New husband-wife equine vet practice offers fully mobile clinic; state-of-the-art equipment
By Katie Harris
There’s a new horse vet in town – make that two – and while the husband and wife duo may be new to running a business of their own, their equine know-how stems from generations of veterinarians before them and a genuine love of horses.
Bret Luedke grew up in Glenwood Springs, Colo., the son of a partner at an equine surgical facility and the grandson of a veterinary researcher. Having grown up helping out in his family’s veterinary clinic, Bret knew from a young age he wanted to follow in the footsteps of the Luedke men before him. He attended Colorado State University for his bachelor’s, master’s and Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degrees, where he met fellow veterinary student and his eventual bride, Chelsea.
Having grown up in a family that had no interest in horses, horse crazy Chelsea spent her teen years cleaning stalls at a local barn in Parker, Colo., to earn horseback riding lessons. Before long she was riding in a wide range of events. Chelsea remembers the exact day her future as a veterinarian was decided.
“I was probably 14 or 15 when the horse I was leasing was bitten by another horse, right near the jugular,” she said. “The vet that came out did such a great job that it inspired me. My family always says that’s the day they knew I would become a vet.”
After graduating from CSU veterinary school in 2011, Chelsea moved to Virginia to complete an internship in equine lameness diagnostics and therapeutics, while Bret headed to Idaho to further his studies of reproductive work and general medicine. The newly-married couple briefly met back up in Wisconsin, one of the few places where two livestock veterinarian job openings existed at the same time. It wasn’t long before they realized that, rather than searching for two veterinary jobs in the same city, it made the most sense to start a practice of their own.
“It runs in the family that all our parents own their own businesses and we wanted to, too,” said Chelsea. “Development is pushing horses so far out in so many Denver areas that we decided to find a smaller town in Colorado where people still have horses, and that would be good for our kids.”
The couple moved to Berthoud with their two sons in November 2017 and it wasn’t long before Heritage Equine Clinic was up and running. The Luedkes opted for a fully-mobile clinic which serves clients within a 25-mile radius from the comfort of their own homes.
“We can go right to the horse and no one has to trailer anywhere,” said Chelsea. “We both worked at large clinics before and grew accustomed to having really nice equipment, so we have a radiology machine, digital ultrasound, and all our dental equipment, all of which are mobile. We can do almost anything, even if we’re not at a facility with power.”
Brand new equipment is one of the perks of being a brand new business, and Chelsea said she and Bret are excited about the opportunity to offer clients state-of-the-art equipment and technology right from the start.
Over the next couple years the two hope to add one or two more vets to their practice to ensure Heritage Equine Clinic can make it out to every call. They also envision building a haul-in facility to care for horses in need of longer-term care. For the time being, though, they’re enjoying building their clientele and getting to know their new hometown.
“We moved to Berthoud in the winter, so we’re looking forward to summertime and all the activities to do around town,” said Chelsea. “So far we’re really enjoying it here.”
Heritage Equine Clinic can be reached at 303-578-5898.
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