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Highly respected Scottish Vet, Keith Chandler BVMS Cert EP MRCVS, from Kessock Veterinary clinic in Drumsmittal, Inverness has won the prestigious annual Petplan Equine Vet of the Year Award in association with Horse&Rider magazine. The people's Award, which has been sponsored for the past five years by the UK's leading specialist equine insurer Petplan Equine, was announced at the glittering annual Animal Health Trust (AHT) Equestrian Awards' gala dinner, held at the Lancaster London Hotel.

Click here to nominate for the Veterinary Awards 2014

Keith Chandler receiving his award at the Petplan Equine Vet of the Year Awards

During the course of this year, 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. With a record number of nominations to choose from, the independent judging panel had a difficult job selecting a winner from the three outstanding finalists. However, they unanimously agreed that the strength of Mr Chandler's nomination combined with his experience placed him as the vet most worthy of this year's title.

Isabella von Mesterhazy, Petplan Equine's Head of Marketing, commented that the award recognises those vets who go the extra mile in providing an outstanding service to horse owners.

"All this year's nominees have shown enormous commitment to their profession making choosing just one winner very difficult. However, Keith's dedication to providing the highest levels of professional care and customer service and his ability to motivate his team to do so consistently for the practice's clients, made his nomination stand out. All of us at Petplan Equine extend our heartfelt congratulations to Keith for the important part he is playing in maintaining the highest possible standards in veterinary care for horses in Britain."

Mr Chandler, who, in September became President of the British Equine Veterinary Association for 2012/13, is the senior partner at Kessock Equine Veterinary Clinic. His main areas of focus are equine internal medicine, stud medicine and care of the geriatric horse. He has lectured at the University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School for Veterinary Studies and has also examined other vets sitting exams at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in London.

On receiving the award, he commented: "I was surprised to be nominated and I am humbled to have won the Petplan Equine Vet of the Year Award. But, it really is recognition of the efforts of our whole team at Kessock Equine Vets. It was a pleasure and an honour to receive this award alongside many of our Olympic medallists and to win it in the year in which I have become President of BEVA. The profession's been very kind to me and I am proud to be a vet."

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

The other finalists were:

Jess Hill BVM&S MRCVS Woodlands Veterinary Clinic, Cheltenham, Glos, England

Jess, who qualified in 2003 at the University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School for Veterinary Studies, is described as simply "brilliant" for her outstanding calm, capable and kind approach to her work and the way in which she makes herself readily available to her clients. One nomination typified all those received in praise of Jess' work: "She is incredibly knowledgeable and dedicated and nothing is too much trouble. She is great with horses – always quiet, kind and gentle. She works quickly and confidently, doesn't suggest unnecessary expensive procedures and is always cheerful and a pleasure to be with."

Lee Paul, BSC BVM&S Cert EP MRCVS, Bushy Equine, Gwaelod-y-Garth, Wales

Nominations for Lee Paul, who qualified at University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School for Veterinary Studies in 2002 and now specialises in internal and stud medicine, unanimously praised his willingness to 'never give up' and to go beyond the call of duty. He is said to be highly dedicated and is praised for his willingness to always be available. His first graduate position was at Park Veterinary Group in South Wales where he practiced for four years before joining B&W Equine. Two years later Lee became a partner and now he runs the Welsh part of the practice from the Cardiff clinic.