Written by: Adrienna Hunsberger, Esq. | Photos by Cecillia B Photography
Featured article from The Arabian Times’ Experience Edition.
Meet Dr. Mitch Lowrey, DVM and Ms. Kelly MacQueen, Esq who currently work to provide unique options for meeting the needs of the equestrian community. Dr. Mitch and Kelly live and breathe horses and are gleaming examples of taking two passions and intertwining both into unique and rewarding career paths.
Kelly has owned Arabians and Half-Arabians her entire life and has successfully competed in a number of disciplines at the regional and national level. Recently, Kelly has shown her Half-Arabian gelding, Lightning McQueen, in the country English pleasure division and her Half-Arabian mare, Little Tabby Cat, in the reining division. Currently, her Hanoverian mare is in foal to the Arabian stallion TS Virtuoso.
Dr. Mitch’s love for the Arabian breed came later in his life, when he met Kelly and her Arabs. His riding background was primarily with Quarter Horses, roping and cutting, but now that he’s lived with and cared for Arabians, he’s hooked.
Together they reside at their equine facility located along the I-95 corridor just 45 miles inland from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
BEGINNINGS & COMMITMENT TO EQUINE CARE
Dr. Mitch’s love, respect, and connection to horses was cultivated at an early age in Kansas by his mother, a Native American who was part of the Pawnee tribe. Dr. Mitch’s fondness for horses led him to choose a career in equine veterinarian medicine. He began his professional studies at Oklahoma State University as an undergrad in their animal science program. After obtaining his undergrad degree, Dr. Mitch’s pride in his country led him to respond to the call to serve in the United States Marine Corps, where he spent eight years as an Infantry officer. Upon leaving the service, Dr. Mitch went back to his pursuit of working with horses and entered Oklahoma State University’s veterinary medicine program
Dr. Mitch’s perseverance, hard work, and dedication was put to the test early on in his professional career. During his summer internship, just prior to his senior year of vet school, Dr. Mitch was involved in a serious car accident that left him in a coma for several months, brought him close to death’s door, and led to further serious medical complications during his hospital stay and rehabilitation.
Kelly attributes this difficult time and experience to being reflective of the type of vet Dr. Mitch is, stating, “Mitch’s personal experiences with being in such severe pain for such a long period of time absolutely gives him a greater connection and a special sense of the pain his patients are experiencing. I truly believe this traumatic experience, and his recovery and rehabilitation from it, has provided Mitch with a unique foundation to how he approaches his cases.”
After obtaining his doctorate in veterinary medicine and expanding his knowledge, insight, and exposure to specific lameness issues, Dr. Mitch moved to South Carolina and founded his veterinary practice, Equine Sports Medicine & Chiropractic Care. The focus of his practice is on providing treatment and prevention of specific lameness issues, as well as ensuring the overall well-being and maintenance of performance horses. Expanding on his prowess in equine sports medicine, lameness, and biomechanics, Dr. Mitch is also a certified member of the International Society of Equine Locomotor Pathology, is certified in Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy, and is also certified in Veterinary Acupuncture.
ORIGINS AND PATH TO THE EQUINE LEGAL FIELD
Kelly grew up as a “crazy horse girl” in Michigan, where she began riding horses at the age of eight. Kelly’s very first horse was a retired Arabian park horse named Romirzaz. Kelly was instantly hooked, and has been involved with Arabians ever since, even taking on the job of groom in high school during the summers and learning from many national-level trainers. Unlike Dr. Mitch, Kelly did not always know that working within the equine community was her destiny.
After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Michigan State University, Kelly’s professional career began in Savannah, Georgia where she spent 10 years working in the criminal court system. It was during this time that Kelly met Dr. Mitch and their love of horses connected them on a deep and personal level.
