20 Apr Boettcher Scholar Helps Advance Animal Care in Colorado
Will French has always loved horses, despite the fact that his parents were never really into them. He took riding lessons as a kid, and, in junior high, got horses of his own – but not in the most conventional way.
“My dad is a lawyer, and he did some work defending ranchers in grazing fights,” Will said. “The ranchers couldn’t pay him all that they needed to in cash, so we got paid in horses, which I thought was pretty awesome.”
As a fifth-generation Coloradan, Will grew up in Fort Collins and attended Poudre High School. After receiving the Boettcher Scholarship in 2003, Will chose a path that would allow for horses to remain a constant in his life. He attended Colorado State University to study equine science, continued on to attend veterinary school at CSU, then progressed to an internship at Littleton Equine Medical Center, a major equine referral hospital.
“In the internship, we rotated through medicine, surgery, and emergency, and kind of got a taste of everything,” Will said. “After the internship, I was fortunate enough to be offered a job, and my wife was also offered a job there too — she’s a veterinarian also — so we both work at the same practice.”
Will focused on lameness in sport horses, and performs various tasks such as chiropractic acupuncture, ultrasounds, general exams, and X-rays.
“I really enjoy the puzzle piece of cases, and trying to put all the pieces together — so kind of that critical thinking part,” Will said. “I love working outside and getting to see my work in action. When the horse is lame, and then gets to go back and do its job successfully, that’s a lot of fun.”
For Will, the most significant impact being a Boettcher Scholar has had on his life is the call to service and giving back. As president of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, Will spends plenty of time doing just that. The association is the professional organization for veterinarians in Colorado, focusing on advocating for veterinary practices in the state, providing educational opportunities for veterinarians, and creating outreach to the community. The organization also has a charitable branch called PetAid Colorado that works to provide access to quality care for pets in low-income communities.
Will’s work of making contributions to the veterinary profession, supporting pet and owners in need, and bringing horses back to health has left its mark on Colorado, and he is thankful the Boettcher Scholarship has encouraged such service.
“To him who much is given, much is expected,” Will said. “We’ve been given an incredible opportunity, and to figure out the ways to give back to our community is super important.”