Veterinary student Brian Blanchard awarded $75,000 scholarship
Atlantic Veterinary College student Brian Blanchard has been awarded a prestigious $75,000 scholarship by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation.
The AAEP Foundation Coyote Rock Ranch Scholarship is given to top third-year veterinary students attending an AVMA accredited veterinary college with a significant interest in equine sports medicine, a good academic record, and leadership qualities, and who is a member of the school’s AAEP student chapter.
The Coyote Ranch Scholarship program is funded by Penelope Knight, owner and operator of the Coyote Rock Ranch in Terrebonne, Oregon, a ranch that breeds and trains high-end quarter horses for cutting and reining competitions.
Only three to four scholarships valued at $75,000 each are awarded each year. About 80 veterinary students from Canada and the United States applied for the three scholarships awarded in 2018.
Horses have always been a part of Blanchard’s life. Growing up on his family’s dairy farm in Thorndike, Maine, he worked with Percheron draft horses. When his parents purchased a standardbred mare in 1996, he caught the harness racing bug and began driving in 2007.
He spent the next five years working in the US harness racing industry as a driver and trainer, but in 2012 he decided to go to university. In 2015 he graduated from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude and then applied to AVC. He was accepted on the first try.
When he arrived on Prince Edward Island to attend AVC in the fall of 2015, he visited the Red Shores Racetrack in Charlottetown and soon began a part of the racing scene there, jogging, training, and driving horses.
Blanchard is thankful to be chosen for the scholarship. He applied for it based on his involvement in standardbred harness racing before and throughout his veterinary training, his strong academic record, and his plan to practice equine sports medicine after graduation. But he was still surprised—and very happy—when he found out in April that he was successful.
“Though I have worked hard for it, none of this would have been possible without the help of all the faculty, staff, and students I have studied and worked alongside these past three years at AVC, particularly Dr. Laurie McDuffee, Dr. Leigh Lamont, and Karen Roche for their mentorship and help in applying for the scholarship.”
He also thanked his family and Maine veterinarian Dr. Ron Miles for supporting his dream of becoming a veterinarian.
“Last but not least, I’d like to thank Kenny Arsenault, Jamie Smith, and the rest of the crew at the Red Shores Racetrack, aka the Charlottetown Driving Park, for being good friends and mentors in the harness racing game and vet school process over the past three years.”
The AAEP Foundation Coyote Rock Ranch Scholarships will be presented to the recipients on December 3rd, 2018, at the AAEP’s 64th annual convention in San Francisco, California.