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Horses Part of Local Veterinarian’s Life

Dr. McInturff serves as Franklin Rodeo veterinarian

Dr. Monty McInturff, co-owner of the Tennessee Equine Hospital, donates his time and expertise every year, serving as the official veterinarian for the Franklin Rodeo. McInturff attended the rodeo as a child. Photo courtesy Dr. Monty McInturff.

Franklin, Tenn. – Horses are a huge part of Dr. Monty McInturff’s life.

The Franklin, Tenn. veterinarian loves them, works with them each day, owns three, and volunteers his time outside of work with them.

McInturff, co-owner and practice manager of the Tennessee Equine Hospital, spends three days each year volunteering his skills and expertise with the Franklin Rodeo, serving as on-site veterinarian for the several hundred horses that come to town when the rodeo is going.

As a member of the Franklin Noon Rotary Club, which produces and hosts the rodeo, McInturff is on-site for each of the nightly performances, May 19-21. He loves being around the horses. “I’ve always had a love of rodeo and a great respect for it,” he said, “for the cowboys, the cowgirls and the animals. It’s very athletic.”

McInturff grew up on a cattle farm in Williamson County and was inspired to become a vet by the local veterinarian, Dr. DeWitt Owen, who came to the farm. “He was a great horseman and an excellent doctor. He’s the one who encouraged me to go to vet school, and that’s how I got into horses.” McInturff earned his undergraduate degree at Abilene (Texas) Christian University and got his doctors of veterinary medicine at Auburn University, graduating in 1989.

His first introduction to rodeo was at Abilene Christian, where his fraternity hosted an intramural rodeo each year. He got on a couple bulls, but realized quickly it wasn’t for him.

Williamson County has a rich history of horses, McInturff said. In the early 1800s central Tennessee was the center of thoroughbred racing, but the Civil War changed that. “When the war came, a lot of the horses had to go to war. For every man who died (in the Civil War), three horses died,” McInturff said, estimating about 1.8 million horses were killed in the war.

After the Civil War, horse racing was banned in the state, and the area became known for its sport horses. Williamson County has a large number of English performance horses, as well as roping and barrel racing horses, McInturff said.

Tennessee is ideal for horses because of its soil composition. The ground is rich in calcium and phosphorus, nutrients beneficial to horses. Calcium and phosphorus are absorbed into the grass, which is eaten by the animals. “We have a long history of growing great horses,” McInturff said.

As official veterinarian of the Franklin Rodeo, McInturff’s duties include making sure the animals are well cared for, and if injuries occur, he is on hand to doctor them. Over his tenure the past ten years, there have been very few injuries, and he is impressed with the health of the animals. “They are well cared for and prepared for their performance. The animals are well cared for by the contractors, and respected by the cowboys and cowgirls.”

McInturff loves watching the saddle bronc riding and bareback riding events. “I love watching the horses do their thing. I have to admit, I cheer for the horses. I want the cowboys to be safe, but I cheer for the animals.”

Growing up in Williamson County, McInturff attended the Franklin Rodeo as a child He and his children: two sons and a daughter, used to ride together when the kids were at home.

This year’s Franklin Rodeo is May 19-21 at the Williamson Co. Ag Expo Center. Performances begin at 7 pm each night, and tickets range in price from $10 to $20. Tickets can be purchased online at FranklinRodeo.com or at the gate. For more information, visit the rodeo’s website, call 615-RODEO-11 or find the rodeo on Facebook.