What’s the Scoop, aka Reeva, a 9-year-old German riding pony mare owned by Brigitte Wehrs and her daughter, Ava, was referred to the Equine Medical Center in November 2020 by Mallan Willis, of  Tidewater Veterinary Hospital in Charlotte Hall, Maryland, for a right front foot MRI.

Reeva had joined the Wehr family in September 2019; and by that November, with Ava in the saddle, competed in her first starter trial at Full Moon Farm in Finksburg, Maryland. The 14-hand-high German sport pony clearly loved to jump, and Ava was thrilled to finally finish a horse trial successfully!

In June 2020, Reeva pulled up lame, and after five frustrating months trying to figure out what was wrong, Willis referred Reeva to the Equine Medical Center for MRI diagnostic imaging.

After the MRI was completed, Maureen Kelleher, clinical assistant professor of sports medicine and surgery, was able to confirm that Reeva had a deep digital flexor tendon injury, as well as adhesions in her navicular bursa. “From my first conversation with Dr. Kelleher, I felt comfortable and hopeful!” Brigitte said.

Kelleher sent Reeva home for continued rehabilitation and care with shoeing instructions, stall rest notes, surgical recommendations, and a comprehensive recovery plan. Brigitte and Ava followed Kelleher’s advice, opting to have the suggested surgery done locally by C.J. Caniglia at Wolf Creek Equine Hospital in Lothian, Maryland.

Once home after surgery, and under the continued care of primary care veterinarians, Mallan Willis, and Jennifer Tacia of Big River Veterinary Acupuncture in La Plata, Maryland, Reeva began her long road to recovery.


In concert with farriers Dick Teachout and Chrystal Richardson of Our Loyal Heart Horseshoeing in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, this diverse group of veterinarians worked together towards the common goal of getting Reeva healthy again. “It was a seamless transition from each veterinarian involved in the diagnosis and recovery process. The compassion and true dedication to the pony and my daughter was VERY appreciated!” said Bridgitte.

During the rehabilitation process, Reeva did not enjoy her confinement and clearly missed turnout time with her pony companions. But, because of Ava’s diligence during the process – hand-walking, then walking under saddle, then adding ground poles and, later, trot and canter work – Reeva began to strengthen and heal.

Fast forward to Summer 2021, when Ava took Reeva to a local starter trial, competing in the dressage  phase. Over the summer months, they competed at the St. Mary’s County Fair, a Potomac Valley Dressage Association local chapter show, and then a starter trial in November at Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Maryland.

Bridgitte shared that “because of the injury, Ava will no longer pursue an eventing path with Reeva, but they did do the intro level at Loch Moy, just to kind of bring her recovery full circle.  Ava and Reeva placed FIRST! Happy tears! Thank you, Dr. Kelleher, and thank you to the entire staff at Virginia Tech’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center for all that you do.”


Written by Sharon Peart for the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.