Veterinary Advisory Council
Driving innovative, effective, and evidence-based programs is integral to our mission to massively increase the number of successful horse adoptions. In support of this goal, The Right Horse Initiative has established a Veterinary Advisory Council to serve as advisors to our programs and partnerships. Each member has demonstrated passion, years of experience and leadership in veterinary medicine and specifically equine welfare. The Right Horse Initiative is proud to work with these champions of equine welfare to provide expert guidance, leadership, and advocacy for our mission.
Dr. Jeannine Berger
DVM, DACVB, DACAW, CAWA
Dr. Jeannine Berger, DVM, DACVB, DACAW, CAWA is Vice President of Rescue and Welfare at the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SFSPCA) and one of only six double board-certified veterinarians in the United States specializing in behavior and welfare. Dr. Berger is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and the College for Animal Welfare. She focuses on strengthening the human-animal bond by improving the lives of owners and their pets through education of animal behavior, psychology, sound principles of learning and communication.
Dr. Jerry Black
Dr. Jerry Black, DVM is a 1971 graduate of the veterinary school at Colorado State University and is currently the Director of the Equine Reproduction Laboratory in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences as well as the Director of Equine Sciences in the College of Agriculture Sciences.
Dr. Black is a past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and a past president of the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association. He continues to be involved in the horse industry by serving as the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Horse Council (AHC), is a Director of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and serves on the AQHA Animal Welfare Commission. Dr. Black serves as the immediate past chairman of the AAEP’s Welfare and Public Policy Counsel and is also the Chair of the Medication Review Committee for the National Cutting Horse Association. Dr. Black has received the distinguished alumnus award from Colorado State University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and is an AAEP Distinguished Life Member.
Dr. Tom Lenz
DVM, MS, DACT
Dr. Tom Lenz, DVM, MS, DACT is a past president of the AAEP and has been a lifelong advocate for the welfare of the horse. Dr. Lenz has chaired the AAEP Welfare Committee, served on the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee and currently serves on the welfare committees of the American Horse Council and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys’ Association, as well as the AQHA Welfare Commission.
Dr. Lenz speaks throughout the country on equine welfare and has published numerous articles and book chapters. He received the AVMA’s 2010 Animal Welfare Award. Dr. Lenz is a trustee of the AHC and the immediate past chair of their Unwanted Horse Coalition. He received the AAEP’s Distinguished Service Award in 2005 and their Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 for his contributions to the equine industry and equine veterinary medicine.
Dr. Sharon Spier
DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM
Dr. Sharon Spier, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM is a professor of the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of California, Davis. Her areas of interest include Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis infection (also known as pigeon fever or dryland distemper), hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), and genetic diseases of horses. Dr. Spier was appointed as an Emergency Treating Veterinarian for five Olympic Games (1988-2008) and multiple World Equestrian Games and is active in a number of equine groups.
A horse lover all of her life, Dr. Spier has owned, raised and trained horses of various breeds. She has participated in English and Western disciplines, as well as polo, endurance, ride and tie, and natural horsemanship clinics. At UC Davis, she directed the Equine Field Services for over 30 years and taught general equine practice, equine behavior, and horsemanship in the veterinary curriculum. She is presently serving on the Scientific Advisory Board for the AQHA and volunteers in other equine health-related projects nationally and internationally.
Dr. Harry W. Werner
Dr. Harry W. Werner, VMD is a 1974 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine. He owns and operates Werner Equine, a general equine practice in northern Connecticut. Dr. Werner was 2009 President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Currently serving on AAEP’s Welfare and Public Policy Council, he is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association Welfare Committee, serves on the board of directors of the World Equine Veterinary Association and is the AVMA Liaison to the Unwanted Horse Coalition. He is an Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Pursuing his equine welfare interest, he helped initiate the International Forum for Working Equids with 2009 British Equine Veterinary Association President Chris House. Dr. Werner has participated in the Dominican Republic working equid project, Project Samana.
In 2013, Dr. Werner was elected to the International Equine Veterinarians Hall of Fame. He received the AAEP’s 2013 Distinguished Service Award, and the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association recognized Dr. Werner as its 2015 Connecticut Veterinarian of the Year. In 2017, Dr. Werner received AAEP’s Distinguished Life Member Award.