Veterinarian performs historical equine reenactments

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At that first event, I was awed by the beauty of the costumes and the people's chivalry. It was a welcome change from the everyday stresses. I've been an active member ever since.

During my first job as a veterinarian 25 years ago, an assistant invited me to a Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) event, and I was instantly hooked. This international organization is dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. At that first event, I was awed by the beauty of the costumes and the people's chivalry. It was a welcome change from the everyday stresses. I've been an active member ever since.

My time with the SCA has opened a lot of doors for me. I learned how to speak to large groups of people, organize and run events, and govern disparate groups of people. I became the international safety officer for equestrian activities and wrote the first society-wide equestrian regulations. Later, I formed the first mounted military unit, the Company of St. Anne, a group dedicated to the re-creation of the riding skills of the medieval knight. I've had two articles published in the SCA quarterly magazine, Tournaments Illuminated. One article was about equestrian safety and the other was about how to run an equestrian event.

Dr. Donna DeBonis with one of her horses, just before heading out to a medieval mounted warfare reenactment. (Photo by Alisoun Lamb)

I'm a mixed-animal practitioner and own nine beautiful horses. I met my husband, an avid equestrian and reenactor, through my participation in the SCA. Our side business, Joustabout, allows us to get paid to do what we love—perform historical demonstrations and teach people about medieval mounted warfare. The business also helps us feed all of our horses—five of them are in training to be our next generation of warhorses. What's more, both of our children have been brought up in the SCA, which is a family-oriented organization.

Over the years, I've met other veterinarians in the SCA. Most of them are younger than me—and it's great to see a new generation take interest. Interacting with these younger members has enhanced my love of medieval veterinary medicine. I'm currently a member of the American Veterinary Heritage Society and in the process of translating an old English treatise on medieval horse medicine, which I hope to publish this year.

—Donna DeBonis, DVM

Coupeville, Wash.

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