Press room

2011 press releases

Posted: 17/08/11

Equine Vet of the Year Finalists announced

Petplan Equine

Petplan Equine, the UK's specialist equine insurance provider, is delighted to announce the finalists for this year's Petplan Equine Vet of the Year Award. Now into its fourth year, the 2011 awards received over 185 nominations, and it was no easy task choosing just three finalists from so many worthy vets.

The winner of this prestigious people's award, which is sponsored by Petplan Equine in association with Horse&Rider Magazine, will be announced at the glamorous Animal Health Trust Equestrian Awards ceremony held in London on Thursday 3rd November 2011.

The Petplan Equine Vet of the Year finalists are:

Dr Catherine McGowan, BVSc DipVetClinStud MACVSc PhD DEIM DipECEIM FHEA MRCVS from the University of Liverpool. Catherine is described as an outstanding veterinary surgeon with the highest of standards who gives 110 per cent to her career while also being a mother of two small children. One client commented, "If there was ever an outstanding equine veterinary surgeon, Catherine McGowan shines above them all."

Chris Pearce BVSc CertEM (IntMed) BAEDT MRCVS from The Barn Equine Surgery in Dorset. Chris received several nominations highlighting his ability to make his clients feel at ease because he always takes the time to talk everything through with them in plain english. One very grateful owner prasied him for understanding how important horses are to their owners and emphasised his support and co-operation when working with horses.

Ross Syme BSc (Hons), BVM&S, MRCVS from Avondale Veterinary Group in South Lanarkshire. Not only does Ross provide a highly efficient service but at the same time he has a very friendly and caring nature. He is extremely hard working and always puts the care of the horse first, including a recent case where he responded to an emergency call-out at 7am to x-ray a horse and supplied the results by lunchtime. Ross is also compassionate, displaying great empathy, and always goes "beyond the call of duty" to support owners.

Horse owners from all over the UK have been nominating vets who they feel are worthy of the prestigious title of Petplan Equine Vet of the Year and the finalists were selected by an independent judging panel.

This year's judges are David Stickels, Head of Fundraising at the Animal Health Trust, Alison Bridge, Editor in Chief of Horse&Rider Magazine, Deidre Carson, President of the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and Gil Riley, 2009 Petplan Equine Vet of the Year. They now have the tough task of selecting this year's winner.

"It was an incredibly difficult job for the judges to choose just three finalists," said Petplan Equine Director, Neil Brettell. "Once again we were very impressed by the nominations we received, which described the calibre and outstanding contributions all nominees have made to the equine community in keeping horses healthy and their owners happy. It has been inspiring to read the submissions and see the incredible commitment shown by equine vets across the UK."

The Animal Health Trust Equestrian Awards are designed to recognise the amazing achievements made by horses, riders, owners and trainers in the equestrian world, and Petplan Equine has always had a strong link with the awards and the Trust. Since the Petplan Charitable Trust was founded in 1994, it has raised over £5 million, of which almost £500,000 has been donated to the AHT helping to fund research and development.

Horse welfare is of the utmost importance at Petplan Equine and as the UK's specialist insurance provider, the company is dedicated to promoting responsible horse ownership through its charitable contributions, wide range of policies and initiatives such as the informative equine resource website,

The winner will be posted on on 4th November.

For further information, please contact:

Back to Press Room

For more information please contact the Petplan press office on:

Name Telephone Email
Tolu Akisanya 0208 580 8194 [email protected]
Carl Stephens 0208 707 8335 [email protected]

Petplan Equine is the UK's leading horse insurance provider offering a wide variety of flexible horse insurance and rider insurance policies which cater for all levels of experience.

Established more than 20 years ago, Petplan Equine is part of Allianz Insurance, one of the largest general insurers in the world.

For more information about a Petplan Equine horse insurance policy, please visit:

Note to editors:

Dr Catherine McGowan, BVSc DipVetClinStud MACVSc PhD DEIM DipECEIM FHEA MRCVS graduated from the University of Sydney in 1991 as the number one student in her class and has since researched Equine Cushing's Disease, Equine Metabolic Syndrome, physiotherapy, physiology, gastric ulceration and laminitis. In 2008 she took up a post at the University of Liverpool, which is where she is still based today. As well as carrying out her veterinary duties and research, Catherine is the mother of two small children and yet she still finds time to travel to give talks on various veterinary matters both at home and abroad.

Chris Pearce BVSc CertEM (IntMed) BAEDT MRCVS from The Barn Equine Surgery in Dorset qualified at the University of Liverpool in 1990 and went on to work in Worcestershire for three years before moving to Dorset in 1996. Chris specialises in equine dentistry, internal medicine and soft tissue surgery and in 2001, he became the first vet to qualify as an Equine Dental Technician. Chris, who has three young sons, also finds time to sail, play the piano and ride his own four horses.

Ross Syme BSc (Hons), BVM&S, MRCVS graduated from Edinburgh Veterinary School after completing a degree in Biochemistry at Glasgow University. A local veterinary inspector, Ross is also a member of the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and the Association of Racecourse Veterinary Surgeons (ARCVS). Ross has recently been on veterinary courses to further his knowledge, including one on stem cell therapy and another on equine platelet enhancement therapy.

  • Petplan Equine was founded in 1988
  • It is part of Allianz Animal Health, the largest provider of animal health insurance in the world and part of Allianz – one of the largest general insurers in the UK.
  • In addition to horse and pony insurance options, Petplan Equine provides dedicated products for veteran horses and rider only insurance cover.
  • It is the sister brand of Petplan, the largest provider of small animal insurance in the UK.
  • Petplan Equine believes in supporting the equine community and provides more financial support to equestrian sports and activities than any equine insurance provider in the UK.
  • The Petplan Charitable Trust was founded in 1994 to raise much-needed funds for animal welfare and veterinary projects. Money is raised by Petplan and Petplan Equine customers giving an optional £1.50 to the Trust when they take out or renew their policy. To date, almost £5 million has been awarded by the Trust.
  • Petplan and Petplan Equine are specialist insurers. As such, the company employs more horse riders and owners than any other and more former veterinary practice staff than any other to ensure the provision of specialist knowledge.