Ivan Bridge, BVSc
Ivan hails from the Hawkes Bay being born and raised on a sheep and beef farm where the family daily diet was full of horses be they racing, hunting, polo ponies or merely tools of trade on the farm. Ivan’s father was still actively riding and a regular whip for the Hawkes Bay Hunt at the age of 80 so there is still hope for him yet!
It was this background that lead Ivan into Veterinary Science and upon graduating in 1975 he headed North to Dargaville with his new bride Rebecca who also was born and bred on the land in “Hawke Eye” country. After two years in the north they began the migration home to the Bay but became waylaid when Ivan joined the Veterinary Associates brand in August 1977. Karaka became the new home base with their family having been born, raised and dispatched from here.
With the intense family involvement in matters equine it was no surprise that Ivan’s Veterinary interests had this lean and he will happily concede that he could not have had the equine experience he has enjoyed back home in the Bay.
Professionally Ivan has steered Veterinary Associates into a rounded equine practice being involved in all aspects of equine endeavour. Having developed a keen interest and involvement in equine surgery it became apparent to him that times had moved on and this was now a speciality branch of equine practice. To this end he first recruited a specialist surgeon in the early 90’s and on completion of four years of intensive study in the United States former new graduate employee Andrea Ritmeester returned in 1997 to fill this role.
Ivan’s involvement in equine practice has seen him travel with a successful NZ Eventing team to Gawler South Australia as the Team Veterinarian. He has FEI Veterinary Accreditation for Eventing and Show Jumping and along with Wally Niederer was one of the first Veterinarians in the country to display an interest and assist in the FEI Veterinary aspects of Eventing and Show Jumping Competitions.
Ivan has an interest and long term experience in reproduction having stood two Sport Horse stallions for stud by artificial insemination on the home property. Back in the 80’s, through the Irish Draught stallion “Kingsway Diamond”, he was involved in the first shipments of fresh chilled semen in the country, a practice now treated as an everyday occurrence.
Ivan is a Past President of the NZ Equine Veterinary Association and presently serves as the NZ Equine Veterinary Association Representative on the NZ Equine Health Association.
Ivan has extensive experience travelling with horses by air to many parts of the world and has some great tales to tell of some of these trips especially to some more remote Asian locations. He is now also involved in the import of horses being the Veterinarian responsible for the welfare of horses entering Quarantine from those countries where this is a requirement.
Ivan introduced dentistry to the practice as an important area of expertise after travelling to an Australian Conference during his President’s term, this lead to the purchase of sophisticated equipment and much investment in Post Graduate training for the Veterinarians.
Through Veterinary Associates commitment to the Auckland Racing Club and Auckland Trotting Club Ivan is a regular attendee at these meetings.
Outside of practice not surprisingly Ivan’s interests chiefly remain with the horse. He and wife Rebecca are active members of the Pakuranga Hunt where Ivan is presently serving his eleventh year as Master and he is the current President of the NZ Hunt’s Association.
Neil Houston, BVSC, MACVSC
Neil Houston is a local boy, his parents still on a Franklin dairy farm. He graduated as a veterinarian from Massey University in 1988.
Spending a couple of years in clinical practice in the Taranaki before travelling and working in Australia and England Neil returned to NZ in 1993. Having developed an interest in working with horses he initially spent time working in Te Awamutu and then Matamata before finding a more permanent home with Veterinary Associates in 1996.
Neil is a member of a complaints assessment committee of the Veterinary Council of NZ and is the current President of the NZ Equine Veterinary Association (June 2015)
Since joining the practice Neil has furthered his interests in many aspects of equine practice such as reproduction, lameness, sporthorses and dentistry.
A late convert to the sport of hunting Neil enjoys some time when work and family commitments permit riding in some of the beautiful countryside available.
He has a membership of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in Equine Medicine.
Neil has travelled overseas with several New Zealand Equestrian Teams including to the World Equestrian Games in Jerez in 2002, the World Endurance Championships in Dubai in 2005 and to the Young rider Eventing teams to Sydney in 2004 and successfully to Camperdown near Melbourne in April this 2006.
Kevin Miers BVSc
Kevin’s origins are in the Manawatu, having been born in Palmerston North, raised on a farm nearby, and studying Veterinary Medicine at Massey University. After graduating BVSc in 1976 he worked 2 years in clinical mixed practice in the Waikato before heading with wife Trish to the University of California Davis, not far from San Francisco. He spent 2 years in the Department of Equine Medicine and Reproduction at Davis before heading south to Los Angeles and the Santa Anita Racetrack where he was the official track vet.
