Breakthrough research and one-of-kind educational opportunities don’t happen by accident or in isolation. They are accomplished in concert with industry stalwarts who give of their time, talents and wisdom. One such linchpin, Lexington-based veterinarian Tom Riddle, was recently named the 2017 Friend of University of Kentucky (UK) Ag Equine Programs. The award recognizes the many impacts he has had on equine research and education within UK’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
Riddle, who co-founded Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in 1986 and specializes in reproductive veterinary medicine, has actively served for decades in many advisory capacities for equine research and education at UK.
Riddle was nominated for the award by Laurie Lawrence, professor within the college’s animal and food sciences department, in conjunction with David Horohov, chair of the Department of Veterinary Science and director of the Gluck Equine Research Center; Jamie MacLeod, professor within the Gluck Center; and Jill Stowe, agricultural economics associate professor.
In her nomination letter, Lawrence wrote, “As an internationally-known authority on equine reproductive medicine, Dr. Riddle has had many collaborative projects with scientists at UK and has often served as a liaison between researchers, practitioners and farm managers. Dr. Riddle was one of the first clinicians to recognize the reproductive firestorm that was eventually known as Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome (MRLS). Working with UK scientists and other Central Kentucky veterinarians, Dr. Riddle was intimately involved in the investigations that connected MRLS to the eastern tent caterpillar.”
According to the nomination, Riddle has ensured his practice is accessible and supportive of UK’s teaching, outreach and research missions. He generously supplies speakers for undergraduate courses and outreach activities and has served as a sponsor for conferences and events organized by UK. Additionally, the hospital accommodates many interns each semester, provides essential experience for pre-veterinary students and hosts educational tours and demonstrations at its facility.
Rood & Riddle provides annual support for an equine scholarship and for equine clubs’ and teams’ activities, and Riddle was a major advocate and contributor to the renovation of UK’s equine reproductive research facilities. Additionally, he has served on the college’s equine advisory committee from the very start.
Known for being humble and quick to give others credit, Riddle’s response to being recognized with this award was characteristic.
“I am very grateful for the invaluable help that UK Ag Equine Programs has provided to me personally, to my veterinary practice and to Kentucky’s horse industry,” Riddle said. “Whenever large populations of human beings and animals congregate, there will be medical challenges. When Kentucky has had these challenges, veterinarians and horsemen have always known that they could call on our university for help. For example, the university’s prompt epidemiological study of MRLS helped to save many future foals and, in my opinion, helped to save Kentucky’s breeding industry.”