964 and had developed my first roll of film in 1967, so I thought I would become a photographer. 99% of the images on this site are from me, with only a few from clients. I also loved to drive. I have driven vehicles as small as a Toyota Yaris and as big as an 18-speed transmission, long nose Peterbilt 18-wheeler measuring an illegal 68 feet in length.
But then I met Kathy, and off I went back to college.
Learning How To Read
In the summer of 1976, I learned from my mother in a casual conversation that all the tests I had taken to figure out why I couldn’t read showed that I “read from right to left, or something like that.” “Ma,” I exclaimed. “That’s dyslexia!” So, like the pieces of a puzzle coming together, I set out to learn how to read just about when I met Kathy and my veterinary mentor, Dr. John Steiner, who both recognized my horse talent.
During the spring of 1977, I helped to deliver many foals, with Dr. Steiner guiding me through the internal manipulations needed to untwist some foals. He said my arms were longer, so he watched as I went inside the mares. The farm stood seven stallions, and we had over 200 visiting mares. I organized all the preventive care, managed all the injuries, and trained all the yearlings to saddle and ride—this work I did BEFORE I applied to Cornell undergraduate school.
1978 was when I enrolled at Cornell to finish my undergraduate degree in 2 1/2 years. My reading improved. I also got busy with other things related to horses. I started the Cornell Student Horseman’s Association and made myself president. I inaugurated the “5-minute spiel” rule where anyone could stand up and interrupt anyone speaking if they could give a 5-minute presentation about horses. A few took the challenge. One of my “spiels” was about the vector analysis of forces applied to the hocks as the cause of bone spavin – all in 1978.
I also started the Intercollegiate Horse Bowl competition with all the New York Agriculture schools. In addition, I started “Foal Watch,” where undergraduates in the Association stayed up all night watching mares who were about to deliver. But the big thing I did in 1979 was I created the first-ever “I Love New York Horse Symposium.” Five hundred people paid to attend a weekend of lectures covering subjects from assisted riding facilities to horse sales, horse law, and veterinary care. Speakers included the head of Fasig Tipton Thoroughbred horse sales, Ami Shininski (the publisher of the new magazine called “Equus”) and a variety of clinicians from the vet school.
In 1980 I was accepted into the Veterinary College at Cornell, and in 1984 I earned the DVM degree. This miracle would never have happened without Kathy, Dr. Steiner, the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Course and, of course, all the teachers and mentors who have helped me through these formative years.
The Short Ending To My Long Story
It seems like I have always been teaching. You have heard the evidence. There is no end in sight for this passion of mine. Noteworthy is that I was a horseman before I became a veterinarian. Also noteworthy was that my grades reflected only my poor test-taking abilities. But my reading style never clutters my deep conviction of always asking “Why?” and never accepting what “they” offer as a fact. So I keep digging and searching.
I, fortunately, have a team to help me dig deeper and search wider into understanding how horses work. They are my wife Kathy and my son Matt. Together they support me in the invisible things you see here, bringing you an effective website experience and allowing me to focus on content creation. But, of course, they also break up my focus once in a while, like diving in the clear waters of south Florida or going to football games (Go USF Bulls!).
Now you know a little “About Me.” I’m just a guy who likes horses and who likes to teach. I have a few stories to tell if you’re willing to listen. If you’re ready, become a member to get to know me better.
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