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A Tradition of Leadership & Excellence in Equine Medicine

Jan Massaro - BIG R Hunter Judge

Jan Massaro - BIG R Hunter Judge

JAN MASSARO, Manager, Veterinary Technicians, is our SPOT LIGHT employee for February. Jan has been with us at Peterson & Smith Equine Hospital for 14 years. In her own words this is her story.

I grew up in the big city of Toronto where no one had horses in their back yard. My dad rode most of his life, so after lots of begging and finally giving up ballet lessons I went with him every weekend to a very large pony club 20 miles north in King City Ontario. I got my first hunter pony when I was 13 and the rest is horse history bliss!

 After graduating from college, I moved to the Ocala area and here I worked for Carol Harris at BoBett Farm in Reddick where I learned everything about showing, management and the ultimate in horse care from Carol herself. She was such an inspiration because she was in the barn all day, everyday and she did it all. To this day, she is the one I admire the most in this business.

 I started buying and selling hunters and jumpers shortly thereafter, and when my daughter Megan was 4 years old, it was time to switch gears. As a single parent I felt that I needed some job security, and as she was in Gainesville for school, I got a full time job at the University of Florida as head medicine technician in the small animal clinic. This is a job that I really loved and I was there for 9 years, until we moved to Belleview for the school district and I had to leave UF. John Peterson, who was a personal friend, bumped into me one day shortly after leaving Gainesville and said he had a position at Peterson and Smith Equine Hospital as the Vet Care Manager and would I be interested. That was 14 years ago and I still love my job. I work with the best veterinary technicians in the business and have so many friends who are staff and managers of this great company.

 Thanks to a friend named Kris Rame, Megan was introduced to Don Stewart and Bibby Farmer-Hill, when she was 8 years old and that was clearly the day that changed our lives forever. Megan rode for them for the next 10 years, day in and day out. Horse showing with Don Stewart Stables became our reason to live and breathe. Megan and I still reminisce over the amazing horses and ponies and people that are forever in our hearts and soul.

 Horses who have left lasting impressions always start with Lyle, owned by Stephanie Keen of Ocala and her mother Susan Rhinehart. He was incredible. The duo won Grand Junior Hunter Horse of the Year in 2006, also winning two huge Hunter Classics. The medium pony Macy Grey owned by Carlie Byron also earned Horse of the Year accolades. Megan and Bibby had Macy her entire green year and I know that for Megan, this pony is still dear to her heart.

As Megan was off showing all summer, I stared making some extra money judging small local horse shows. The more I judged, the more I became addicted to it. In 2006, I wanted to judge some better horses and learn more about the technical side of judging I decided to try to become a licensed official. During Megan’s four years of riding and studying at the University of North Carolina (Go Gamecocks!) I continued to judge. Learner judging for my small “r” and then my “R” has been incredible. You get to go to all the BIG shows across the country and sit with the “masters” of hunter and equitation judging. It was amazing sitting in the judges’ booth and I was sad when it was over. I wish that the USEF would let me learner judge forever, because it is a fantastic experience.

The future for me is to continue to judge great horse shows for great show managers and watch my wonderful daughter graduate from her long journey in Law School.

 What would I be doing if horses hadn’t come into my life? It’s a question I can’t even answer because they ARE my life.