Ground has been broken for a much-needed entity that was identified by the study conducted on whether or not Aiken would be able to support an international horse park.

The Surgery and Lameness Center at Performance Equine Vets will fill a greatly needed void, and veterinarians Dr. Sabrina Jacobs and Dr. Ty Wallis, will be the partners in the practice.

Plans call for the facility to open in April. There will be an open house, and the public is invited to attend.

“It’s something that’s been greatly needed in Aiken,” said Wallis. “Obviously, there hasn’t been a boarded surgeon in Aiken with a full-service referral type of facility. It’s been a dream of both Sabrina’s and mine, so that meshed really well for us, and I find it very rewarding to finally be able to offer something that’s needed.”

The goal is for the facility to be a complete, full-service surgical and sports medicine practice, Wallis said.

The Surgery and Lameness Center at Performance Equine Vets is designed with the public’s needs in mind, he said.

“I feel very fortunate to have landed in such a growing community, with great owners, and such high-level horses, and people that take care of them,” said Wallis. “I feel like that meshes very well with my desire to grow a referral practice and offer specialty kind of services.”

Wallis’ interest are in lameness and equine orthopedic surgery, but the center will be able to offer a number of surgical procedures.

The center will be accessible for clients and will include a surgical suite, so they’ll be able to watch the surgical procedures being performed on their horse.

The facility will also have a covered lameness evaluation area that will have two different surfaces and will feature a covered, pull-through unloading area to keep the horses and clients out of unfavorable weather.

Jacobs and Wallis were classmates at Texas A&M, and both went through the school’s veterinary program. After graduation, both veterinarians kept up with each other’s career paths, and as fate would have it, they would end up in the Southeast – Jacobs in Aiken and Wallis in Knoxville, Tenn.

Ultimately, the two doctors would like to see all areas of the practice expand, Wallis said.

“For the time being, it will be just the two of us,” said Wallis. “But, we’re looking to bring on a third partner very soon. As the surgical case load grows, maybe we’ll need another sports medicine specialist to take care of the lamenesses in the field before they move into the hospital.”