After travel adventures and stints of work in other parts of the US and Great Britain, Kevin returned to New Zealand and the South Auckland area in 1981, where he has been ever since. Kevin was a partner in Ewen Equine Clinic until establishing Equine Veterinary Services in 1995, based at Drury and the Karaka Sales Centre. In 2008 a working relationship was established with Veterinary Associates Equine and Farm and in 2015 the two practices were merged, and he became a director of the new entity.
Kevin currently works in all areas of equine veterinary medicine however reproduction, and stud medicine has been his main focus for many years. He provides dedicated services to large thoroughbred and standardbred studs in the area as well as enjoying working for his many long term smaller clients.
Away from horses and veterinary practice, on the odd occasion that happens, Kevin enjoys fishing, hiking, travel, playing piano, dining out and spending time with wife, family including 2 daughters and several grandchildren who all live nearby.
Registered Equine Medicine Specialist
Lacy Kamm, DVM MS, DIPLOMATE ACVS,
Lacy Kamm grew up around horses on a farm in the eastern United States. She rode show jumpers competitively as a junior and worked as a professional rider to pay the bills during her university and vet school years. She went to vet school at Colorado State University and then did an internship at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Kentucky amidst racehorses and breeding farms. Lacy completed post-graduate work at Cornell University in New York where she researched stem cells as a treatment for orthopaedic diseases. Then she returned to Colorado to complete a residency in equine surgery and later became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Lacy is excited to be in New Zealand where folks are happy and adventurous and a beautiful place is always just around the corner.
Jenny Sonis, DVM, MS, DIPLOMATE ACVIM
Jenny is originally from a small town in the northeastern United States, just outside of Boston. Growing up, she spent much of her spare time at a local barn, which was where her passion for horses first developed. She attended the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. Upon graduation from veterinary school, Jenny began an internship at Chino Valley Equine Hospital in southern California. After her internship, she completed a residency in large animal internal medicine at Colorado State University. Following her residency, Jenny stayed on at CSU for a year in a clinical position. In 2012, she moved to Lexington, Kentucky to work at the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute at the McGee Medicine Center, spending many hours in the intensive care unit treating critically ill newborn foals. In 2013, she relocated to Auckland, New Zealand where she joined Veterinary Associates Equine and Farm. Since moving to New Zealand, she has returned annually to Hagyard’s for a month-long locum position in an effort to stay current with the latest advances in equine veterinary care. As a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and a Registered Equine Medicine Specialist, she is interested in all aspects of equine medicine, but she is particularly passionate about critical care and neonatology.
Felicity Wade, BVSC
Felicity grew up locally in Whitford, where her riding developed into an interest in horses leading to vet school in Palmerston North. Felicity graduated from Massey University in 2010 and was awarded the equine prize in her final year. Following university, Felicity joined the Vet Associates team at the end of 2010. She has continued to study with the University of Liverpool while working. Her interests are poor performance of racehorses and sport horses, particularly lameness, ophthalmology and dentistry (she has done further post graduate training).
Her interests away from Equine practice include riding, snowboarding, painting, squash, and spending time with her husband Tristan, and their young son James.
Jeremy Bullock, BVSC
Jeremy grew up on a sheep and beef farm in the north Waikato. He has spent most of his life around horses, beginning with mustering on horseback and pony club, and progressing to show jumping, eventing, hunting, and riding track work on his grandfather’s Steeplechasers.
With horses in his blood, Veterinary science was a natural choice, Jeremy graduated from Massey University in 2008 with distinction. After spending four years in mixed practice he quickly gravitated back to horses, and joined the Veterinary Associates team in 2012.
Jeremy enjoys all aspects of being an equine veterinarian and has a particular interest in sport horse reproduction, wound management, and field surgery.
Outside work Jeremy enjoys everything outdoors; horse riding, hunting, fishing and diving, good food and wine, and spending time with his partner and their children.
Shaun Campbell, BSc, BVSc
Shaun graduated from Massey University in the class of 2008. Since then he has worked in South Auckland first at Equine Veterinary Services and before joining Veterinary Associates in the spring of 2015. Shaun’s main area of interest is equine reproduction and most of his time is spent between the two large stud farms serviced by our clinic.
Home life is mainly spent with Helen and his daughter Charlie and if there is any spare time left over he enjoys hunting, fishing, golfing and breeding and racing a standard bred or two.
