Veterinarians Accompany Eventers to Pan Am Games

Veterinarians from B.W. Furlong and Associates, in Oldwick, N.J., will accompany the U.S. and Canadian Eventing Teams to the Pan American Games, taking place Oct. 14-30 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Brendan Furlong, MVB, MRCVS, is the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team veterinarian, and Christiana Ober, DVM, is the Canadian Eventing Team veterinarian.

This will mark Furlong's fourth time traveling with the U.S. team to a Pan Am event. He was team veterinarian 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. Furlong has also accompanied the U.S. team to multiple Olympic Games and World Championships.

Ober served as head team veterinarian for the Canadian Team at the 2007 Pan Am Games, the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong, and the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany, and in Lexington, Ky.

The 2011 U.S. Eventing Team competing in Guadalajara will include Hannah Sue Burnett, Buck Davidson, Shannon Lilley, Michael Pollard, and Lynn Symansky. The team flew from their training camp in Florida to the Games on Oct. 15.

"At my first Pan Am event, Buck was the junior member of the team," said 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."

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."

Furlong 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.

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."

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