Bringing elegance to equine practice

Bringing elegance to equine practice

Sep 01, 2004

Award-winning floor plan
In the heart of Texas horse country, Weatherford Equine Medical Center stands out—and not just for its state-of-the-art treatment center and surgical suite. With Spanish architecture, an impressive wrought-iron entry gate, and decorative stalls, clients know they'll receive four-star treatment at this Weatherford, Texas, practice.

"We find that clients like to go to a facility they can be proud of," says co-owner Dr. Jeff Foland, MS, Dipl. ACVS. "They appreciate the facility and the fact that we make veterinary visits nice for them."

Clients aren't the only ones impressed with the 15,699-square-foot facility. The owners' attention to detail and the clean floor plan earned the practice a merit award in the 2004 Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Competition.

A Spanish-style building greets arriving clients, who enter through an electronic gate with a caduceus in the center. A metal sign, produced by a local artisan and mounted in rock and brick, matches the architectural style of the gate.
Reception sets the stage Dr. Foland and co-owner Dr. Bruce Hebbert both interned at Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center in Los Olivos, Calif., and they say this experience shaped their thinking about starting their own practice down the road. They launched that dream when they opened the equine medical center, with Dr. Foland leaving a haul-in clinic in Texas and Dr. Hebbert bringing his ambulatory work to the table.

"We'd talked about building the practice for a while before it came to fruition," says Dr. Foland. "We had several things in our favor. The area we're in is loaded with high-quality horses, so we figured a high-quality practice would do well here. There's plenty of business for another good practice. And we both had good clientele that we believed would follow us to the new practice."

That clientele includes 250-horse cutting-horse ranches, single-horse backyard owners, and everything in between. "We get referrals from 70 miles away, and our top 70 percent of clients are high-end horse owners," Dr. Foland says.

The two exam areas are separated by a day stall that can also be used as a third exam room, allowing team members to keep horses apart and giving everyone room to work.
Because they hoped to attract high-end clients, Drs. Foland and Hebbert knew they had to build an attractive, inviting practice. "Right or wrong, clients associate a nice reception area with a successful practice," says Dr. Foland. "So we went out of our way to make our entryway and reception area warm, comfortable, and inviting. Our wives helped us with the décor."

The reception area features a rounded front with a Spanish appearance, a suggestion made by Dr. Hebbert's wife, Kila. The arched stucco columns add to the look and accentuate the rock walls on the front of the building. And Dr. Foland's wife, Jennifer, located an antique chandelier from Mexico that now hangs from the 20-foot-high ceiling in the reception area.