2018 Champions of the Cause Award Winners

The equine vet tech/assistant winners this year were Lisa Amtower and Ashley Cashwell.
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Lisa Amtower 2018 COTC winner

Lisa Amtower

Boehringer Ingelheim, the American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians and Assistants (AAEVT) and EquiManagement teamed up again in 2018 to honor two outstanding equine veterinary technicians/assistants. Veterinarians nominated candidates who exemplified:

  • A passion for equine health;
  • A commitment to further his or her knowledge of equine well-being; and
  • A dedication to continuously improve the equine health industry.

The winners for 2018, who won an expense-paid trip to the AAEVT/AAEP Conventions in San Francisco, were Lisa Amtower of New York’s Rhinebeck Equine Hospital and Ashley Cashwell of Bristol Veterinary in Wisconsin. The nominating veterinarians, Jenna Donaldson, DVM, and Kevin Nelson, DVM, respectively.

Lisa Amtower

Lisa Amtower’s first encounter with horses came when she was 3 years old. She was raised on the West Coast, and a family friend hoisted her into the saddle and led her around. She vividly remembers the Cascade Mountains in the background and “smoke coming out her ears” because they wouldn’t give her the reins. She was hooked.

As a pre-teen, she left her father less-than-subtle hints that a horse would make the perfect present for her 13th birthday. Each day she searched the “horses for sale” listing in the daily newspaper, circled the ones that sounded interesting with a red pen and left it on her father’s bed. Her diligence was rewarded when she received a half-share of a horse that year and her very own the next.

She attended Lake Erie College in Ohio, earned a degree in equine sciences and has dedicated her life to caring for horses.

She has managed Thoroughbred and foxhunting stables in multiple states. Seven years ago, she began working at Rhinebeck Equine Hospital in New York’s Hudson Valley. There she is part of the team responsible for the care of patients in a busy hospital. Her caseload ranges from nursing sick neonates to assisting with emergency colic surgeries and fracture repairs.

“I just love horses, and I love making them better,” she said.

At age 61, her passion for horses and her commitment to furthering her knowledge of equine veterinary medicine are as strong as ever. She is currently pursuing the Animal Care Technologies certification program through the American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians and Assistants (AAEVT).

That dedication inspired Jenna Donaldson, DVM, a veterinarian at Rhinebeck Equine Hospital, to nominate Amtower for the Champions of the Cause Award.

“Lisa is a great asset to our hospital,” said Donaldson. “She is involved in teaching our interns and externs, and I thought she would make the most of an opportunity to attend AAEP, a chance she would not necessarily have otherwise.”

This award is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, the global leader in equine health care, along with EquiManagement and AAEVT. It was introduced in mid-2015 in an effort to recognize hard-working and often-
unheralded equine veterinary technicians and assistants and their importance to the well-being of horses.

“With this award, Lisa's commitment to furthering and sharing her knowledge of equine well-being is recognized by her peers and the industry," said Dr. John Tuttle, director of equine professional services for Boehringer Ingelheim. "Lisa has worked tirelessly to improve her patients' health and quality of life, and we're proud to recognize her excellence."

Amtower will receive an expenses-paid trip to the 2018 AAEVT Convention in San Francisco, California (which is held in conjunction with the AAEP Convention), a one-year membership to the AAEVT and a plaque commemorating her win.

“I was a little amazed when I received the email that I’d won,” she said. “I think it’s so cool; I’ve already been looking at the program and can’t wait to get to Convention.” 

Ashley Cashwell 2018 COTC winner

Ashley Cashwell

Ahsley Cashwell

When Ashley Cashwell’s parents sent their 6-year-old daughter to summer camp, the last thing they imagined was that she’d fall in love with horses. Much to her father’s chagrin, she began asking for a horse shortly thereafter. They obliged, and she began her riding career in the hunter/jumper ring on the East Coast.

When her family relocated to Wisconsin, she transitioned to dressage.

“I still have the horse I’ve raised and trained since she was two days old, and now she’s 21,” Cashwell said.

That early love of horses inspired Cashwell to pursue a career in the equine industry. First, she worked as a stable manager where she was responsible for routine and not-so-routine horse care.

Eight years ago, she went to work for Bristol Veterinary to pursue a career in equine medical care.

Her passion for the horse and its well-being led her to a third-world country in central Asia through Rotary International. There, she assisted a missionary group with establishing a therapeutic riding center.

“We taught them about the type of horses they would need for the program, how to provide the care the horses need, and how to provide adequate housing and veterinary care,” she said.

Kevin Nelson, DVM, who co-owns Bristol Veterinary in Salem, Wisconsin, nominated Cashwell for the award.

In his nomination letter, Nelson praised Cashwell’s continuing search for knowledge and daily enthusiasm. He noted that her commitment demonstrates that her work is not about the paycheck, but a life dedicated to the cause.

He added that her commitment to supporting the well-being of horses creeps into her non-professional life as well.

Cashwell continues to help train lower-level dressage riders and their horses, but more often provides important education for horse owners regarding wellness. She is known to help out by dropping off needed medications when a client is unable to reach the clinic before it closes, he added.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for the work and effort that is put into helping the client,” Cashwell said.

Cashwell will receive an expenses-paid trip to the 2018 American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians and Assistants (AAEVT) and American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Conventions in San Francisco, California, a one-year membership to the AAEVT and a plaque commemorating her win.

The award is co-sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), the global leader in equine health care, along with EquiManagement and the American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians and Assistants (AAEVT).

The award was introduced in mid-2015 in an effort to recognize hard-working and often-unheralded equine veterinary technicians and assistants and their importance to the well-being of horses.

"Recognizing committed industry advocates like Ashley is why we present this award each year," said Dr. John Tuttle, director of equine professional services for Boehringer Ingelheim. "Her passion for equine health is underscored by her dedication to the industry, and for that, we commend her."

Cashwell said of winning the award, “I’m looking forward to expanding my knowledge and sharing that with the other field techs here in ways that we can continue to assist our doctors and clients in caring for the horses.”

For more information about this award visit ChampionsoftheCause.com