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Our Team

Directors

Naomi de Pennington

MA Vet MB CertEM(IntMed) MRCVS

Naomi graduated from Cambridge Veterinary School in 2001 and after two years in general veterinary practice joined Avonvale in 2003. Following up her keen interest in equine medicine she completed her certificate in Equine Internal Medicine in 2006. She became a director of the practice in 2008. Naomi is recognised by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as an Advanced Practitioner in Equine Internal Medicine. She leads the Avonvale breeding services and medicine teams.

She has particular interests in stud and foal medicine; gastroenterology including gastroscopy, colic investigations and colic surgery; ophthalmology; cardiology and poor performance. She has been the Senior Veterinary Surgeon at Warwick Racecourse since 2008. 

In her spare time she is a keen road cyclist, having recently represented Great Britain at the Gran Fondo (amateur road race) World Championships in Poland and she trains hard at running to be able to keep up with her daughter at Parkrun! She also has a large menagerie at home including two ponies, a flock of sheep, a few pigs, Kipper the cat and a loyal choccy lab called Bruno.

Claire Maher

BVet Med MSc Cert AVP(ESO) MRCVS

Claire graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, London in 2007.  She has worked almost solely in equine practice since graduation gaining invaluable experience across the equine field as a whole.  Claire joined Avonvale in 2014, becoming a Director in 2015 alongside Naomi de Pennington.

Claire is an RCVS recognised Advanced Practitioner in Equine Orthopaedic surgery, holding a masters level certificate in Equine Orthopaedic Surgery and heads up our orthopaedic team here at Avonvale. She has a particular interest in both competition horses and leisure horses.  Claire also enjoys performing pre-purchase examinations for horses of all shapes, sizes and disciplines.

Claire is often accompanied on her rounds by her Jack Russell Terrier Bobbie.  Outside of work Claire is a keen rider of road bikes and horses (not simultaneously!!), and enjoys hill walking and climbing.

Assistants

Emily Douglas-Osborn

BVSc MRCVS

Emily is a familiar face at Avonvale, having completed her internship here after graduating from the University of Bristol in 2015. She worked in first opinion equine practice, and then at Twemlows Hall Stud Farm, before returning to us in November 2017.

She has a particular interest in poor performance, orthopaedics, reproduction work and all areas of general practice. Outside of work, Emily enjoys dressage, having competed in BD and BYRDs and has written for judges of all levels.   

Nicholas Dymond

MA PGCert BVSc MRCVS

Prior to becoming a veterinary surgeon Nick was an Officer in the British Army and saw active service all over the World including Germany, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, the Former Republic of Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. After over 25 years in the Army, Nick retrained as a vet and graduated from Bristol in 2018.

Nick has been around horses all of his adult life and always had an ambition to eventually become a horse vet.  Prior to joining Avonvale, Nick worked in a busy equine referral hospital in Newmarket and in equine practice in Devon. He is developing a particular interest in equine internal medicine and diagnostics.

Together with his partner, Nick owns a smallholding in Worcestershire where they keep and breed event horses and working dogs. Nick has an interest in the conservation of heavy horses and especially the Shire Horse breed. He has a young Shire Horse filly named Betsie who is in training for ridden work and will likely be put in foal herself before too long.

Alice Elgar

BA(Hons) VetMB MRCVS

Alice joins the Avonvale intern programme, after recently qualifying with Honours from the University of Cambridge.

Alice is looking forward to developing her skills in all areas of general equine practice and has a particular interest in dentistry and stud work.

As well as being involved with horses most of her life, Alice is also keen on rugby and played for the Universty 1st XV whilst studying at Cambridge.  She has now joined a local team in Oxfordshire and plays regularly.

Laura Hart

BVM&S MRCVS

Laura graduated as a veterinary surgeon from Edinburgh University in 2005. She then served in the British Army, as a vet, for nearly 9 years. During this time, she worked all over the world in places such as Iraq, Germany, Afghanistan and in London at the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, gaining a huge variety of veterinary experience.

