Oldwick, NJ - Veterinarians from B.W. Furlong and Associates in Oldwick, New Jersey will accompany the US and Canadian Eventing Teams to the Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico: Dr. Brendan Furlong is team veterinarian for the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team and Dr. Christiana Ober is Team Veterinarian for the Canadian Eventing Team. This will mark Dr. Furlong's fourth time traveling with the US team to a Pan-Am event: he was team vet at Winnipeg, Canada in 1999, the Fair Hill (Maryland) alternate venue for Equestrian when the Games were held in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic) in 2003 and at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2007.
Dr. Furlong has also accompanied the US team to multiple Olympic Games and World Championships. Dr. Ober has also served as head team vet for the Canadian Team at the 2007 Pan-Am Games, 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong, and the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany and Lexington, Kentucky.
The 2011 US Eventing Team competing in Guadalajara will include Hannah Sue Burnett, Buck Davidson, Jonathan Holling, Shannon Lilley and Michael Pollard. Alternates are Kristin Schmolze, Boyd Martin, Tamra Smith, Lynn Symanski and Jolie Wentworth, but the US will not send a traveling alternate. All team members and alternates are currently in Ocala, Florida at a training camp at Mrs. Jaqueline Mars' Meredyth South and will fly out on Saturday, October 15th.
"At my first Pan-Am event, Buck was the junior member of the team," said Dr. Furlong. "He's a good friend and now, it's hard to believe, he's the senior member of the team! It's also a little bittersweet as it's my last time doing this; I feel like it's time for me to move on, so I'm passing the reins on after London to focus on my practice and some personal things."
Dr. Furlong was in England during the test event in Mexico but said, "[Chef d'Mission] Jim Wolf and other members from the USEF were there and the facilities are supposed to be very good. They're purpose-built and everything during the competition should be well-equipped and well staffed."
Dr. Ober is already based in Florida; Dr. Furlong will travel to Ocala on Thursday to check all the horses on Friday before the team flies out, then will join them in Mexico on Sunday. He has been participating in the selection process and is already familiar with the horses and riders. "I went to the mandatory outing at Richland Park and did a vet evaluation on the listed horses, and I checked them before and after Morven Park," he said. "They're a great bunch of people and horses; it's a young team and it is fantastic to see the enthusiasm of the riders who are wearing the team jacket for the first time."
Dr. Furlong said that his hopes for the Games are simple. "I'd love to think our team can be successful, that our horses can do well and that we have some fun as well. Usually you look back and think, 'I wouldn't have missed that for anything.' It's a unique privilege to be behind the scenes at this level of competition."