From treating horses in a ball gown to responding to a medical call with a car full of children in Halloween costumes, Lisa Handy, DVM, has a lot of interesting and, at times, funny stories about her years as an equine veterinarian.
Now, she has a book out describing the humor behind her job called “Just for Kicks: The Lighter Side of an Equine Practice.” With the help of illustrator Kate Salley Palmer, Handy was able to share some of the more comical moments that she’s experienced in almost 30 years of practicing equine medicine.
“Everybody who has looked at it cracked up,” Handy said. “I think everyone can identify with the pictures and their own horses.”
Some of the quotes in the book are from clientele, and others are Handy’s personification of the horses in some of those amusing situations.
Handy began her career in Florida but later moved to Aiken, where she opened up her practice, Carolina Equine Clinic, in 1988. For years, her mother Bertie would visit and ride along with Handy on calls. Handy said her mother was baffled by the stories she heard and witnessed herself. She was also amazed how her daughter could find humor in almost any situation, which often helped put a frantic horse owner at ease.
“She (Bertie) said, ‘One thing that you promise me is that you’ll get your book done,’” Handy said.
So, five years later, Handy’s book is finally a reality.
Palmer, now residing in Clemson, was chosen to help her with the endeavor. Palmer was an editorial cartoonist with The Greenville News, and her work has appeared in other publications around the country, including The New York Times. Palmer spent some time riding with the equine vet while she was on the job and quickly caught the essence of what Handy was trying to capture in this book.
One of the first stops was a horse due for a shot, and it was obvious it knew what was coming as it stopped mid-chew, hay hanging out of its mouth and slowly went back into the corner of the stall.
Handy said some may think that horses aren’t very silly creatures because they’re typically viewed as athletes or serious work animals. The more time spent around them, the more the humor is evident, she said, adding that horses tend to get themselves into predicaments.
Some of the pictures include a client bringing in a trash bag full of manure rather than simply providing the small sample needed for worm testing and a humiliated horse in a fancy flowery blanket gladly letting two of his hoofed friends tear it up. The fancier the horse blanket, the more it will get destroyed, Handy said grinning, adding that most horse lovers know that as a fact.
Handy’s mother, who pushed her to pursue the book, passed away about four years ago, Handy said, but she believes her mother would have loved the published collection of funny memories.
“I think she would be very proud that it’s finished,” Handy said. “It’s a fun book. It’s a happy book, and we all need to laugh. I hope people will see the humor in what we do and why we get up every morning and do it again.”
The books are $40, and a portion of the proceeds will go toward equine research. Books can be purchased at the Carolina Equine Clinic, located at 951 Powderhouse Road.
Starting Monday, the books can be picked up at Equine Divine, Aiken Dry Goods, Boots, Bridles and Britches, Aiken Saddlery & Supply, Nandina and Tea Garden Gifts.
Handy’s first book signing will be Friday at Boots, Bridles and Britches at 7 p.m.
The book can also be ordered at www.carolinaequineclinic.com.