BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College graduate Dr. Heather (Bihler) Stone has been selected to serve as a quarantine veterinarian for the Equine events at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in China. A native of Moundsville, W.Va., Stone graduated from Bethany in 1992 with a Biology degree and earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University. She lives in Bethany where she is the owner/operator of Shamrock Stables. Stone will be working in China from July 1 through October 1.
“My reaction was pure elation,” said Stone following a lengthy interview process that included two trips to the West Coast. “Being part of the Olympic Games, especially as a veterinarian, has been a lifelong goal. Having the opportunity to spend time behind the scenes with the premier equine athletes of our time gives me goose bumps. It’s the same thing for me as meeting movie stars might be for most people.”
Equestrian events for this summer’s Beijing Olympics will actually be held 1,500 miles from Beijing. Stone will be based at the Shatin Olympic Equestrian Venue in Hong Kong. Air conditioned stables that can comfortably hold up to 200 horses have been constructed there for the Olympics in an attempt to battle the city’s oppressive summer heat and humidity. The venue also features an 18,000-seat arena.
Stone will be working to ensure the health and safety of elite equine athletes from all participating countries. She will be primarily concerned with the risk of potentially contagious infections prior to, during and following the events. Stone will also monitor the horses’ reactions to transportation stress, which has been shown to make them more vulnerable to respiratory and digestive ailments.
The Bethany College graduate is actively involved with numerous organizations. She has completed many hours of continuing education, including the FEI Veterinary Course for Veterinary Delegates with Olympic veterinarians Drs. Kent Allen and Catherine Kohn. Stone also participated in the Purina Mills Equine Veterinary Conference on Sports Nutrition and Medicine and holds a Level II Hunt Seat certification from the American Riding Instructor Certification Program.
“Dr. Kohn’s involvement with Olympic equestrian sports was one reason I went to The Ohio State University after graduating from Bethany,” Stone said. “All of my externships in veterinary school were geared toward gaining more experience from Olympic vets like Dr. Allen and from the finest equine clinics such as Rood and Riddle in Lexington, Ky. Being chosen as an Olympic veterinarian has given me a true sense of accomplishment.”
The three-month contract Stone signed with the Hong Kong Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation covers only her veterinary services. Since it does not include travel expenses to and from China or the cost of lodging during her time at the Olympic Games, she is seeking sponsors to help ease the financial burden. She can be contacted through her Web site www.shamrockstable.com.