By Doug Graves
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Dr. Stephen M. Reed never owned a horse and wasn’t even raised on a farm. Yet his fascination with horses led him to become one of the most prominent equine neurologists worldwide.
His list of 180 peer-reviewed publications includes significant contributions to equine medicine, neurology, physiology and pathophysiology, and has earned him worldwide recognition throughout the equine community. He has shared in his achievements as a mentor and role model for hundreds of aspiring equine practitioners. Not bad for one who didn’t lay a hand on a horse until he was a teenager.
Reed’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, as earlier this month he was named one of four equine veterinarians who will be inducted into the Equine Research Hall of Farm in October. Established by the University of Kentucky Equine Research Foundation (now the UK Gluck Equine Research Foundation) the Equine Research Hall of Fame honors those distinguished researchers who have dedicated their careers to equine science.
Surprisingly, Reed grew up just blocks away from the Delaware County Fairgrounds, home to the prestigious Little Brown Jug. As a teenager he spent any free time he had hot-walking horses at sunrise at the fairgrounds.
“I found a fascination with horses and that was my way of getting my ‘horse fix’ you might say,” he said.
Reed needed a better parttime job, so when a friend of his asked him to help each weekend with his father’s veterinarian work, Reed obliged.
“His father was Dr. George Hansel and we did such things as castrate pigs, de-horn cattle and things of that nature,” Reed said. “In the evening hours we’d help him with his visits from cat and dog owners. It became so much a part of what I wanted to do that I felt part of their family. I was with them all the time. Dr. Hansel wasn’t really interested in horses and that bugged me because I wanted to be around horses. I helped them in the summers throughout high school and college.”
Reed enrolled in engineering at Bowling Green State University in 1969 but within a year he had switched to pre-vet studies. He received the blessing of changing majors from his parents, who knew horses were his first love.
“I just enjoyed their beauty and athleticism,” he said. “They’re a neat animal. This attraction to horses never went away.”
Hansel wanted Reed to return home to Delaware upon graduation from college and take over his veterinary practice. “Dr. Hansel had a small animal practice, but I wanted to stick with the horses,” Reed said.
Reed earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State University in 1976. He completed internship and residency training in large animal medicine at Michigan State University. He taught at Washington State University from 1979-1983, and then returned to OSU, where he spent 26 years as a professor and mentor in the Equine Medicine department.
Reed is a Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and is a noted author and editor of numerous scientific articles and textbooks. He has spoken at many state, national and international meetings. His primary research interests include Equine Neurologic Diseases.
To this day, Reed is an internal medicine specialist and shareholder of the practice at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, emeritus professor of Ohio State, an adjunct professor at University of Kentucky and chairman of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Advisory Committee.
“One of the most unique and refreshing things about Dr. Reed is he absolutely embodies the need and overlap of discovery science with clinical assessments to further our understanding of equine neurologic disease,” said Jennifer Janes, associate professor of veterinary pathology at UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. “This mission has served as the foundation and pillars of his long career in equine veterinary medicine.”
In addition to Reed, other inductees are Dr. Lisa Fortier, Dr. Katrin Hinrichs and Dr. Jennifer Anne Mumford. The four will be inducted into the UK Equine Research Hall of Fame Oct. 26 at Kroger Field on UK’s campus in Lexington.