Short Conversations with Veterinary Industry Professionals: Hilary Clayton
These snapshot conversations were done during the 2019 AAEP Convention give a fun glimpse into some professionals' lives.

Dr. Hilary Clayton envisions the U.S. Rocky Mountains (pictured above) or the Andes as a peaceful place to be. iStock/Ken Canning

This interview is with Hilary Clayton, DVM, a self-proclaimed nomad and on-call show vet for Wellington Equestrian Festival (WEF), which includes drug testing for USDF and FEI. 

Author’s Note: My hope is that when reading these interviews, they give you a brief, fun break from your daily routine and perhaps stimulate you to engage with others in new ways. The eleven questions are typical of how I get to know my clients during our first meeting.

1. Where are you and what do you notice as you look around the space you are in right now? We are inside with artificial lights in an extremely large convention center.

2. If you weren’t working, what would be your ideal (real or imagined) most peaceful place to be? In the mountains, in the Western U.S., Canada or South America. The Rockies or the Andes.

3. How did three people influence you, personally or professionally, throughout your life? In vet school Dr. Dean Hendrickson and Gary Baxter were very inspiring, great teachers and most of all very encouraging. They were dynamic people, great horseman and great clinicians. They were dedicated to their profession and made things exciting and fun. They were passionate about life. I worked as Scott Swerdlin’s technician prior to vet school, and now I work for him as a vet at Palm Beach Equine Clinic. He introduced me to other cultures, from Central and South America and Europe here in Wellington and Scott also had an appreciation for this. He had a great sense of humor and appreciated the beauty in life.

4. Who currently inspires you? Dr. Eric Davis, whom I did some work for economically disadvantaged areas in both the United States and Central and South America. Dr. Jay Merriam of the Equitarian Initiative is inspiring to encourage people to go forward and be helpful in that arena, too, and that is not an easy thing to do. It opens your eyes and makes you more appreciative of everything.

5. What do you consider your greatest attribute? My ability to empathize with the horse.

6. What do you think you might need to work on? Self-confidence.

7. What do you think has been your greatest achievement? I am continually evolving as a person.

8. What do you tend to say most often? I’m sorry. Also, lovely. It’s definitely a British thing.

9. What do you value most in others? Awareness. I admire the selflessness and incredible energy of people who are willing to go to disadvantaged areas to help animals.

10. What types of things do you like to read? I like reading about philosophy and metaphysical teachings.

11. What curious or unusual thing might others be surprised to know about you? They might be surprised to know the diverse range of people I get along with. I speak Spanish fluently and can get along with people from all walks of life and from different cultures. I was very drawn to Native American cultures even in England as a teenager. I studied anthropology at Edinburgh University, and I’ve always been fascinated by differences.

About the Author

Trudi Howley M.S., SEP, is a Somatic Psychotherapist, Certified Professional Coach and a USDF Silver Medalist. A lifelong equestrian, she is committed to increasing meaningful conversation among equine industry professionals. Howley can be reached at and followed on instagram @inscapequest. 

Editor’s note: EquiManagement is running a series of five interviews conducted by Howley. 

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