Ben Vosloo, BVSc, BSc
Ben Vosloo grew up on an extensive sheep and cattle farm in South Africa where working with horses, sheep and cattle formed an integral part of daily life. He displayed a passion for all things equine from an early age and participated at various equine sports, including polocrosse, endurance riding, and tent pegging for which he achieved provincial colours.
After school he travelled to England for two years and worked for stud and pre-training farms in the Newmarket area. During this time, he gained invaluable experience in the equine industry and furthered his training towards becoming an equine vet.
Ben qualified as a veterinarian at Onderstepoort in 2012, where his aptitude was recognized when he was awarded the prize for Applied Equine Studies. He then worked at Summerveld Equine Hospital in Durban for four years, where he predominantly treated racehorses and sport horses.
Outside of work Ben has an active lifestyle and enjoys running, mountain biking, and fly-fishing amongst other outdoor sports.
Jordana Del La Varis BVSc (Dist)
Jordana grew up near Kumeu in Auckland, riding and competing her horses. She graduated with distinction from Massey University in 2014 and subsequently completed an Internship in equine veterinary practice at Matamata Veterinary Services Equine.
Following her internship, she travelled to Europe where she spent some time at an equine veterinary practice while also grooming on the international eventing scene.
Outside of work, Jordana can be found riding her horses or skydiving.
Lauren Kubala, BVSc
Lauren grew up locally in Botany where she developed an interest in riding from a young age. This led to pursuing a degree in Veterinary Science from Massey University, and an interest in specialising in horses. Following graduation, she completed an internship with us at Vet Associates which subsequently led to spending six months completing a Medicine Fellowship at an equine clinic in Kentucky. She has recently returned to New Zealand and has joined the Vet Associates team once again.
Outside of work, Lauren enjoys any outdoor pursuit including tramping, camping, water skiing, spending time with family, and travelling.
Chez Viall, BSc(Hons), DVM (Dist), PhD
Chez’s interest in horses were sparked her Grandfather, the legendary Jockey Grenville Hughes. She grew up next to a riding school in Karaka and spent most of her formative years competing with her twin sister and their two horses at Pony club events around the Auckland district. After completing high school, Chez completed a Bachelor of Science and then a PhD in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Auckland, where she investigated the causes of pregnancy loss in women with autoimmune disorders. After completion of her PhD, Chez changed tack and moved to Australia, where she undertook a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at TheUniversity of Melbourne. Chez has since moved back home and joined the Veterinary Associates team as an intern for 2018.Outside of work, Chez is a competitive trail runner, a Crossfitter and an avid Chiefs fan.
Having always enjoyed being around animals (particularly horses) she decided to turn that affinity for animals into a career. Amy joined the team at Vet Associates in 2003 after working as a small animal nurse for 2 years, at this time the clinic was based out of Takanini. Outside of work Amy is kept busy with family particularly her children Elena 7 and Blake 3.
Meet Chelsea McKenzie and her horse, Fudge. Chelsea is one of the lovely vet nurses here at Vet Associates Equine and Farm. After studying at EIT in Hawkes Bay, Chelsea joined the team here at Vet Associates in 2011 and has been a valuable member since. She enjoys both medical and surgical nursing and particularly enjoys the foaling season! Outside of work she enjoys trail running, and spending time with family and friends.
After many years working in mixed practice, companion animal practice, veterinary nursing tutoring and industry « repping », Sophie joined the Vet Associates nursing team in 2015. An equine and equestrian sport enthusiast, Sophie is committed to caring for your equine companions as if they were her own.
Caitlyn has been a core part of the nursing team for the last two years. She enjoys helping with interesting medical cases, and spoils the clinic donor horse, Indy. Outside of work, she enjoys being involved with multiple sports, and looking after her horse Dusty.
Renee has been a part of VA since she was 17, working part time as a stable hand. She has now recently joined our team of Vet Nurses with a Diploma in Veterinary nursing. Outside of work Renee travels around the eventing circuit with her team of horses.
Maree has been a core part of the Vet Associates team for the last 16 years. She has seen the clinic grow from 5 vets and 2 nurses, to 12 vets and 6 nurses. She has also seen the clinic move to its current location. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three kids, while enjoying a nice glass of wine.
Juliette has been a part of the Vet Associates Team since 2011. Prior to this, she spent 11 years in Japan, working in the racing industry. Outside of work, Juliette enjoys following her kids interests and spending time with her family.