Since leaving the Army she has worked solely in equine practice and has completed her Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice. She has a particular love for all things equine dentistry and will soon complete all the Advanced Veterinary Practice modules in the subject. Laura spends time both in the clinic and out on the road sharing her car with her naughty dog, Looby Lou.

When not being a vet, Laura can be found running around after her toddler. Once life as new mummy calms down Laura intends to get back to her loves of singing, travelling, Wainwrght walking and riding….but appreciates this may take longer than she thinks!

Mercedes Montejo

MRCVS

Mercedes graduated from the University of Zaragoza, Spain in 2009. Following graduation, she spent a few months in the Equine Department at the University of Montevideo in Uruguay, then did an internship in Seville focusing on equine reproduction and internal medicine. After some time working abroad, she went back to Spain for two years where she worked as a general equine practitioner.

Mercedes then moved to Kildare in Ireland where she worked in a large Equine Hospital on the Curragh, mostly working with thoroughbreds, prior to joining Avonvale in February 2017. She has a particular interest in lameness and performance, reproduction and internal medicine.

For leisure, Mercedes enjoys taking riding lessons and cooking Spanish meals.

Visiting Specialists

We work alongside a number of visiting specialists, allowing us to provide a comprehensive service to our customers.  These include:

Dr Jessica Kidd

BA, DVM, CertES(Orth), Dipl ECVS, MRCVS RCVS and European Recognised Specialist in Equine Surgery

Jessica has been involved in equine surgery for more than 20 years. She is an RCVS and European Recognised Specialist in Equine Surgery.

She attended veterinary school at Purdue University in the States followed by two years in mixed practice in New England. After this she completed an internship at a referral racehorse hospital in Ocala, Florida and then returned to the UK to complete an equine surgery residency at the University of Bristol. This was followed by time as a surgery lecturer at the University of Glasgow’s veterinary school followed by holding the position of the University Equine Surgeon at the University of Cambridge. She then spent seven years in private practice as the surgeon at the Valley Equine Hospital in Lambourn, Berkshire which had a hospital population of racehorses, performance horses and pleasure horses and is currently an external surgical consultant to multiple practices.

She has presented veterinary presentations at national and international meetings in over twenty countries, has taught numerous CPD courses for other veterinary surgeons on specialised equine subjects and was an examiner for the RCVS certificates six times. She was the keynote speaker at both the New Zealand Equine Veterinary and the South African Veterinary Association Congresses in 2019.

She holds the RCVS certificate in Equine Surgery (Orthopaedics), is a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons, and is an RCVS and European recognised specialist in Equine Surgery. Her areas of interest are both soft tissue and orthopaedic surgery, diagnostic imaging and investigation of lameness cases as well as neonatology and care of the pregnant mare.
 
For more information visit:  www.kiddvet.com.

Neil Townsend

MSc BVSc Cert ES (Soft Tissue) DipECVS DipEVDC (Equine) MRCVS RCVS Specialist in Equine Dentistry

Neil qualified from Bristol University in 2004 and following an 18month period in mixed practice, joined the Phillip Leverhulme Equine Hospital (PLEH) at Liverpool Vet School for an equine internship. Following this he joined Edinburgh Vet School as a resident in Equine Surgery and gained the RCVS Certificate in Equine Surgery and an MSc by Research. He re-joined the PLEH as a clinician in Equine Soft Tissue Surgery and gained European Diplomas in both Equine Surgery and Equine Dentistry.

He joined Three Counties Equine Hospital in October 2015 and is an RCVS Recognised Specialist in Equine Surgery and Veterinary Dentistry (Equine). He provides an in house and visiting Equine Surgery and Dentistry service. He has particular interest in all aspects of equine dentistry, including restorative and minimally invasive extraction methods along with sinus disease and disorders of the upper airway.

Nursing Team

Lucy Lawson

Head Nurse

Kathryn Smith

Student Veterinary Nurse

Fiona Watt

Nursing Assistant

Administration Team

Vix Borland

Receptionist and Accounts Assistant

Debbie Glover

Practice Manager

Pippa Harvey

Accounts and Office Administrator

Victoria Pick

Head Receptionist