Kelly would spend her days working her job as a probation officer and her nights and weekends would be spent running farm calls and emergencies with Dr. Mitch. She attributes this work with Dr. Mitch to be the turning point for her career choice. Kelly recalled, “I learned more about horses and the horse industry during the first two weeks of riding on calls with Mitch than I had during my 20 years of horse ownership.” This work had such an impact on Kelly that she left her job as a probation officer to work full time with Dr. Mitch on the road running farm calls.
After several years of working with Dr. Mitch, Kelly saw firsthand the unique needs of the equine community and felt a calling to expand her legal background into an attorney to specifically meet these legal needs.
Upon becoming a member of the South Carolina bar, Kelly opened MacQueen Equine Law and has since expanded her licensure reach to serve clients in the states of Arizona and Georgia.
Through her background and many years as a horse rider, horse owner, competitor, equine facility owner, and veterinary practice owner, Kelly offers a unique and understanding perspective to her clients and to the approach she takes to the practice of equine law.
SERVING THE EQUINE COMMUNITY TOGETHER
Dr. Mitch and Kelly are truly a powerhouse equine team, running their equine facility together and helping the other out in their respective practices. Kelly takes a very hands-on approach to her position as manager for the veterinary practice by not only assisting with the care of the horses at their farm that are patients of Dr. Mitch, but you will still periodically find Kelly out on the road working farm calls with Dr. Mitch.
Kelly shares, “It helps me stay connected to the equestrian community in a real, tangible, and meaningful way. His clients enjoy picking my brain on potential legal issues, and sometimes I’ll set up some additional time to speak with them privately for a consultation.”
In turn, Dr. Mitch’s expertise has become a great asset to Kelly and her legal clients. With her clients’ express permission, Kelly is able to consult with Dr. Mitch for his perspective of a particular matter. Having this initial input, especially in cases involving pre-purchase exams, sale disputes, veterinary malpractice matters, as well as in cases involving illness and injury, goes a long way in helping Kelly formulate case strategy, determine the merits of the case up front, formulate alternative causation theories, and provide a cost benefit analysis determination to her clients.
Additionally, Kelly explains that ambulatory vets have a great insight into issues and changes in the equine industry and really have a finger on the pulse of the horse community. Dr. Mitch has a wide range of clientele, which includes FEI riders, breeders, sellers, judges, equine facility owners, appraisers, show sponsors, trainers of all disciplines, as well as pleasure riders and individual horse owners. This is in addition to his large network of equine veterinarian colleagues from all over the U.S. and abroad. Kelly feels fortunate for her ability to tap into all of these connections through Dr. Mitch, which provides a hugely unique benefit to her clientele that they are unlikely to get elsewhere.
THEIR FARM AND ITS FUTURE
In 2015, Kelly and Dr. Mitch purchased and began renovating their farm, a 35-stall equestrian facility located in the Low Country of South Carolina.
Dr. Mitch and Kelly offer a variety of services at their farm. Their facility offers a place where equine athletes can vacation, rest, recover, or rehabilitate while receiving wellness, therapeutic, and veterinary services that are tailored individually for each horse. Their facility also serves as a location for haul-in appointments for clients that are outside of Dr. Mitch’s normal travel range or for clients interested in receiving private veterinary care.
Dr. Mitch and Kelly hope to expand by becoming a one-stop-shop for equine sales to occur, by providing a place where every aspect of the sale can take place, thus easing concerns over complex equine sales transactions. From providing a neutral location at their facility for the potential buyer to have a thorough trial period with the horse, to Dr. Mitch handling the pre-purchase exam to ensure the buyer has sufficient information relating to the health and soundness of the horse, this enables the buyer to make an informed decision. Finally once an agreement has been made, the ”closing” would take place right at the farm through Kelly, allowing the entire process, from start to finish, to be smooth, reliable, legally sound, clear, concise and straightforward.
Ultimately, it is Dr. Mitch and Kelly’s goal to continue combining their expertise and passion for horses and provide diverse and forward-thinking services to the equine community.