UF veterinary student receives inaugural scholarship supporting focus on equine medicine

Dr. Margo Macpherson and Hannah Quail.

Dr. Margo Macpherson and Hannah Quail.

Third-year UF veterinary student Hannah Quail has been named the inaugural recipient of a new $50,000 scholarship from The Foundation for the Horse created by a Micanopy, Florida, couple to support an exemplary third-year veterinary student who aims to pursue equine veterinary medicine.

Drs. Karen and Frank Wolfsheimer established the Ellen DiBella Memorial Scholarship to be awarded to an exemplary equine-oriented veterinary student in his or her third year who attends one of four veterinary colleges, including Auburn University, Louisiana State University and Purdue University, in addition to UF. The scholarship will be paid over a five-year period to the recipient as long as they remain active in equine veterinary medicine.

Quail is interested in pursuing a large animal specialty career in internal medicine or surgery. She was presented with the award by the foundation on Nov. 30 during the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ 69th Annual Convention in San Diego, California.

“The large animal emergency and critical care specialty is relatively new, but I believe it could revolutionize what it means to be an equine veterinarian,” said Quail. “Many general practitioners burn out or leave the field from the 24/7 on-call lifestyle. Establishing more emergency hospitals and having designated emergency clinicians at colleges will help ease the burden on general practitioners and specialists alike.”

Dr. Karen Wolfsheimer received her veterinary degree in 1978 from Auburn University. She is a former professor and longtime member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and currently serves as a consultant internist and endocrinologist. Her husband, Frank, is a retired physician turned farmer and “horse husband,” according to information provided by the foundation.

The Wolfsheimers wanted to encourage veterinary students with a passion for horses to pursue the practice of equine medicine and surgery, and created the scholarship to financially support those individuals during the transition from school into practice. They also wanted to honor Ellen DiBella, a well-known equestrienne who passed away in August 2023. DiBella had a huge impact on equestrian sport and the Morgan horse industry.

DiBella served on the governing boards of the United States Equestrian Foundation, the American Morgan Horse Association and the Colorado Horse Park and was also the founding president of the Western Dressage Association of America. In 2019, she received the USEF Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Our hope is to see young equine practitioners’ passion strengthened as they learn of other passionate equestrians like Ellen DiBella, who felt that all horses should be valued and cherished,” said Karen Wolfsheimer. “We also hope that this award, in its design, will keep recipients engaged in the wonderful world of equine medicine.”

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