By Ben Schooley
Tiffany and Alan Horton have some deep roots in our area, living on the family homestead that goes back over 100 years. That love for the land and the animals that call the land HOME has taken the couple in many different directions…and ultimately right back home. Tiffany has taken that appreciation for horses to propel her career as a veterinarian, as well as fully caring for equines throughout the area.
Tiffany begins, “I grew up in Dickens, Texas which is just east of Lubbock. However, we have deep roots in the area here as we live in my grandfather’s house which has a long history. Also, my mom is a Nelson, and we live just around the corner from Nelson City.” Upon graduation, she began her schooling at Texas Tech, and ultimately graduated from Lubbock Christian in ’02 with an Animal Sciences degree.
She continues, “I actually moved to San Antonio and went to Veterinary Technician School at Palo Alto and on graduation day my professor asked ‘Why didn’t you go to vet school? You’d be a great vet!’ so I applied to Vet School at St. Matthews Vet School in Grand Caymans. I did my clinical rotations in the States, but it changed my perspective on the world while living in the Caymans. It was a great experience. The school enabled me to move quickly through my studies, and ultimately I graduated in ’11.”
Throughout her schooling, Tiffany worked with, trained, and rode horses for countless hours, worked as a Vet Tech, and so by the time she actually graduated, she had an extraordinary amount of experience…more so than others might have amassed. And while her studies were progressing, Tiffany began having problems with her hands and moved into the current family home she resides today. “I ultimately had double hand surgeries that came from carpal tunnel and so that was a definite setback. I realized that I wouldn’t be able to do veterinary surgery like I wanted, so it was time to figure out my next moves. With that, an opportunity arose.
She continues, “I had an internship that fell through at one point and I had an interest in alternative medicine. I went to Pennsylvania to study on these varied forms of medicine and it was fascinating. There’s so much masking of the pain for the horses that we typically do and we inject all these things into them but we know it’s going to come back. These horses we treated would walk in, and we would work with them and we’d heal these horses holistically. The chiropractice and acupuncture work just inspired me and I truly enjoyed it.”
As for specifically what she does, Tiffany explains, “I am trying to maximize equine performance. I’m not necessarily trying to fix something like a broken bone, it’s working with their abilities. The acupuncture utilizes these large needles and helps them with pain control and balancing their life energies to again, maximizing performances. It’s taking high performance athletes and making sure that they can perform at the highest levels. A guy I worked with bought troubled rodeo horses, and he would bring them to us in Pennsylvania and he’d sell them at a profit. I was loading horses with him one time and he said “Tiffany, you should learn this that they’re doing with the horses and do more than just be a vet!” I realized that he was right and I made frequent trips and it was wonderful.”
Tiffany and Alan soon opened Joshua Creek Veterinary Services in 2012. She explains, “I thought I was going to be a mobile vet and I thought I could treat animals at all hours of the day and night and I’d go to the coffee shop and people would call me DOC. One of the problems is the standard of care now. We’re held to a standard similar to humans now – that made it difficult to meet those standards as a mobile practice. I probably was trying to do too much and I needed to limit the scope of the care I could provide and that was hard for me. So we focused only the Veterinary Acupuncture and the Chiropractic work and slowed down the mobile clinic work.”
Tiffany ultimately was hired on as a full time relief doctor for a veterinary clinic in San Antonio, but she continues her practice of the holistic work with horses as the couple transitioned their small practice to Horton Holistic. She explains, “I don’t ever remember not working with horses. I was a baby and I rode horses with my dad. I’ve forever been around horses and I’ve never grown out of that love for them. I do feel like what I do is a different way of looking at horses. I’ve become an advocate and interpreter for them and I want them to do the activities for longer and have more productive lives. I work predominatly on jumping, dressage, reigning horses…. they’re very specific in their duties and skills. They’re elite athletes and they need specialized care and I’m so passionate about providing that care. I absolutely love it.”
As awareness about her specialized skills grows, so does the demand. While the Horton’s primarily find work via the word of mouth amongst the horse world, they know that there’s many out there that haven’t seen the benefits of her work. She finishes, “We have looked at some spaces in the area for a holistic healing center for horses, and I keep looking. I’m so passionate about this work, and life sometimes gets in the way, but we keep refocusing. We’ve been so blessed to do what we do, and we’re excited to see what life brings us next!”