Local veterinarian finding success on horse riding circuit

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 9, 2001

The doctor is in – the top 10 barrel riders in the nation, that is.

Monday, July 09, 2001

The doctor is in – the top 10 barrel riders in the nation, that is.

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Lawrence County veterinarian Mary Toothman and her horse "Nineteen Bits" recently took their place at the top at the "NasCup 2000: Millennium Million World Show" in Louisville, Ky.

The sanctioned show event crowds from all over the U.S. and Canada to compete in various equine events.

This isn’t the first time the vet, or her 14-year- old horse, has received national honors.

Ten years ago, Toothman said, the horse received honors in the pole-bending competition winning honors with the American Quarter Horse Association.

Toothman isn’t a stranger to the competition arena, either. She said she began riding in meets soon after she got her first horse when she was 13 years old. She said in those days, one horse served the purpose for every competition. Now, Toothman explained, horses are bred and trained for specific events. "Horses now are highly specialized," Toothman explained and she should know, equine medicine is a specialty for the veterinarian.

From January to June, Toothman can be found at the Ohio University Horse Park in Franklin Furnace.

In addition to her teaching duties, she’s a professor in the equine science program, she conducts the artificial insemination program.

Although Toothman received honors, her friends and clients are keeping her grounded. "Does your hat still fit on your head," joked one man who walked over to congratulate her, eluding to a potentially inflated ego. Toothman just laughed and told him that with all the attention she’s received since she’s been home – she explained news travels fast in horse circles – her head might be getting a little bigger. Plus, Toothman has served as the fair veterinarian for over 20 years, and has had a practice in the county for just as long. She looked around the fairgrounds the day of the horse show and said most of the people there has been her clients at one point in time.

Toothman said she looked for to future competitions, she said she already has some another horse that will soon be ready for competition. In the meantime, Toothman will keep on competing and taking care of the horses in the Tri-State.

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